Valpo Can’t Recover From Slow Start, Falls to Oakland
The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team fell behind Oakland 31-11 after one quarter on Saturday afternoon and could never rebound in an eventual 104-63 defeat at the O’Rena in Rochester, Mich. on the calendar year’s final day. Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich.) and Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington) shared the team lead in scoring with 18 points apiece.
How It Happened
- Valpo inched ahead 6-4 early with Hamlet scoring four points in the first two minutes. But Taylor Gleason drained a go-ahead 3 with 7:14 to go in the first, giving the Grizzlies a lead they would never relinquish.
- Gleason’s 3-pointer ignited an 18-0 run for the Grizzlies that built the lead to 22-6. Valpo head coach Tracey Dorow was forced to use two timeouts in the first 6:15 of the game, but the Crusaders couldn’t quell the hot-shooting Grizzlies.
- By the time the horn sounded to bring the first quarter to a halt, Oakland owned a 20-point lead. Valpo committed eight turnovers in the opening period after coughing it up nine times in the first quarter on Thursday at Detroit Mercy. Valpo shot 22 percent (4-of-18) in the first quarter on Saturday.
- Oakland’s Taylor Gleason was a perfect 3-of-3 from the field in the second quarter, including two triples. She had four 3s before halftime and finished the game with 15 points. The Crusaders were outscored in the second quarter 27-19 despite seven points from Franklin.
- The third quarter was more competitive, but the Crusaders were outscored 28-21. After being held scoreless in the first half, freshman Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill. / Glenbrook South) came to life with six points in the third. Oakland’s Leah Somerfield, who finished with 15 points, went 4-of-5 shooting in the third.
- The Crusaders committed seven more turnovers in the fourth quarter and went 0-for-4 from 3-point land on their way to being outscored 18-12.
- The Grizzlies had six players finish in double figures, led by Taylor Jones with 20 points. Hannah Little enjoyed her fifth double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Little was three steals away from a triple-double.
Inside the Game
- Hamlet shot 8-of-14 from the floor on her way to setting a new season high with 18 points. She was also the team’s leading rebounder with five. It marked the first time in her Valpo career Hamlet has led the team in rebounding.
- After a slow start to the season, Hamlet is hitting her stride. She has reached double figures three straight games and four of the last five.
- Franklin, the league’s leading scorer, continued her climb on Valpo’s all-time scoring list, leapfrogging Sarah Schmoyer (1992-96) for 18th in career points. Franklin sits at 931 career points, 13 shy of matching Aimee Litka (2005-09) for 17th.
- Franklin has reached double figures in scoring in 10 straight games and 12 of Valpo’s 13 games this season.
- Freshman Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind. / Westview) made her first career start, replacing Hannah Schaub, who played 15 minutes off the bench. This marks the first time this season Valpo has made a non-injury related change to its starting five.
- Amber Lindfors (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Elk Grove) reached 200 points for her Valpo career with four points on Saturday.
- Morrison had eight points, all in the second half, while Haylee Thompson (Hailey Idaho / Wood River [Utah State]) chipped in seven.
- Oakland set a program record for the most points scored in a league game played at the O’rena.
- Oakland shot 51.6 percent from 3-point range and knocked down 16 3-pointers, two shy of a school record. That tied the most 3-pointers in a single game by a Horizon League team this season, as Detroit Mercy also hit 16 against Minnesota on Dec. 3.
- The Crusaders made 25 turnovers to Oakland’s 12 and were outscored on points off turnovers 42-9.
The Crusaders (5-8, 0-2 Horizon) will return to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Thursday, Jan. 5 as they welcome defending Horizon League champion Green Bay (11-2, 2-0) at 7 p.m. Live video will be available on ESPN3, WatchESPN.com and the ESPN app. Live audio can be heard on WVUR, 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Jake Wulbert will call play-by-play, with Renee’ Turpa adding color commentary. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.