Sophomore Ella Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis. / Rice Lake) and junior Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind. / Westview) splashed in five 3-pointers each, but that wasn’t enough for the Valparaiso University women’s basketball team to knock off defending MVC champion Drake on Friday. The visiting Bulldogs prevailed 88-62 at the Athletics-Recreation Center despite Valpo hitting 15 total shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
How It Happened
- Drake jumped out to a 7-0 lead through the first three minutes, but three early 3s – two by Ellenson and one by Hales – helped Valpo climb to within two at 11-9 by the 5:24 mark of the first.
- A 9-0 Bulldog run followed to open the lead to 20-9. By the end of the first, Ellenson had knocked down her third triple of the day to help Valpo climb back to within seven at 22-15. Four of Valpo’s five made shots in the first quarter were 3s and 12 of the team’s 14 attempts came from beyond the arc.
- Drake scored the first 12 points of the second quarter to widen the lead to 19 at 34-15 midway through the period. By the time the half came to a close, Drake’s lead was 45-20 after the Bulldogs outscored Valpo 23-5 in the second. Valpo made just two of its 20 second-quarter shots and went 1-of-13 from 3. Valpo’s first half points came from three sources – Ellenson (9), Hales (6) and Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill. / Cissna Park), who had five.
- Valpo hung with Drake throughout the third quarter as neither team embarked on a large run. Valpo knocked down five triples during the period and was outscored by just a point at 22-21. Hales had eight points in the third quarter alone.
- Ellenson and Hales each connected from distance early in the fourth, but that was followed by a 10-0 Drake run to expand the cushion to 39 points with 5:41 remaining.
- Each team scored 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting in the fourth. Five Valpo players had fourth-quarter points.
Inside the Game
- Valpo registered 44 3-point attempts, shattering a program record of 41 that had stood since Feb. 27, 1992 (vs. Wright State).
- This year’s Valpo team already owns four of the top five single-game 3-point attempt totals in program history. Before this season, Valpo had attempted more than 36 3s in a game just once all-time. The team has done so four times this year.
- Valpo converted 15 or more 3-pointers in a single game for just the fifth time in program history – March 10, 2016 vs. Detroit (at GB), Feb. 28, 2015 vs. UMKC, Dec. 8, 2004 vs. Central Michigan (17) and this season vs. Bowling Green (17). The 15 made 3s in a game are tied for third all-time.
- Ellenson made five 3s on Friday after previously knocking down no more than two in a single game in her career. Hales hit five triples for the fourth time in her career and the second time this season, matching season and career highs in that area.
- Ellenson and Hales both made five 3s, marking the first time Valpo has had two players with five triples in the same game since March 10, 2016 – an overtime Horizon League Tournament victory over Detroit Mercy where both Meredith Hamlet and Hannah Schaub hit five 3s.
- Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis. / Hortonville) handed out seven assists to lead the team, one shy of a career high. She swiped a career-best six steals, the most by a Valpo player since Jan. 23, 2014 vs. Detroit Mercy – a game where Jessica Carr had seven steals and Abby Dean had six.
- Hales led the team in both scoring (17) and rebounding (8) – the first time in her career she’s led the team in both categories in the same game.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mary Evans
“I thought the biggest piece of what hurt us today was not taking care of the basketball. You can’t beat a team like Drake turning the ball over 23 times. If we held that number at 10-12, it could have been a different game. Things got away from us offensively in the second quarter. We came back out, regrouped, and played a good second half. There are a lot of positives in the game, we just need to put it all together and play for 40 minutes.”
“They run a matchup zone, so it’s hard to get inside against that zone. When you do, people are collapsing on you. The right play is to shoot the 3 against them. We had some really good drives, we just didn’t make shots. We’ve got to do a better job moving forward of having our players who are driving the basketball prepared to make those shots.”
“When Ella can get her feet set, she’s one of the better shooters on our team. She became the recipient of a lot of hard work the rest of our team did moving the basketball and she did a great job of knocking them down. I’m really impressed with how she’s shooting the basketball."
“We’ll come in and correct a few things that we did tonight. UNI will play a 5-out offense as well, but it will be predicated on dribble penetration, so getting ready for that will be a focus in practice tomorrow.”
Valpo will round out the four-game homestand by welcoming UNI to the ARC on Sunday at 11 a.m. That game will be the front end of a women’s-men’s doubleheader that also features the Valpo men’s squad hosting Loyola at 3 p.m. to round out a full day of hoops. The women’s game will not have video streaming due to the men’s ESPNU telecast, but it can be heard as always on 95.1 FM Valparaiso and online on ValpoAthletics.com.