Game No. 4
IUPUI 84, Valparaiso 51
The Crusaders fell behind early in their home opener and could never recover against a deep IUPUI squad that won at the Athletics-Recreation Center for just the second time in series history. The Jaguars' reserves outscored Valparaiso's bench 56-9 as coach Austin Parkinson subbed players in at every turn, wearing down the short-handed Crusaders.
Game Ball -- While there wasn't a lot to get excited about in this game, I give a lot of credit to Valparaiso coach Tracey Dorow. There were plenty of excuses that Dorow could've held onto following the game, including lack of depth, foul trouble, fatigue or a brutal early season schedule. Dorow wouldn't take the bait and she blamed Thursday's struggles on the the coaching staff and the players. Hearing Dorow speak candidly about her team in the post-game news conference was refreshing in a time when coaches are so quick to sugarcoat everything. This team has an uphill battle to climb, but Dorow is facing it head on.
Air Ball -- Pretty much everything else. The Crusaders scored just 13 baskets, shot 28.3 percent and showed little emotion on several possessions. Shot selection was a point of criticism after the game from Dorow as was lack of rebounding. Charae Richardson missed all three of her field goal attempts (all 3-pointers) and was the only scholarship player not to hit a shot in the game. The senior was lights out in the exhibition game against St. Joseph's, but has struggled in the early stages of the season.
Medical Report -- Aliyah Issac has yet to play in a game this season and the freshman wasn't even at the ARC on Thursday night. Dorow reported that Issac has been suffering from a variety of injuries including some migraine headaches that have caused her to miss class time. Issac was in class on Thursday instead of at the game and she'll miss at least the next three games. She could make her debut at Toledo next month.
Jessica Carr appears to be on the road back to recovery. The junior point guard has started conditioning and may return by the time conference play begins in January. Part of me wonders whether or not it would be a better idea to keep her for a full two years, but I don't know how you tell a competitor like Jess Carr that she has to sit out the season when she's physically able to play. This will be an interesting storyline to monitor.
Quotable -- (Our players) are in (the locker room) figuring out a way to grow up and be the basketball players they came to Valparaiso University to be." -- Tracey Dorow
Up Next -- The Crusaders (0-4) will continue their search for the first win of the 2013-14 season as they travel to Tennessee Tech on Sunday afternoon. The Golden Eagles are 1-2 this season and they haven't played a game closer than 45 points in either direction.