Valpo Edges Butler 58-53

VALPARAISO, Ind. - Sophomore Mandy McDivitt buried six 3-pointers but Valparaiso made the plays late to hold off the Butler women's basketball team 58-53 Saturday afternoon. McDivitt's 18-point performance was a career high. 

McDivitt finished 6-for-10 from 3-point range and 6-for-11 overall. She also had five rebounds and two steals. Sophomore Sarah Hamm added 12 points for Butler, which had previously won six of seven against Valparaiso.

Ashley Varner had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Crusaders, who picked up their first league win of the season. Tabitha Gerardot and Ashley Timmerman each scored 12 points. Both teams made 19 field goals and eight 3-pointers. Turnovers and rebounds were also fairly even.

"We were not into the game today," head coach Beth Couture said. "We didn't play well, but a lot of that had to do with what Valpo did. Their kids played hard. But we need to be more focused and better prepared as a team."

Valpo (5-11, 1-4) built a 55-48 lead with 58 seconds left in the game but the Bulldogs made it interesting. After sophomore Jenna Cobb scored on a drive, McDivitt buried her sixth trey with 17 ticks left to cut the deficit to 55-53. Valpo's Laura Richards then added a free throw to make it 56-53. On her second foul shot, four Butler players were unable to grab Richards' miss and the Valpo guard grabbed her own rebound and went back to the line with 6 seconds left. This time, Richards made both to end Butler's attempt at a comeback.

The Bulldogs appeared to have control when they went on a 16-4 run early in the second half to plead 37-30. Hamm and freshman Hannah Douglas fueled the run with four points each. Valpo would climb back to tie the game at 45-45 on a trey by Timmerman and a foul shot by Gerardot. Valpo's Gina Lange would score the next five points to give the Crusaders a 50-45 lead with 2:24 to play.

The first half was as even as any 20 minutes of basketball could be. Butler shot 8-for-26 from the floor and Valpo went to the locker room with 7-for-26 shooting. Rebounds were 20-19 and turnovers 9-8. A lay-up by Brierly with 1:17 to go was the final bucket of the half as the Bulldogs and Crusaders were tied 21-21.

Butler (6-10, 2-3) will continue on the road next week when it plays twice in Chicago. BU is at UIC Thursday, Jan. 19 at 4:30 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs will finish the weekend at Loyola. Both games are doubleheaders with the Butler men's team.