VALPARAISO | Tabitha Gerardot shined in regulation for the Valparaiso women’s basketball team, but Kim Demmings took over in overtime to lead Wright State past the Crusaders.
Demmings scored 11 of her 27 points in the extra session to give the Raiders an 83-78 victory after Gerardot buried a 3-pointer with 8.1 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
Gerardot equaled her career-high with 33 points and the junior added 18 rebounds.
“I don’t feel like we were as crisp in overtime as we were in regulation,” VU coach Tracey Dorow said. “We had some untimely turnovers and we didn’t knock down a couple of shots.”
The game marked the second straight home contest where the Crusaders rallied from a double-digit deficit, only to fall short in the final moments. Valparaiso trailed by 19 points in the second half against Milwaukee last Thursday before falling by four points in the closing moments. Valparaiso also lost on the final possession in a 67-66 loss at Wright State earlier this season.
“We know that we can play with anybody,” Valparaiso senior Laura Richards said. “This will give us a little more fire as we prepare for the postseason.”
The Crusaders whittled a 13-point deficit down to one point at halftime behind nine first-half points from Gina Lange. Gerardot then scored the first seven points of the second half to give Valparaiso a 38-32 lead with 17:52 remaining. Wright State responded with a 17-4 run over the next four minutes to take control of the game.
Valparaiso held the Raiders without a field goal for the final six and half minutes of regulation while the Crusaders went on a 11-1 run that culminated with Gerardot’s 3-pointer. Wright State’s Breanna Stucke missed a shot at the rim just before time expired.
Demmings took over in the extra session, scoring Wright State’s first nine points of overtime and hitting a 3-pointer with 3:01 left that gave the Raiders the lead for good. The sophomore added seven rebounds and five assists.
Lange had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Crusaders (9-17, 4-9) while Charae Richardson added six points, four rebounds and eight assists.
The extra session overshadowed Keith Freeman’s return to the Athletics-Recreation Center. The former longtime Valparaiso coach now serves as a Wright State assistant coach.
“I thought that everyone handled the situation with class,” Gerardot said. “That includes our coaching staff and (Freeman). It was nice to see him again.”