Valpo vs Indiana State - 61-45
How many basketball players are allowed to say they played so well, they blanked out a whole quarter? Well, Valpo gets to. How many Valpo women basketball players get to say they swept Indiana teams in one season? Not since the 2011-12 team went 5-0. After being down by 18-14 at the end of the first quarter, Valpo went on a 17-0 run in that quarter. Their defensive stops were so critical that it turned a four point deficit into a 13 point lead. Valpo also had another scoring run in the third quarter, going 12-4 over seven minutes, extending their lead as far as 18. Even though sweeping the state of Indiana was special, a special moment was held before the game for senior guard Grace Hales. She was given the honor of reaching the 1,000 points milestone in her career, and witnessing such historical landmark unfold is nothing short of special for both players, fans and coaches alike.
Valpo vs Loyola 66-64
Here is a little known fact: the last time Valpo rallied from being down double digits up to this point was in fact against Loyola in Feb. 2011. That happened in this game. But here is the big fact: sophomore guard Shay Frederick was the heroine of the game with her 21 points in 36 minutes. Her ability to shoot and draw fouls in clutch situations is what ensured Valpo’s win against the Ramblers. With 12 seconds left in the game, Shay’s two free throws cut the deficit from three points to one. Frederick secured the game winning shot for this game.
Valpo vs Evansville - 72-54
This game against Evansville ranks at number five for Valpo’s adversity and ability to make comebacks. After the first half, Valpo was down 34-32, but after discussing adjustments on both sides of the court during halftime, Valpo outscored Evansville 40-20. This was the third time Valpo came back from a double-digit deficit and won. However, this situation started in the first half rather than the fourth quarter. Another point of growth for Valpo was from their execution on the perimeter, given that 42 of Valpo’s 72 points came from 14-of-34 shots. This stretch was the third time they tied their career high, and are tied for the sixth-most in a single game in program history. Seeing execution and greatness from outside the paint against conference teams will show that Valpo’s talent should be given a second look.
Valpo vs Bowling Green - 95-90 (OT)
After being down all game, Valpo fought hard in the fourth quarter and was able to come back and tie it up. Junior guard Grace White was able to seal the deal as she was able to draw a foul and sink one to tie the game up at 80. In overtime, junior forward Ella Ellenson’s three pointer and Hales jumpshot in the paint put Valpo ahead by five. After that, made free throws by Hales and Frederick secured the win closer to Valpo. This game was important to win because this was the start of a seven game winning streak in their 11 game non-conference schedule, the seventh such streak in program history. Without, I’m not sure how non-conference would’ve gone for the team. This game was the foundation of momentum to conquer the rest of non-conference.
Valpo vs UIC - 63-37
There is no other explanation, Valparaiso played a well rounded defensive game. The 37 points given up by Valpo was the seventh fewest given up by Valpo in a singular game in the history of the program. This game was also the fewest points allowed against a non-conference Division I opponent in program history. On paper, Valpo’s defensive efforts only allowed UIC to score only seven points total in two different quarters. The team also forced 29 total turnovers in 40 minutes, the most since 2009. 18 of those turnovers were steals, and nine of 12 on the roster had at least one steal.