The Valparaiso women’s basketball team certainly has figured out how to win in the Horizon League tournament.
Valparaiso got a dominant performance from Liz Horton as the No. 9 Crusaders won their third straight tournament opener with a 76-69 victory over No. 8 Detroit on Monday night.
Horton scored a career-high 25 points and added five rebounds, while Jessica Carr added 14 points and five assists.
“Liz came to play tonight,” Valparaiso coach Tracey Dorow said. “She competed extremely hard. She just did a really good job of wanting the ball and continued to work hard.”
Horton scored the last two baskets to cap off a 16-5 run the Crusaders used to blow open the game just before halftime. Much like their last meeting at Calihan Hall, the Titans battled back to put pressure on Valparaiso, but Dorow’s team never folded in the second half.
Carr hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second half to answer Detroit’s run and then Horton scored six straight points to regain a double-figures lead. Charae Richardson had 11 points and eight rebounds while Lexi Miller added 10 points.
“I felt like we did a great job of moving the ball,” Dorow said. “We weren’t forcing shots and we did a good job of making the extra pass.”
The Crusaders (6-24) will continue their whirlwind tour of the Midwest on Wednesday night when they take on regular-season champion Green Bay at the Kress Events Center. Valparaiso left town on Friday for a game in Dayton the next day and then immediately drove to Detroit following Saturday’s loss to Wright State. Now the Crusaders get another crack at the Phoenix, the team that has ended Valparaiso’s season each of the last two years.
“This is what we play for,” Dorow said. “We competed with (Green Bay) for a half at their place and at home we did a great job and had a chance to win. We need to prepare. This is a tough turnaround for us, but we’re not ready for this to end.”