MOLINE, Ill. — Two-time Player of the Year Becca Hittner scored 18 points and No. 21 Drake used a game-breaking run in the first quarter on Friday to roll to an 86-58 win over ninth-seeded Valparaiso in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament quarterfinals.
Maddy Dean added 16 points, Sara Rhine 14 and Monica Burich 10 for the Bulldogs (26-5), who have won 11 straight. The three-time defending league champion and two-time defending tournament winner faces fourth-seeded Illinois State in Saturday's semifinals.
Dean's 3-pointer broke a 2-2 tie and kicked off an 18-0 run with contributions from six different players. The lead was 21-5 after one quarter as the Crusaders (8-24) missed 11 straight shots after making their first one of the game. Their second make was their first shot of the second quarter.
VU senior Meredith Hamlet finished her collegiate career with six points against Drake.
The second quarter was pretty even but not until an 8-0 run had pushed the lead to 23.
Valpo outscored Drake 21-20 in the third quarter as Addison Stoller scored seven points and Hales had nine. The team hit four of its eight 3-point tries in that period.
Stoller had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Valparaiso. She rounded out the season with the fourth double-double of her career as she racked up 15 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Stoller finished as the team’s leading scorer (12.8 ppg) and rebounder (6.6 rpg).
Grace Hales had 15 but she and Stoller combined to shoot 7 of 25.
The Crusaders shot 28 percent for the games while Drake was at 52 percent.