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.”
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+.