Women’s basketball pulls away from Evansville in second half

By: Valparaiso University Last Updated: February 7, 2020

The Valpo women’s basketball team overcame an 11-point first half deficit Thursday evening at the ARC against Evansville, outscoring the Purple Aces by 20 in the second half to pull away for a 72-54 victory. Senior Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind./Westview) led the Valpo charge with 20 points, including a career-high six 3-pointers made, while sophomore Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) tied her career best with eight assists.

How It Happened

-        Unlike the first matchup, which Valpo led start to finish, the Brown and Gold would have to fight from behind on Thursday. Evansville scored the game’s first five points and led by as many as eight in the first quarter.

-        A 7-0 spurt for Valpo, capped by a 3-pointer from sophomore Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]), tied the game at 15-15 with 1:39 to play in the opening period. But Evansville responded with the final six points of the quarter to lead 21-15 at the end of the first.

-        The Purple Aces opened the second quarter by scoring six of the first seven points, earning their largest lead at 27-16 with 7:52 to play in the half.

-        Valpo came back immediately with consecutive 3-point plays from junior Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill./Cissna Park) and Frederick 26 seconds apart, quickly slicing the 11-point deficit to just five points.

-        Evansville enjoyed a seven-point lead with three minutes to play in the half, but Frederick scored the final five points of the half to pull Valpo to within 34-32 at intermission.

-        Evansville extended its lead to five points at 40-35 two minutes into the third quarter before Valpo rattled off 10 consecutive points to take the lead for good. A basket at the rim from Weinman with 6:48 to play in the period gave Valpo its first lead of the game.

-        Valpo saw its advantage cut down to one point with three minutes to play in the third before the Crusaders ended the quarter on a 10-2 run. Stoller started the spurt with a 3-pointer, and Hales connected on a triple in the final seconds of the period to make it a 55-46 lead with 10 minutes to play.

-        A 3-pointer for the Purple Aces on their first possession of the fourth quarter cut Valpo’s lead to 55-49, but the Brown and Gold held Evansville scoreless for the next 5:54. Over that stretch, Valpo rattled off 14 consecutive points – including three 3-pointers from Hales – to pull out to a 20-point lead.

Inside the Game

-        Thursday’s victory was Valpo’s 12th of the season – the program’s highest win total against Division I opposition since the 2008-09 campaign.

-        The win gave Valpo a sweep of the season series with Evansville, its third sweep since joining the MVC. The 2017-18 team swept both Evansville and Loyola in Valpo’s first season of competition in the Valley.

-        Valpo overcame a double-figure deficit for the third time this season in a victory. This time, however, the double-digit hole was faced in the first half and not the fourth quarter, as was the case previously in wins over Bowling Green and Loyola.

-        Valpo did most of its damage from behind the arc on Thursday, scoring 42 of its 72 points from deep as it went 14-of-34 (41.2%) from 3-point range. The Crusaders are hitting at a 43.6% clip from three over the last two games after shooting just 28.2% from deep over the previous four contests.

-        The 14 triples tie a season high for the Brown and Gold for the third time and are tied for the sixth-most in a single game in program history. Five of the top-eight single-game 3-pointers totals have come in the last two seasons.

-        Leading the downtown barrage was Hales. After scoring just three points in the first half, the senior exploded for 17 second-half points, connecting on five triples in the final 20 minutes alone. For the game, Hales went 6-of-9 from deep, setting a career high with the six 3-pointers made.

-        Hales’ final 3-pointer of the game not only set a new personal single-game best, it also gave her solo possession of eighth place on Valpo’s career 3-pointers made chart.

-        Weinman and Stoller both connected on three triples as well, the latter going a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc. Weinman finished Thursday’s game with 15 points and added three steals, while Stoller posted 16 points, a team-high seven rebounds and three steals.

-        Frederick scored 15 points as well to round out the quartet in double figures in the scoring column, but her impact distributing the ball was just as vital. The sophomore tied her career high with eight assists and committed just two turnovers.

-        Frederick led the way as Valpo tallied 17 assists on its 22 baskets.

-        Stoller paced Valpo on the glass, while the Crusaders also received six rebounds from junior Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) to tie a season high. Valpo out-rebounded the Purple Aces, 39-35 – just the third time this year the Brown and Gold have held the edge in that category.

Thoughts From Coach Evans

“At halftime, we just talked about the things we needed to do better, both offensively and defensively. I thought our effort in the first half was fine - we came out sluggish defensively, but I felt we made that adjustment between the first and second quarter. I told the players we needed two more quarters that looked a lot more like the second quarter than the first.”

“This really is an unselfish group, and I think that's what has helped us be successful this year. We have a lot of kids who are really good basketball players and a lot of players who will share the basketball.”

“This is the second game in a row where we've put the ball in Shay's hands, and in Ilysse's hands there at the end of the third quarter, and let them create. I think it's a testament to how good those two players are, but they're good because everyone around them keeps moving and keeps screening. Ella's screen on grace Hales' second 3-pointer from the corner in the 4th quarter was huge - that kid was closing out, and she stands there and sacrifices her body to get her teammate an open shot. That's not an assist, but it should be, because without that, we'd never have gotten that three off.”

Next Up

Valpo (12-9, 4-6 MVC) looks to make it a clean sweep of its fellow Indiana schools in MVC play this year on Saturday afternoon when it hosts Indiana State at the ARC. Tipoff will be at 1 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.