Despite a valiant second-half effort and 30 points from junior Jada Buggs, the No. 11 Purdue University Calumet women’s basketball team fell on the road to NCAA Division I Valparaiso University 109-81 Tuesday exhibition play.
NOTE: The victory counted for the Crusaders (4-8), who broke a seven-game losing streak, but won’t count against the NAIA-member Peregrines’ (11-2) 2014-15 season statistics.
Buggs (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) shot a blistering 12 of 17 from the floor, including 6 of 10 from the 3-point line, to help lead a fantastic second-half charge by the Peregrines, who trailed at the break, 54-35.
After sophomore Cassidy Deno (Otterbein, Ind./Benton Central) banked in a triple from the top of the key, Buggs scored two buckets and senior Kami Graber (Nashville, Ind./Brown County) drained a fastbreak jumper to cut the Crusader lead to 14, 60-44.
That’s when Buggs started her own run, scoring the Peregrines’ next 11 points, including three shots from deep. Deno would add two free throws to bring Purdue Calumet within single digits (66-57, 12:27), but Valpo’s Dani Franklin answered with a 3 of her own to push the Crusader lead back to 12.
Buggs, however, wasn’t finished. The junior added one more triple from the top of the key after two Deno jumpers to bring the Peregrines within seven, 73-66, with 8:20 left, but Valpo would use a 31-10 run to close out the contest.
Buggs scored 20 of her 30 in the second half, making 4 of 7 shots from the field in the first 20 minutes.
Deno finished with 16 points, six boards and two assists and Graber added 13 points and five assists to round out Peregrine players in double figures. Sophomore Darien Thompson (Anderson, Ind./Anderson) had nine points and freshman reserve Sammy Dillman (Bedford, Ind./North Lawrence) had seven points on 3 of 5 shooting.
Valpo dominated on the boards (58-31) and in the paint (58-32) and finished 51.3 percent (39 of 76) from the field compared to 41.3 percent (33 of 80) by the Peregrines.
The Crusaders had seven players in double figures, led by Franklin’s 25-point, seven-rebound effort. Jasmyn Walker added 20 points for Valpo in the win.
Purdue Calumet has a quick turnaround, as the Peregrines take on Grace College at home in a nonleague contest at the Fitness and Recreation Center tomorrow afternoon. Game time is set for 1 p.m.