Valpo Women’s Basketball drops heartbreak at North Dakota

By: Valparaiso University Last Updated: November 18, 2019

The Valpo women’s basketball team traveled to Grand Forks Sunday afternoon to take on the Fighting Hawks of North Dakota. A low-scoring fourth quarter featured six lead changes, and Valpo had a chance with 8.9 seconds left to tie or take the lead, but its last-second shot was off the mark as it suffered a 65-63 defeat.

How It Happened

  • Valpo took a 6-4 lead in the first quarter three minutes into the game. North Dakota would then go on an 8-0 run to take a 12-6 lead and force head coach Mary Evans to call a timeout.
  • Valpo quickly went on a 6-0 run of its own to tie the game at 12-12, but the Fighting Hawks would match that run with a 6-0 run of their own.
  • The Brown and Gold trailed 22-16 at the end of the first quarter, with senior Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind./Westview) leading all scorers with seven points. Valpo scored six first-quarter points off of North Dakota turnovers.
  • After falling behind eight points early in the second quarter, Valpo embarked on a 9-0 run, with Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill./Cissna Park) scoring six of those points, to take a 27-26 lead.
  • The teams traded the lead multiple times, with Valpo eventually going into halftime with a 36-34 advantage thanks to outscoring North Dakota 20-12 in the second quarter. The first half featured seven lead changes and five ties.
  • North Dakota came out in the third quarter red-hot, as the Fighting Hawks went on a quick 9-0 run to take a 43-36 lead. Valpo again would claw their way back. Stoller and Caitlyn Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) combined for nine points in a stretch that drew Valpo within one point, then a Hales three gave Valpo a two-point edge with just under three minutes to go in the third.
  • The teams would trade baskets before a 3-point play from junior Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) and an Illyse Pitts (Aurora, Ill./Montini Catholic) steal and layup gave Valpo a four-point lead, 54-50, with 1:02 to play in the third quarter.
  • The Fighting Hawks would end the quarter with the final four points to tie the game at 54-all heading into the final 10 minutes.
  • In the final quarter, Valpo got off to a quick start by scoring five points to pull out to a 59-54 advantage with nine minutes remaining.
  • Once again, the Fighting Hawks fought back to take the lead at 60-59 with six minutes left.
  • Valpo regained the lead one final time at 63-62 with 4:46 to go after a pair of free throws from Pitts.
  • Valpo kept North Dakota off the board for the next four-plus minutes but was unable to convert any opportunities on its end to extend the lead, however.
  • North Dakota’s Jaclyn Janot hit a jumper at the top of the key following an offensive rebound to give the Fighting Hawks the lead with 29 seconds remaining.
  • After a Valpo miss, Mikayla Reinke split a pair of free throws with 8.9 seconds remaining to make it 65-63 North Dakota.
  • Valpo called timeout to advance the ball into a sideline inbounds position in the frontcourt and set up a play to either tie or take the lead. A timing issue on the ensuing inbounds resulted in a stoppage with the ball in play, and after consultation, Valpo was awarded the ball out-of-bounds underneath the basket with less than five seconds remaining. Without a timeout to set up a new play, Valpo’s last-second effort was off the mark.

Inside the Game

  • Stoller led all scorers in the game with 23 points, one point shy of her career-high. She went 3-5 from behind the arc, matching her career-high for 3-pointers made for the second straight game, and also totaled nine rebounds and two steals.
  • Hales added 10 points, grabbed four rebounds and went 5-5 from the charity stripe.
  • Grace White (Redby, Minn./ Redlake [Denver]) came off the bench and totaled seven rebounds and added five points.
  • Shay Fredrick had a game-high four steals and added two assists and two rebounds.
  • The Valpo defense forced the Fighting Hawks into 21 total turnovers and held them to 32.8 percent shooting for the game, including 29 percent from three.
  • The game featured 16 lead changes and ten ties.
  • Despite being outrebounded by ten (43-33), Valpo won the points in the paint battle, 20-12.
  • Valpo scored 18 points off North Dakota turnovers and received a 16-point contribution from its bench.

Thoughts From Coach Evans

“I thought defensively we did a very good job in the first half with some ball pressure. In the second half, I thought they created some better opportunities, they got some backside threes because we weren’t pressuring the ball enough. We didn’t really execute down the stretch. There’s going to be a lot to learn from this game moving forward. Our effort was there, there’s just a little bit of execution. They made some shots, but we’re going to get back in the gym and work.”

“Caitlin Morrison is a very good basketball player. She is very skilled and she shoots the ball well. She can drive, step out and make the three and she rebounds. She’s a really smart basketball player, she understands the game very well. We’re really happy to have her back and she’s going to give us really good minutes this year.”

Next Up

Valpo (1-2) travels to Evanston, Illinois to take on their second Big Ten opponent of the season in Northwestern (4-0) on Thursday night. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m., and the game can be heard live on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) and seen live on BTN+.