VALPARAISO | Thursday’s performance was not what Tracey Dorow had in mind for Valparaiso’s lone regular-season appearance at the Athletics-Recreation Center this month.
The Crusaders gave up 56 bench points to IUPUI and shot just 28.3 percent in an 84-51 loss to their former Mid-Continent Conference rivals.
“When you put on a Valpo uniform, you need to go out and represent,” Dorow said. “If we don’t do that, then no one is going to want to come out and watch us play.”
Dorow had plenty of excuses that she could’ve fallen back on to describe the loss: injuries leading to lack of depth, IUPUI’s deep bench and a brutal early-season schedule. The second-year Valparaiso coach wouldn’t take the bait on any of them.
“Give IUPUI credit. They played harder, played smarter and more together,” Dorow said. “We have to do a better job, and that’s why we don’t have any players in (the postgame news conference) right now. They’re in (the locker room) figuring out a way to grow up and be the basketball players they came to Valparaiso University to be.”
The Jaguars took control of the game with a 15-5 run that gave them a 25-13 lead midway through the first half, and IUPUI never looked back. Valparaiso’s deficit was 20 points at the break, and the Crusaders (0-4) never got any closer the rest of the way.
“Our shot selection was terrible, and, conversely, their shot selection was tremendous,” Dorow said.
The Crusaders were limited to just seven scholarship players heading into the game and even added a member of the track team to the roster last week for some depth. Five Valparaiso players registered at least 27 minutes, while the Jaguars didn’t have anyone play more than 25 minutes.
“Were we tired?” Dorow said. “Sure, but so is every other team in the country. We need to stop making excuses and play better. IUPUI played with a lot more confidence. We need to do a better job of processing information from the scouting report and transferring onto the court.”
Sharon Karungi led the Crusaders with 12 points and five rebounds, while Jessi Wiedemann added 10 points and three assists. Akilah Sims led the Jaguars with 16 points and was one of three players to score in double figures in a reserve role.
The Crusaders will be away from the ARC for the next five games and won’t return home until Dec. 13 against Butler.
“I think it’s going to be easier to work it out on the road,” Dorow said of the team’s struggles. “We’ll be on a break from classes, and we won’t have any distractions. Let’s go out there and prove ourselves without the fan support that we’re better than we’ve been showing.”