Phoenix Defense Too Much For Crusaders on Thursday
The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team dropped the first league home game of the season on Thursday, 75-36 to Horizon League power Green Bay. Meredith Hamlet and Haylee Thompson scored eight points apiece to pace Valpo in scoring. The Phoenix showed why they entered the game ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, holding Valpo to single digits in three of the four quarters and forcing 26 Crusader turnovers.
How It Happened
- Valpo grabbed the lead four seconds into the game when Amber Lindfors won the tip to Dani Franklin, who assisted on a Georgi Donchetz layup. The Crusaders regained the edge when Hamlet swished a triple with 8:55 to go in the first to make it 5-4.
- Mehryn Kraker connected on a 3-pointer with 8:16 left in the first to put the Phoenix back in front, a lead they would hold for the game’s duration.
- After Hamlet’s made 3, the Crusaders were held scoreless for the next five minutes, as Green Bay embarked on an 8-0 run.
- A made free throw by Amber Lindfors ended the run and made it 12-6, but then Green Bay went on a 15-0 run to boost the lead to 27-6, making it a 23-1 spurt in total.
- The Crusaders made 10 turnovers in the first quarter.
- Valpo was held without a field goal for 13:59, a drought that ended when Thompson swished a jumper with 4:56 left in the second quarter to make it 27-8.
- Thompson connected on another outside shot with 28 second left in the half, this time from beyond the arc for her second career 3-pointer. Allison Schofield provided the assist.
- Green Bay was on top 40-15 at halftime, led by Kraker, who had 18 points.
- The Phoenix outscored the Crusaders 15-8 in the third quarter and 20-13 in the fourth. Kraker finished with 22 points, joined in double figures by Madison Wolf, who had 10 on 5-of-7 shooting.
Inside the Game
- The Crusaders outperformed the Phoenix at the free-throw line, going 10-of-11 from the stripe to Green Bay’s 6-of-9.
- Franklin was limited to five points, but pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
- Franklin is now nine points away from passing Aimee Litka (2005-2009) for 17th on Valpo’s all-time career scoring list.
- Franklin had reached double figures 10 straight games before Thursday.
- Thompson established a career-high with three steals.
- Lindfors had two blocks on Thursday and now has at least one in each of her last 30 games.
- For the second time this season, Valpo used a starting lineup that did not feature at least one freshman. The game against Bradley on Dec. 19 was the first time Valpo did not start at least one freshman since the final game of the 2013-14 season.
Thoughts from Head Coach Tracey Dorow
- On Green Bay: “The biggest key is that they’re a veteran team that plays with a lot of confidence and really attacks as a unit. They moved the ball well, they shot the ball really well, and that’s not something they’re traditionally known for. I think our defensive intensity was way better than what it’s been the last few weeks, but they got so many more shot opportunities because of their offensive rebounds and because of our turnovers, and that’s hard to make up.”
- On Free Throws: “One bright spot is that we got to the free throw line more than they did. I can’t remember the last time we played Green Bay and had more free throw attempts than they did. That’s a really big bright spot in my mind.”
- On Haylee Thompson: “We’ve tried to put her in positions where she can score, obviously we know she’s really good around the rim. We’ve tried to give her some confidence in taking the shot, but also remembering that she’s a good enough player that she doesn’t have to settle for jump shots because she can fake and get by people. She’s quick and she can put the ball on the floor as well.”
- On Dani Franklin: “They didn’t give Dani any open looks, so she had to work really hard for the points she got. Give Dani credit, she rebounded really well and did a good job getting the ball to her teammates.
- On first-half scoring drought: “We missed some shots, but we also turned it over a handful of times during that stretch. We have to be a lot more disciplined at running something specific to get what we want with a certain player. We do that well in practice, but not in games. We have to get better, and that starts with me making sure the point guards are on the same page and calling out plays for a specific player.”
- On Moving Forward: “Now we have a lot better grasp of how physical the game is going to be in the Horizon League. We did a really good job of matching the intensity level today. We need to give their bodies a little bit of a break tomorrow (Friday) and work on the mindset going into Milwaukee. We’re pretty banged up right now, and we have to make sure we’re fresh for Saturday and have the energy level to go out there and play at the top of our game.”
The Crusaders (5-9, 0-3 Horizon) will play the second of back-to-back home contests as they welcome Milwaukee (10-4, 2-1 Horizon) to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Live video will be available on ESPN3, WatchESPN.com and the ESPN app. Live audio will also be available via UStream. Jake Wulbert will call play-by-play, with Renee’ Turpa and Kevin Huang adding color commentary. Links to live video, audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.