Comeback Attempt Comes Up Short Friday Night
The Valpo women’s basketball team put together a furious fourth-quarter rally as it attempted to open MVC play with a two-game series sweep, but visiting UNI held off the rush from the Brown and Gold as the Panthers emerged 79-71 victors Friday evening. Junior Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) continued her strong recent play with a 26-point effort, her third straight game scoring at least 20 points.
How It Happened
– A 7-0 spurt midway through the first quarter gave UNI control, breaking open what had been a tied game five minutes in.
– Senior Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) drove the length of the floor in the final seconds of the opening period, cutting Valpo’s deficit to 16-12 at the end of one.
– Valpo scored the first two points of the second quarter to move within two points, but UNI came back with seven straight to pull ahead by nine.
– The Panthers’ lead reached double figures for the first time with 6:16 to play in the first half and UNI took a 39-24 advantage into halftime.
– UNI’s lead reached its peak at 19 points early in the third quarter and was still 18 at the halfway mark of the period, but junior Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as part of an 8-0 spurt to close within 52-42 with three minutes to go in the quarter.
– Valpo was unable to get the UNI lead down into single digits, however, and it took a running floater from just inside the 3-point line by Frederick at the buzzer to bring Valpo within 61-48 with ten minutes to play.
– UNI held the double-figure lead throughout the first half of the fourth quarter and pushed its edge to 71-54 with 4:54 to play.
– Valpo scored on each of its next five trips down the court, including five points from Weinman, and when White connected on a 3-pointer with 1:37 remaining, it was a 12-1 run for the Brown and Gold as they were within 72-66.
– UNI knocked down its free throws down the stretch, however, going 7-of-8 on four trips to the line to keep Valpo at bay. Another White triple with 31 seconds left again made it a six-point game, but Valpo could get no closer.
Inside the Game
– The games Thursday and Friday marked the first time that Valpo played conference games on back-to-back days since Feb. 17 & 18, 1990 versus DePaul and UIC.
– Friday’s loss was Valpo’s first at home this year in its fourth appearance on its home floor. Over the last two seasons, Valpo owns an 11-6 record at the ARC.
– Frederick led Valpo in the scoring column for a third straight game, finishing with 26 points as she went 8-of-20 from the field and 10-of-12 from the foul line. The junior, who missed her career high by just one point, scored 20 of her points after halftime.
– Frederick has scored 20 or more points in three consecutive games, the first Valpo player to do so since current assistant coach Dani Franklin did so in December 2017.
– Frederick added six assists as well to lead all players.
– Weinman totaled 19 points, 15 of which came in the second half, on 8-of-12 shooting, including a 3-for-5 mark from deep. The junior tied for game-high honors with three steals and continues to lead the MVC with 2.9 steals/game.
– White rounded out Valpo’s trio of double-figure scorers with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting while also grabbing a game-high six rebounds.
– Valpo improved its shooting from the field by nearly 12% from Thursday’s win, hitting at a 46.4% clip from the floor, but UNI shot 52% on Friday and was 6-of-13 from the 3-point line.
– Valpo tied its season low by making just five 3-pointers on Friday evening. The Brown and Gold did continue their strong recent free throw shooting, hitting 14-of-16 (87.5%) from the stripe.
– Valpo matched a season high by outscoring UNI in the paint by 12 points (40-28). But the Panthers owned a 27-13 advantage in points off turnovers, despite the two teams being separated by just one turnover, and the UNI bench bettered Valpo, 23-2.
– UNI’s Karli Rucker led all scorers Friday with 32 points, the first time Valpo has surrendered 30 or more points to one player since Illinois State’s Simone Goods scored 30 in February 2019.
Thoughts From Coach Evans
“Hats off to UNI — they came out fired up today. I love playing against them, and they’re a good test for us. It was just a hard-fought game — we’ve got to get in here tomorrow, we’ve got to learn from this, we’ve got to grow from it.”
“I felt like the game was extremely physical from the start. I thought we weren’t trying to drive like we normally do in the first half — every contact we got, we backed down a little bit from our drives. We had too many turnovers (14) in the first half too, and that put us down 15 at the half. UNI’s a team that you have to stay close if you want to try to claw back into the game, and we couldn’t do that tonight.”
Valpo (5-4, 1-1 MVC) continues Valley play with its first road series of the season at Illinois State next week, January 14 and 15. Both games are scheduled for 4 p.m. tips, both can be seen either on ESPN3 or ESPN+ and both can be heard on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso).