GREEN BAY, Wis. | Tabitha Gerardot did all she could to extend her team’s season.
However, it wasn’t enough against one of the top teams in the nation.
Gerardot registered her 12th double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Valparaiso women’s basketball team, but Green Bay’s run-and-gun offense was the difference as the No. 20 Phoenix scored a 80-59 victory on Wednesday night at the Kress Center.
“I really am so proud of our team,” Valparaiso coach Tracey Dorow said. “I thought we played our butts off for the seniors. I thought we just played hard the whole time, but they just played better. Green Bay, they did a great job moving the ball; they got the ball to their scorers, and their scorers knocked down shots.”
The Crusaders, now 4-28 in the all-time series with Green Bay, finished the season 2-15 on the road.
The Phoenix (27-2), who extended their winning streak to 22 games, beat Valparaiso by an average of 32.5 points in two regular-season meetings, most recently 80-38 in Green Bay on Feb. 23.
“You can look at our turnovers, and that tells a lot of the story, although tonight I didn’t think it was that bad, because we put ourselves in positions where we were making some plays,” said Dorow, whose team shot 33 percent from the field. “I know 19 turnovers is a lot, but the way we were playing and the way they play defense, that’s not surprising.”
Valparaiso (11-20) hung with Green Bay for the first half but missed its first five shots from the field and trailed 9-0. However, Gerardot kept Valparaiso in the game. She scored eight points to pull the Crusaders within four, 15-11. Green Bay led 23-16 and bumped its cushion by going on a 14-4 run to make it 37-22 at halftime.
In the second half, Valparaiso cut its deficit to 11 points, 45-34, at the 14:08 mark, but couldn’t get any closer. Green Bay, which shot 48 percent for the game, used a 10-4 run to go up by 21 points, 68-47, late in the game.
Adrian Ritchie, who hit seven 3-pointers, scored a game-high 27 points for the Phoenix, while Charae Richardson added nine points for Valparaiso.