The Valpo women’s basketball team put together one of its best shooting performances from behind the 3-point line in program history against a #21/19 Missouri State team which surrendered fewer than seven triples per game entering the game, but it would not be enough for the Brown and Gold to spring the upset on Sunday afternoon at the ARC, as the Bears finished 81-68 victors. Senior Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind./Westview) led the Valpo offense with 17 points, including 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range, and moved into the program’s all-time top-20 in points scored.
How It Happened
- A back-and-forth first quarter saw the teams trade the lead on six occasions, as Valpo battled toe-to-toe with one of the nation’s top-20 teams.
- 3-pointers by Hales and sophomore Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) gave Valpo a 14-11 lead with 3:51 to play in the opening period, but the Bears scored six of the quarter’s final eight points to pull ahead 17-16.
- Missouri State put together runs of 8-0 and 12-0 during the second quarter, out-scoring Valpo 24-7 in the period to take a 41-23 lead into intermission.
- Consecutive 3-pointers early in the second half by junior Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) and sophomore Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) forced a quick Missouri State timeout just 81 seconds into the period, as the triples brought Valpo within 42-29.
- Out of the stoppage, the Bears posted an 11-2 run to push their advantage to 53-31 just past the midway mark of the quarter.
- Valpo flipped the script out of the media timeout, however, scoring 13 consecutive points over a three-minute stretch. Hales hit two 3-pointers and Frederick one during the run, which was capped by an inside basket from junior Marlee Profitt (Medina, Ohio/Highland) with 1:38 to play in the quarter.
- 29 seconds later, Profitt connected on a triple of her own to cut the deficit to eight points at 55-47, as close as Valpo had been during the third quarter. But MSU scored the final four points of the quarter to go into the final 10 minutes with a 59-47 advantage.
- Junior Ella Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis./Rice Lake) drilled a 3-pointer on Valpo’s first trip of the fourth quarter to make it a nine-point game before the Bears scored the next five in a row. Valpo was unable to get the margin back into single digits the rest of the way, as despite going 8-for-14 from the field – including 3-for-4 from 3-point range – over the final 10 minutes, it could not overcome MSU going 13-for-17 at the foul line.
Inside the Game
- The day was highlighted by Valpo’s performance from the 3-point line, as the Brown and Gold closed the game with a 14-for-22 mark from downtown.
- The 14 triples are a season high and tie for the sixth-most 3-pointers made in a single game in program history. Three of the top-six single-game totals have come since the arrival of Mary Evans as head coach prior to last season.
- Meanwhile, Valpo’s .636 shooting percentage from deep is not only easily the team’s season best, it marks the first time in Evans’ tenure that it has hit at a .500 clip or better from 3-point range.
- Sunday’s performance came up just .007 shy of cracking the top-10 chart for single-game 3-point percentage in program history. It is also the second-best 3-point percentage in a single game by an MVC team this season.
- Leading the charge from deep was Hales, who tied her career high for 3-pointers made in a single game for the fifth time by going 5-for-6. Her performance also is good for a spot tied for 10th on the program’s single-game individual 3-point percentage chart.
- Hales finished the contest with a team-high 17 points to lead four Crusaders in double figures, giving her 929 career points scored. That mark is enough to crack the top-20 in program history in the category, surpassing Sarah Schmoyer (1992-96), who amassed 920 career points.
- Morrison tied a career high by making three triples as she went 3-for-6 from 3-point range en route to a career-best 13 points.
- In all, seven Valpo players combined for the team’s 14 3-pointers on Sunday.
- Junior Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill./Cissna Park) added 13 points and a team-best six rebounds, while Frederick posted 10 points to round out the quartet in double figures. Weinman set a season high and led Valpo with five assists.
- Valpo forced 16 Missouri State turnovers on Sunday, 11 of which were steals as the Crusaders reached double figures in the category for the seventh time this year and the sixth time in the last seven games. Frederick led the way with a season-best five steals, while Morrison added three thefts.
- While Valpo went 14-for-22 from the 3-point line, it was just 10-for-30 inside the arc.
- Despite entering the game third in the nation in free throw rate, the Brown and Gold set a season low for free throw attempts, going 6-of-8 from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, Missouri State went 28-of-36 from the foul line – the 28-free throw deficit the program’s largest in a single game since January 2011.
- The 13-point loss marked Valpo’s closest result against a nationally-ranked team since December 13, 2008, when it hosted #8/8 Notre Dame and dropped a narrow 63-55 decision. Valpo had played 20 games against nationally-ranked opposition since that contest.
Thoughts From Coach Evans
“I thought we responded really well today - I think we came out with much better fight and much better toughness. It took a little bit to get into it, but once we did, we settled in, and our effort was fantastic today. That's what we wanted to see after Friday night - it was a rude awakening as to what the Valley is all about Friday. You can talk about it all you want, but until you play in those games, it takes playing to really understand what the physicality of this league is like. I thought we stepped up today and responded really well to that.”
“The biggest thing we can take from today is the way we executed offensively in the second half. I think that was, by far against that type of physicality, the best we've executed all year. We really worked collectively to get the shots we wanted, instead of just the shots they were giving us.”
Valpo (8-5, 0-2 MVC) makes its first conference road trip of the year next weekend as it takes on its fellow Indiana schools, starting off with a Friday evening matchup against Indiana State. Tipoff from Terre Haute is slated for 4 p.m. CT and can be seen live on ESPN+.