Valpo women’s basketball junior Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) picked the perfect time to drop a new career best in the scoring column, pouring in 28 points on Thursday to lead the way as seventh-seeded Valpo defeated tenth-seeded Evansville, 65-52, in the opening round of Hoops in the Heartland. With the win, Valpo advances to face second-seeded Drake on Friday evening at 5 p.m.
How It Happened
Valpo jumped out to a 12-5 lead just over five minutes into the game, with Weinman contributing seven points during the opening stretch.
The Brown and Gold went scoreless over the final 4:38 of the first quarter, however, as Evansville reeled off the last seven points of the period to tie the game 12-12 at the end of 10 minutes.
Back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second quarter gave the Purple Aces, their largest lead — 20-15 with 8:12 to play in the first half.
Valpo came back with a 12-0 run over a stretch of four-plus minutes — including five points apiece from Weinman and senior Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) — to turn the deficit into a 27-20 lead with 3:47 to play in the half.
Evansville responded with a 10-2 run to regain the lead before Weinman knocked down another triple in the final minute of the half to put Valpo ahead 32-30 at intermission.
Weinman had five points early in the second half as Valpo scored the first eight points of the third quarter to extend its lead to double figures for the first time.
Evansville was within 43-36 after a basket with 5:12 to play in the quarter, but Valpo closed out a strong defensive period by holding the Purple Aces scoreless the remainder of the quarter. UE went just 3-for-9 from the floor and committed seven turnovers in the third period.
Valpo scored the final eight points of the quarter, including a shot clock-beating triple from Morrison and a 3-pointer from junior Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville), to push its lead to 51-36 with 10 minutes to play.
Valpo’s lead never fell under seven points in the fourth quarter.
Inside the Game
Valpo won its opening conference tournament game for the fifth consecutive tournament. The Brown and Gold are a perfect 3-0 in first round action at Hoops in the Heartland.
Thursday was Valpo’s first appearance in the 7-10 game of the first round since joining the MVC.
Weinman’s offense was the story of the game on that end of the floor. The junior got it done at all levels, going 4-of-9 from 3-point range, 6-of-8 inside the arc and 4-of-5 from the foul line for her career-best 28 points, besting her 26-point effort in the win over Xavier earlier this year.
Defensively, just two games after setting a career high with seven steals, Weinman racked up six more thefts Thursday — her fifth career game with six or more steals. The mark ties her for 10th in a single game in MVC Tournament history.
A member of the MVC All-Defensive Team for the second straight year, Weinman is now averaging a conference-high 3.0 steals/game this year. Her 72 total steals on the season are tied for ninth-most in a single season in program history.
Despite her work on the defensive end, Weinman didn’t even lead Valpo in steals Thursday, as Frederick took top honors there with a career-best seven steals — all of which came in the opening 20 minutes.
Frederick’s seven steals are tied for second-most in a single game in MVC Tournament history and are the most in an MVC Tournament game since 2015. It also ties her for ninth in a single game in Valpo program history.
Led by Weinman and Frederick, Valpo racked up a season-best 17 steals — the 11th time this year it has reached double figures in the category and the third consecutive game it has posted 10+ steals.
Valpo forced a total of 25 Evansville turnovers and enjoyed a 23-9 advantage in points off turnovers.
Frederick posted 14 points and seven assists to go with her seven steals, while Morrison knocked down a trio of 3-pointers en route to 16 points and a team-high six rebounds.
Valpo connected on nine triples Thursday and has hit 219 3-pointers this year, fifth-most in a single season in program history and just five shy of third position.
Valpo (12-12) turns around to face second-seeded Drake on Friday evening at 5 p.m. in Moline as it attempts to advance to the semifinals of Hoops in the Heartland for the first time. The game can be seen live on ESPN+ and heard live on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso), with links for all the live coverage available at ValpoAthletics.com.