Women find blueprint for victory against Valpo
After a close loss to Youngstown State Jan. 8, the women’s basketball team (11-4, 1-1 HL) picked up its third straight win over Valparaiso (4-11, 0-2 HL) Saturday afternoon, 86-56.
UIC continues its four-game road trip with a Thursday match at Detroit (5-10, 0-2 HL). The Flames have won three consecutive meetings with the Titans.
The Flames held the Crusaders to 18 first half points and 34 percent shooting overall. Valparaiso is the 11th UIC opponent to shoot less than 40 percent from the field and the ninth to score under 60 points. The Flames are 9-0 when allowing less than 60 points.
“We had a significant size advantage in the paint and used that to our benefit this afternoon,” said head coach Regina Miller. “Caitlin (Garant) got us started on offense early before Ruvanna (Campbell) found her rhythm and took over the game.
“We will look to use this blueprint to victory on the remainder of this road trip.”
The Flames forced 19 Valparaiso turnovers and scored 22 points off the Crusaders’ miscues. UIC outrebounded Valpo 44-34, grabbed 21 offensive rebounds and scored 30 second-chance points.
Campbell, who has scored in double-digits for 19 consecutive contests dating back to last season, matched her career high of 30 points to go with 19 rebounds for her 11th double-double. She was 13-of-19 from the field and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. She had five steals and three blocks in an all-around strong performance.
Terri Bender scored 17 points for her fifth consecutive double-figure performance. She was 2-of-6 from downtown and picked up four steals.
Garant set season highs with 12 points and two blocks. She owns four double-digit efforts this season and six in her UIC career.
Off the bench, Kendyl Nunn scored nine points on 4-of-6 shooting and Imani Moore added seven points. The Flames attempted a season-high 22 three-pointers and converted five triples.
The Flames opened Horizon League play Thursday with a 69-66 home loss to Youngstown State (12-2, 1-0 HL). YSU made 25-of-29 free throw attempts and shot 8-of-19 from three-point range.
The Penguins shot over 40 percent from the field (.474) and converted 58 percent of field goals in the second half (10-of-17), as well as 16 of 18 free throws.
UIC picked up 11 steals and forced 19 YSU turnovers. The Flames also outrebounded the Penguins, 38-29, and scored 14 more points in the paint (28-14).
“Part of our game plan was to keep Youngstown State off the free throw line and we did not accomplish that,” Miller said. “There were many good chances to either tie or take the lead down the stretch but we could not convert offensively.”
UIC used an 11-0 run midway through the first half to take a 19-12 lead with 7:55 on the clock. The Flames took their largest lead of the contest at 27-19 on Bender’s jumper with 3:01 before halftime. YSU responded by scoring nine out of the next 10 points and the game was tied 28-28 at the break.
UIC came out strong in the second half and led 35-31 following Bender’s jumper at 15:18. The Penguins used an 11-1 run, including three three-pointers, to take a 42-36 lead with 12:08 left.
YSU’s largest lead of the game came at 62-53 with 3:55 remaining. UIC responded with a 9-2 run to narrow the Penguins’ lead to 64-62 with 1:33 on the clock. YSU secured the victory by making five out of six free throws and holding the Flames to one field goal down the stretch.