The Valpo women’s basketball team saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end on Friday evening as it opened Missouri Valley Conference play, falling to a strong Southern Illinois squad by a 67-51 final at the ARC.
How It Happened
- Both squads were hitting from everywhere to start the game, as Valpo went 7-of-9 from the field – including 3-of-3 from 3-point range – in the opening quarter and Southern Illinois went 8-of-13.
- The Salukis led by as many as five points in the first quarter and held a 22-19 lead at the end of one.
- Junior Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) scored the first five points over the opening 2:40 of the second quarter to give Valpo its first outright lead, 24-22.
- Southern Illinois reclaimed the lead before a steal and fast-break layup from sophomore Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) tied things up at 29-29 with four minutes to play in the first half.
- SIU out-scored Valpo 11-4 over the final stretch of the period to go into halftime with a 40-33 lead.
- The third quarter was the antithesis of the first, as the two teams combined for just three made field goals. Valpo went without a basket from the field for the final seven minutes of the quarter, and the Salukis held a 51-42 advantage with 10 minutes to play.
- A 3-pointer by junior Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) cut SIU’s lead to 51-45 with 9:03 to play in the game, but that was as close as Valpo would get, as the Salukis scored 10 of the next 12 points over a span of 2:40 to pull away.
Inside the Game
- Friday’s loss snapped Valpo’s seven-game winning streak, just the seventh-such winning streak in program history. It was the team’s first loss since Nov. 21.
- The defeat was also the Crusaders’ first of the season at the ARC after going 4-0 at home in non-conference play.
- The loss came against a Southern Illinois team which came into the day ranked in the top-75 in the nation in RPI and jumped into the top-60 with the win. Three of Valpo’s four defeats this year have come against top-60 teams in the RPI.
- Valpo ended the night shooting just 31.3% from the floor, and the offensive output was a tale of two halves. The Brown and Gold went into halftime having shot 50% in the first half, including a 5-of-9 mark from the 3-point line, but then were just 4-of-26 (15.4%) from the field in the second half.
- Defensively, Valpo limited SIU to 38.6% (22-of-57) shooting for the game, including a 6-of-27 (22.2%) mark from the field in the final 20 minutes.
- Junior Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill./Cissna Park) led Valpo with 13 points Friday and also set a season high with four steals. Stoller led the way as the Crusaders tallied 12 steals, the fifth time in the last six games they have registered at least 10 thefts.
- White added 10 points and five rebounds off the bench, her third straight game scoring in double figures.
- Valpo was out-rebounded 46-26 by the Salukis on Friday, including 18 SIU offensive rebounds.
Thoughts From Coach Evans
“I'm not quite sure we were ready for the physicality of this game tonight. We talked before the game about how toughness against the physicality in our league and rebounding were going to be really important. We backed down a little from [Southern Illinois'] physicality, and we did not do a great job keeping them off the glass.”
“We played some pretty physical games in the non-conference, but I think the possession after possession after possession physicality in the Valley is something it takes time to get used to, and we're playing a bunch of players who aren't experienced with what playing in the Valley looks like.”
Valpo (8-4, 0-1 MVC) continues MVC play with another tough task on Sunday afternoon, as the Crusaders welcome #19/21 Missouri State to the ARC. The game is slated for a 1 p.m. tip and can be seen live on ESPN3.