Four members of the Valparaiso University women’s basketball team made their way into double figures on Wednesday night against Big Ten foe Illinois, but the host Fighting Illini came away with a 73-54 win at the State Farm Center in Champaign. Senior Allison Schofield (McCordsville, Ind. / Heritage Christian) turned in a career-high 16 points to lead her team.
How It Happened
- Schofield and Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) both drained 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the game, helping Valpo out to an early 6-2 edge. The Fighting Illini scored the next nine points to build up a five-point lead with 3:33 left in the first quarter.
- Illinois had the upper hand for the remainder of the opening period and held a 21-14 edge through 10 minutes. The Fighting Illini owned a 12-3 advantage in rebounding at the end of the first.
- A slow start to the second quarter proved costly for Valpo. Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis. / Hortonville) knocked in a triple with 5:06 left in the first half, registering Valpo’s first points since a Hamlet basket 12 seconds into the period. The long scoring drought allowed the Illini to embark upon a pivotal 12-0 run.
- Hot 3-point shooting from Schofield and Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill. / Cissna Park) helped Valpo climb all the way back to within six at 37-31 with 53 seconds left in the first half. The Illini (2-0) got three points back prior to the break, taking a 40-31 lead into halftime.
- The third quarter mirrored the second in the sense that Valpo had an early basket followed by a long drought. After a Stoller jumper with 9:26 to go in the third, Valpo didn’t score again until the 3:27 mark. Illinois pushed a nine-point lead to 17 during that stretch.
- Despite trailing by 21 through three quarters, Valpo battled in the fourth, outscoring the Fighting Illini 13-11 over the final 10 minutes. Junior Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind. / Westview) played well down the stretch as all 12 of her points came after halftime.
Inside the Game
- Schofield’s 16 points shattered her previous career best of 15 set on March 4, 2017 against Green Bay in the second round of the Horizon League Tournament in Detroit.
- Schofield led the team in scoring for just the second time in her collegiate career, joining the aforementioned game against the Phoenix. Schofield had four made 3s on Saturday, matching a career high set in that same game. Her six made field goals on Wednesday were a career best.
- Hales had her most productive day of the season, coming within three points of her career high of 15, which was set on Jan. 12, 2018 vs. Loyola.
- Hamlet continued her ascent of Valpo’s all-time scoring list as her 10-point effort allowed her to climb into 15th in program history. She stands at 993 career points, one more than Shari Toelke (1990-1994), who was previously 15th.
- Stoller turned in 12 points in her return to her hometown area, going 5-of-10 shooting.
- Redshirt junior point guard Hannah Schaub (Brooklyn Park, Minn. / Park Center) dished out a team-high five assists, in the process moving into a tie with her former teammate Lexi Miller (2012-2016) for 15th in program history in career assists with 246.
- Valpo had just seven free-throw attempts to Illinois’ 33.
- Valpo knocked in a season-high nine 3-pointers, eclipsing the total number of made 3s from the first two games combined. The nine made 3s were Valpo’s most in a game since Jan. 5 of last season against Illinois State.
- This was the first time Valpo had four players in double figures since Jan. 26 of last season, when six players had 10 points or more in a 101-59 win over Evansville.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mary Evans
“We’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last few days focusing on our offense. We have a better understanding of what we’re trying to do, so I’m hoping we can take the film from tonight and show our players some of the good things that happened. We’ll also look at the things we did poorly and make improvements for Friday’s game against Morehead State.”
“I’m happy to see us have four players in double figures, because that’s what it’s all about – playing team basketball. We had some good screening action. We’re down to nine healthy bodies at this point and playing a couple of kids who are banged up to see what they can give us. I’m really proud of our fight. If we continue to fight like this, good things are going to happen. We have a tremendous group of young women who are fighting their hearts out.”
The road trip continues for Valpo (0-3) as the team will be back in action Friday for the first of two games at the Vinewood Farm Classic in Morehead, Ky. Valpo plays host Morehead State on Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT. The game will be carried on ESPN+. Radio coverage will be available on either 95.1 FM Valparaiso or online only on ValpoAthletics.com via UStream, depending upon the time of Friday’s Valpo men’s basketball game in Myrtle Beach.