A cold shooting performance in the second quarter that saw Indiana State score zero points proved too much to overcome Saturday afternoon, as the Sycamores fell to Valparaiso 61-45.
The Sycamores' records dropped to 3-20 overall and 1-10 in the Missouri Valley Conference, while the Crusaders improved to 13-9 and 5-6 in the Valley.
Junior Jamyra McChristine led the Indiana State offensive effort, recording 12 points to go along with three rebounds, an assist and a steal. Del’Janae Williams added nine points and Marie Hunter contributed eight.
Hunter and Williams also led ISU in rebounds, with six each. As a team, ISU dominated the glass, holding a 37-24 advantage. Indiana State also held the advantage in the paint on the offensive end, outscoring VU 26-18 in the paint.
The Sycamores struggled with a tight Valparaiso defense, as the Crusaders forced 31 turnovers and recorded 14 steals. On the flipside, the Blue and White forced 19 turnovers and posted eight steals.
It was a strong start to the first quarter for ISU, as the defense managed to force a shot-clock violation on the first possession and then put up four straight points thanks to a Williams steal and layups from McChristine and Williams.
Valparaiso would respond, tying the game at four, but a quick 6-0 run capped off by a Williams layup with 5:18 remaining gave the Sycamores a 10-4 advantage. ISU maintained a 18-14 lead at the end of one quarter, despite a runner as time expired from Valpo’s Cara VanKempen.
The Crusaders turned the defensive intensity up in the second quarter, holding the Sycamores to zero points and scoring 17 of their own. ISU shot 0 of 12 from the floor in the period and committed eight turnovers, giving the Crusaders a 31-18 lead.
Despite the struggles from the floor in the second quarter, Sommer Pitzer knocked down a triple right out of the second-half gate to pull the Sycamores within 31-21 at 9:30. Valparaiso would manage to push its lead to 18, but a pair of free throws and a Hunter lay-in with four seconds remaining trimmed the Crusader lead to 14 with one quarter remaining.
ISU began the fourth period with a jolt of offense, scoring a quick five points, including four from McChristine to get the Sycamores to single-digits, 45-36 with 6:53 left in the game. Nine was as close as Indiana State would get, however, as Valparaiso held on for the 16-point win.
Grace Hales led the Crusaders with 14 points.
The Sycamores' schedule doesn’t get any easier as Northern Iowa comes to Hulman Center on Thursday for the PINK game.