VALPARAISO | Hours after the Valparaiso women’s basketball team inducted one of its best point guards into the Hall of Fame, a freshman floor general delivered the best performance of her young career.
Lexi Miller had a career-high 13 points and three 3-pointers, including a half-court shot at the halftime buzzer that changed the complexion of the game in an 88-62 victory over UIC at the Athletics-Recreation Center on Saturday afternoon.
“I saw that Laura (Richards) wasn’t open so I took three dribbles and took the shot,” Miller said. “Everything happened in slow-motion.”
Miller’s 3-pointer sent the Crusaders (9-14, 4-6) into the locker room trailing the Flames 39-33, but Valparaiso came out on fire in the second half and rattled off a 14-0 run midway through the second half to take control of the game.
“Lexi’s shot gave us a big boost,” Valparaiso coach Tracey Dorow said. “It lightened the mood for us. We came out a totally different team.”
Miller entered the game with just two points in conference play and only entered the contest when Dorow subbed out five players midway through the first half when Valparaiso was trailing 11-7. Miller turned the ball over on her first possession and the Flames scored five more points before the freshman registered a steal and a 3-pointer to jump start her career day.
“When I go into the game I try to do what I’m supposed to do,” Miller said. “I need to be a point guard and get the offense moving. Us five had to bring some energy out there and play together.”
Tabitha Gerardot notched her eighth double-double of the season with 18 points and 14 rebounds while Gina Lange scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half. Laura Richards added eight points, nine rebounds and five assists. As much as the starters filled up the stat sheet, Saturday belonged to Miller.
“Just like any freshman, you have stuff to learn, but Lexi has been working hard,” Richards said. “She’s a great shooter. She’s just going to be a very good player for us.”
Taylor Foulks and Rachel Story led the Flames (7-16, 3-7) with 14 points each while Marissa Grossfeld added 12 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Former Valparaiso point guard Katie Boone was among five Hall of Fame inductees that were honored at halftime during Saturday’s game. Boone led the Crusaders to three postseason appearances, including two trips to the NCAA tournament.