The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team played its second close game with Illinois State this season on Sunday afternoon at Redbird Arena, this time coming out on the wrong end of a 63-55 score. Free-throw shooting played a key role for the Redbirds, who went 25-of-28 (89.3 percent) at the stripe including 14-of-14 in the fourth.
How It Happened
- Playing against an Illinois State group that ranks among the best defensive teams in the nation, the Crusaders knew points could be a premium on Sunday. That held true in the opening quarter, when Illinois State outscored Valpo 10-9. The Crusaders limited the Redbirds to just 23.1 percent shooting.
- The Crusaders held a 9-6 lead before the Redbirds scored the last four points of the quarter, with Valpo turnovers leading to a pair of fast breaks and the four-point run.
- The scoring picked up in the second quarter, when Valpo outscored Illinois State 15-14 to draw even at the break. The game was tied at 24 when the intermission occurred. Valpo’s defensive effort against Illinois State leading scorer Hannah Green worked to perfection, as she was held to 0-of-4 shooting and just two points in the first half.
- The first half featured six ties and seven lead changes.
- The Crusaders were outscored 15-14 in the third quarter with half of their points in that quarter coming at the free-throw line. Valpo went just 3-of-14 shooting in the third. Illinois State was just 1-of-7 from beyond the arc in that quarter.
- The Redbirds shot 40 percent from the field in the fourth quarter, but perhaps the biggest impact in the final period came at the charity stripe, where Illinois State went 14-of-14. Simone Good scored 10 points in the fourth alone including 8-of-8 on free-throw attempts.
Inside the Game
- The Crusaders made four changes to their starting lineup including the insertion of Addison Stoller (Cissna, Park / Cissna Park, Ill.) and Marlee Profitt (Medina, Ohio / Highland), who made their first career starts. Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington) saw her streak of 52 straight starts come to an end as she came off the bench for the first time since March 11, 2016 vs. Northern Kentucky in Green Bay. Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) came off the bench for just the second time in 82 games in her Crusader career, with the other coming last season at Wright State. Bryce Blood (Toledo, Ohio / Whitmer) made 21 straight starts to begin her collegiate career before Sunday.
- This was the first time since Nov. 17, 2012 that Valpo had a game tied at halftime. The Crusaders went to IUPUI and were even at 34 through 20 minutes in that one, Tracey Dorow’s first road game as Valpo head coach.
- Franklin secured her third double-double of the season and her second in the last three games. She finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
- Hamlet led her team with 17 points including a 7-of-8 showing at the free-throw line.
- Goods led all scorers with 19 points and went 11-for-13 at the free-throw line.
- Valpo outrebounded Illinois State 38-31 and pulled down 15 offensive boards. The Crusaders outscored the Redbirds 19-7 on second-chance points.
Thoughts From Head Coach Tracey Dorow
Thoughts on the Game: “It was a back-and-forth battle and a game of spurts. I was disappointed by the way we shot the ball. We knew they weren’t going to make it easy for us, but I still would have liked to see us shoot better. We did a nice job rebounding, but I’m disappointed by the turnovers because I thought there were some unforced errors as well as the forced ones. I give Illinois State tremendous credit for the way they played down the stretch.”
On Dani Franklin: “She’s student teaching this semester and she’s making the adjustment to being on her feet all day long instead of sitting in class. At the same time, she’s not making any excuses. We’ve continued to get her shots. Some of them were tough looks, and I give Illinois State’s defense credit for contesting everything and making it hard on her.”
On Second Chances: “We did a great job setting ourselves up for second chances with our rebounding performance. I’m pleased with that aspect, but we’ve just got to finish better to take full advantage of those opportunities.”
The Crusaders will not return to game action until Sunday, Feb. 11 as they complete a stretch of three straight road games at Loyola. The game will tip at 1 p.m. CT and can be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso with Ben Ariano (play-by-play) and Brandon Vickrey (color commentary). As always, the game can be seen on The Valley on ESPN3.