VALPARAISO | Tabitha Gerardot delivered a career performance and the Valparaiso women's basketball team staged an amazing comeback on Saturday afternoon.
Gerardot notched career-bests with 28 points and 17 rebounds as the Crusaders rallied from a 19-point deficit to knock off Ball State 58-53 at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Valparaiso outrebounded the Cardinals 47-27, including 18 offensive boards. The Crusaders registered 20 second chance points.
"We don't win if we don't rebound today," Valparaiso coach Tracey Dorow said. "It came down to the fact that we got second-chance points and really took it to them on the glass."
Nathalie Fontaine hit a jumper with 5:08 remaining in the first half to give the Cardinals a 27-8 lead before the Crusaders finished the half on a 14-3 run.
Valparaiso fell behind by double figures early in the second half, but whittled away the deficit, finally tying the game on a Jessi Wiedemann 3-pointer with 8:19 left in the contest.
With the game tied at 44 with just under seven minutes remaining, Gerardot knocked down her second 3-pointer of the game to give the Crusaders a lead they would never surrender. Gerardot and Shaquira Scott combined to score the final 14 points of the game for Valparaiso, which improved to 3-1 at the ARC this season.
Scott finished with nine points while Charae Richardson added six points and eight rebounds. Fontaine led the Cardinals (3-10) with 14 points.
"I feel good about the things we have been working on," Dorow said. "I feel like we've been making progress this week and hopefully we can carry that over into next week's game."
The Crusaders (4-8) host Northern Illinois next Saturday at the ARC in their final non-conference contest of the season.