Valpo Opens MVC Play With Home Win Over UNI
Junior Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) took over midway through the fourth quarter at the ARC Thursday evening, scoring nine points in a stretch of 74 seconds to give the Valpo women’s basketball team the lead for good in a 63-56 victory over UNI. The win over the Panthers came in the delayed conference opener for the Brown and Gold.
How It Happened
– Valpo carried a one-point lead into the final quarter, and for nearly the first four minutes of the period, it stayed a one-point game either way. But then, Frederick took over.
– First, trailing by one, Frederick nailed a step-back 3-pointer while being fouled and completed off the rare four-point play, giving Valpo the lead for good with 6:02 to play.
– UNI came down and scored on its next possession, but that was merely a setup for Frederick to come down and pull up for another triple to push Valpo’s lead to 55-51.
– After a Panther miss, Frederick closed out her personal nine-point spurt by getting inside and finishing at the basket, making it a 57-51 game with 4:49 to play and forcing a UNI timeout.
– That proved to be enough scoring for the win, as the Valpo defense surrendered just five points to the Panthers over the final five minutes. UNI got as close as five points with 2:36 to play, but Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) hit Ella Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis./Rice Lake) for a layup to keep the Panthers at bay.
– Valpo started Valley play out on the right foot, as after giving up a basket on UNI’s opening possession, it held the Panthers scoreless for nearly five minutes. Over that stretch, Valpo went on a 12-0 run — including a pair of inside baskets by Ellenson and 3-pointers from White and Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) — to pull out to an early double-digit advantage.
– UNI eventually closed the quarter on a 10-3 spurt to cut Valpo’s edge to 18-15 at the end of the first.
– The second quarter was almost entirely a one-possession game either way, with Valpo pulling out to a brief four-point lead with 2:43 to play in the first half on a triple from Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH).
– UNI pulled ahead with 1:09 to go in the half on a 3-point play by Cynthia Wolf, but a basket from Ellenson put Valpo on top 31-30 at intermission.
– UNI had the hot hand to open the second half, going on a quick 9-0 run over the first two minutes to run out to an eight-point lead. The Panthers’ lead reached an apex at 11 points (44-33) at the halfway mark of the quarter, and they still led by double figures with 3:41 to play in the period.
– Valpo held UNI scoreless on the final seven possessions of the quarter and used the defensive effort to put together an 11-0 run to end the period. Ellenson connected on a triple to kick-start the run, which saw five different players score, and a putback inside by Cara VanKempen (Coopersville, Mich./Coopersville) in the final minute gave Valpo a 46-45 lead with 10 minutes to play.
Inside the Game
– Valpo won its MVC opener for the first time in four years as a Valley member.
– UNI entered the series ranked 66th nationally in the NCAA’s NET ranking, being used in women’s basketball for the first time this year. Valpo closed last season with a pair of top-100 RPI wins among its final four wins after going nearly seven years without a top-100 win.
– Frederick led all players in the win, the second straight game she has led all players in scoring, as she finished with 20 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field and a perfect 9-of-9 effort from the foul line. 13 of Frederick’s 20 points came in the fourth quarter, as she single-handedly outscored UNI 13-11 over the final 10 minutes.
– Frederick has now scored at least 20 points in consecutive games and has done so six times in her career, with Valpo owning a 5-1 record in those games.
– Frederick added seven rebounds and handed out a game-high six assists as well in the victory.
– Ellenson enjoyed a season-best performance at the offensive end, scoring 13 points on 5-of-9 scoring. The senior added three steals defensively as well.
– Weinman rounded out Valpo’s trio of double-figure scorers with 12 points and came up with three steals as well, while White filled up the stat sheet with eight points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals.
– Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) led the way on the glass for Valpo with eight rebounds.
– Junior Maya Dunson (Dayton, Ohio/Wayne [Loyola]) made her Valpo debut after enrolling in graduate school mid-season, playing 11 minutes and tallying two rebounds, an assist and a steal.
– Valpo shot just 34.5% from the field (20-of-58) on Thursday, its worst shooting percentage in a win this season. The Brown and Gold did connect on nine 3-pointers and shot a season-best 82.4% (14-of-17) from the foul line.
– The defensive effort helped lift Valpo to the win, as it limited UNI to 34.4% shooting. The Panthers hit just 5-of-29 (17.2%) from deep, as Valpo has now allowed opponents to shoot just 24.1% from the 3-point line on the year.
– Valpo overcame a double-digit deficit for a win for the second time this year, doing so earlier this season against Xavier as well, and now owns eight rallies from down 10 or more for wins in the three-year tenure of head coach Mary Evans.
Thoughts From Coach Evans
“UNI has really good players — they’ve got a good point guard, they’ve got good post players who can shoot the 3-pointer. I thought that group that was out there for us for a good chunk of the fourth quarter, along with Caitlin, did a great job communicating defensively, and I think that’s where the big difference was. We started getting stops, we didn’t have to face their zone as much, and we really took pride in guarding them in the fourth quarter.”
“Shay was a big part of the win here against UNI last year, where she did the same type of thing and had a really big fourth quarter. I think [UNI point guard] Karli Rucker is a really talented point guard, and when we play UNI, I think Shay steps up to that challenge in guarding her and attacking her offensively. I thought she did a great job being efficient with her shooting, she rebounded the ball well, got her teammates involved — she just played one heck of a basketball game.”
“Ella hit a huge 3-pointer in the third quarter when we were really struggling. We were struggling against the zone, tried a couple different things, then we came back to really works against it and just decided to be tough enough to run what we run against it. Part of it is making catch-and-shoot shots in the corner, and Ella hit one that was huge. I think her post defense all night was good — she had three steals and she was really physical with their post players.”
For the first time in 31 years, Valpo (5-3, 1-0 MVC) will play conference games on back-to-back days, as the MVC adjusted its conference scheduling this year to feature games on back-to-back dates against the same opponent at the same site each weekend. That means a rematch with UNI is on the docket for Friday evening at the ARC at 6 p.m. The game can be seen live on ESPN3 and heard live on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso).