Valpo Falls to Missouri State in Heartbreaking Finish Sunday
It looked like the Valpo women’s basketball team was poised to capture its first win over a nationally-ranked team in 13 years Sunday afternoon at the ARC, but a foul called on a 3-point attempt with 0.8 seconds to play allowed visiting #RV/25 Missouri State to hit three free throws and pull out a 74-73 victory. The ending overshadowed a strong performance by Valpo, highlighted by 20-point games from senior Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) and junior Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) and a great team effort on the glass.
How It Happened
– The final two minutes of the game featured five lead changes, the first of which came on a 3-pointer from Missouri State with 1:39 to go which put the Lady Bears up 69-67. Valpo came right back down and got a triple of its own from Morrison 15 seconds later — her fourth 3-pointer of the quarter — to regain the lead.
– Each team had an empty possession before Missouri State’s Brice Calip hit two free throws with 30 seconds remaining to pull ahead 61-60.
– Valpo’s first effort on its ensuing possession was off the mark, but the Brown and Gold got the offensive board and converted thanks to a driving layup on the left side from Weinman with 12.4 seconds to play to take a 72-71 lead.
– Out of a Missouri State timeout, the Lady Bears missed and freshman Lauren Gunn (Fishers, Ind./Lawrence North) cleared the rebound. MSU was forced to foul twice to send Valpo to the foul line.
– At the stripe with six seconds to play, junior Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) converted the first free throw to make it a two-point game before missing the second. The Lady Bears came down and Calip got a last-second effort off from the right wing on which the foul was called. After the clock was set back to 0.8 seconds, Calip connected on all three free throws to give MSU the win.
– Two big third-quarter runs put Valpo in good position entering the final 10 minutes of play. Trailing 32-27 just 28 seconds into the second half, Valpo reeled off nine straight points — seven courtesy of Weinman — in a stretch of 2:17 to go up by four.
– Later in the quarter, Missouri State had recovered to regain the lead at 44-42, but the Brown and Gold went on a 10-0 run over a span of 1:53 to flip the script on the Lady Bears. Senior Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) scored four points during the spurt, while Weinman and Gunn each knocked down triples as well. The teams traded baskets to end the quarter as Valpo enjoyed a 54-46 lead at the end of the period.
– After a turnover on its first possession of the fourth quarter, MSU scored on each of its next four trips, but the Lady Bears were unable to make much headway into the deficit, as Valpo kept solving their full-court press. Three times in a span of 1:33, Valpo broke the pressure and got the ball to Morrison in the left corner, and all three times, the senior drilled a triple.
– A basket from White with 6:41 to play matched Valpo’s largest lead at 65-56, but the Lady Bears scored the next eight points to close to within one point with 4:47 remaining. From there, it would remain a one-possession game the rest of the way.
– Missouri State led by as many as eight points in a first quarter which it closed out with a 16-10 lead. The lead was still six points inside the final minute of the second period before a 3-pointer from Weinman closed out the first half and brought Valpo within 29-26 at intermission.
Inside the Game
– Valpo was in search of just its second win over a ranked team in program history. The Brown and Gold beat #21/23 Purdue in December 2008, 71-60, while Valpo also went to overtime against #25 Arkansas in December 1997 in its only other closer result against a top-25 team than Sunday’s outcome.
– Valpo’s 73 points were the most surrendered by Missouri State in a game this season.
– Morrison and Weinman tied for game-high honors with 20 points apiece. For Morrison, it was her second effort of at least 20 points in MVC play, joining the win at Illinois State.
– 14 of Morrison’s 20 points came in the fourth quarter alone, as she went 5-of-5 from the field, including 4-of-4 from behind the 3-point line. For the game, Morrison connected on five 3-pointers to match a career high.
– The senior also picked up a blocked shot in the second half, giving her 98 career rejections to tie her for fourth in program history in the category.
– Meanwhile, Weinman posted her 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including a 3-of-4 mark from deep, for her fourth performance of 20 or more points this year. The junior tallied 12 of her points in the third quarter as Valpo gained the lead.
– White rounded out the Valpo trio in double figures in the scoring column, going 8-of-8 from the foul line as part of a 14-point game.
– Frederick led Valpo with eight rebounds and seven assists, both of which were one shy of her career high, while Gunn tallied five rebounds in 25 big minutes off the bench.
– Frederick and Gunn’s efforts on the boards helped Valpo finish the game with a 39-34 advantage on the glass over a Missouri State squad which entered the game outrebounding opponents by over 10 boards per game this year. In fact, the last time the Lady Bears were outrebounded by five or more came against Stanford in the 2019 Sweet Sixteen.
– The two teams shot similar percentages from the field, with MSU outshooting Valpo by a mere 41.9%-41.1% clip.
– The Brown and Gold knocked down 11 triples and connected on 40.7% from deep, their sixth game this year reaching double figures in 3-pointers and the second time they’ve hit at least 40% while connecting on at least 10.
Thoughts From Coach Evans
“I thought we played really good basketball today. Our players were tough, they were together, they worked hard enough to win the game — I think they were the harder-working team today by far. To lose a game on your home floor like that in the last second, it hurts. It hurts a lot, and that’s good that it hurts, it’s good that it hurts our players because it means that they’re competitors. You often grow in your biggest adversity, and this is some adversity that we’re going to face — we’re going to grow from it, we’re going to learn from it and get better.”
“I’m really proud of the team for their effort on the boards. Rebounding has been our achille’s heel since I’ve taken over the program — we’ve never been a really strong rebounding team. We challenged them with this knowing how good Missouri State was on the glass, and our players really worked hard today to step up. We had all five people in there boxing out and they were scrappy about it, and that’s how we have to rebound.”
Valpo (6-8, 2-5 MVC) will close out a stretch of five consecutive home games later this week when it welcomes Bradley to the ARC for 6 p.m. tipoffs on Thursday and Friday evenings. Both games will be broadcast either on ESPN3 or ESPN+.