VALPARAISO| The gameplan was simple but effective for Valparaiso women’s basketball Monday.
The Crusaders attacked UIC’s post players from the tip-off in the opening round of the Horizon League tournament and scored 34 points in the paint as Valparaiso advanced to the quarterfinal with a 67-57 win at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Tabitha Gerardot had 25 points and 11 rebounds while Jessica Carr added a career-high 14 points.
Attacking the post resulted in UIC's all-league second team performer Katie Hannemann sitting most of the first half with foul trouble. The junior picked up her third foul late in the half and was a non-factor, finishing with just four points in 18 minutes. Conversely, the Crusaders stayed out of foul trouble, committing just two in the first 20 minutes.
Laura Richards missed all of Sunday’s practice with flu-like symptoms, but the Valparaiso senior was on the floor to end, knocking down nine consecutive free throws to ice the victory for the Crusaders (11-19). Richards finished with 12 points, six rebounds and five assists in her final game at the ARC.
Valparaiso received a scare late in the first half when sophomore guard Shaquira Scott went down with a left ankle injury. Scott’s injury meant increased minutes for Carr, and the sophomore delivered her best game in Valparaiso uniform.
Rachel Story led the Flames (9-21) with 17 points while Emily Kobel added 10 points off the bench.
The Crusaders won the 8/9 game for the second consecutive season and will again travel to league champion Green Bay on Wednesday. The Phoenix were undefeated in conference this season and are 26-2 overall.