Hot-Shooting Crusaders Top Milwaukee, 84-72
Jan. 24, 2013
MILWAUKEE - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team cut a 27-point second-half deficit to as few as 11 but could get no closer, falling to Valparaiso University by a score of 84-72 Thursday night at the Klotsche Center.
The Panthers (5-11, 1-3 Horizon League) trailed, 56-29, just minutes into the second half and actually outscored the Crusaders (7-10, 2-2 Horizon League) by a 43-28 margin the rest of the way. But, UWM could not overcome a 27-5 run that covered the end of the first half and the start of the second in falling.
"I wish we would have come out with that same enthusiasm and fire at the start of the second half," Milwaukee head coach Kyle Rechlicz said. "We told them we had to play aggressive and look to score. We started to do that at the end."
Sophomore Ashley Green led the Panthers with 21 points. Senior Sami Tucker, who was honored pregame for her inclusion in the 1,000-point club, finished with 16 points and junior Angela Rodriguez added 15 points, all coming in the second half.
Green grabbed six rebounds and went 8-for-8 from the free throw line, scoring the 500th point of her career in the process to become the 33rd player in school history to accomplish the feat.
"We have to get it done on defense - we can't give up 80 points and expect to win a ballgame," Rechlicz said. "With that being said, we have a lot of work to do before our next game next Thursday."
The Crusaders had two players post career-highs with Tabitha Gerardot recording a double-double of 33 points and 10 rebounds and Shaquira Scott adding 22 of her own.
"On any given night, some people can be hot," Rechlicz said. "We really tried to double-team their best player but she had a career night on us and had a great game. We also fouled too much and put them on the free throw line and gave up a lot of `and-one' baskets. We didn't accomplish a lot of what we were looking to do tonight."
After Valpo scored the first nine points of the second half, the Panthers never gave up and kept digging into the deficit. A 16-4 run was key, with Green's three-pointer at the 11:42 mark cutting the lead to 15 at 60-45.
Down, 71-51, Milwaukee would score seven in a row and junior Emily Decorah's three had it down to 13 at 71-58 with just over five minutes to play. Valpo would fend off the comeback, however, building its advantage back to 17 before the Panthers would score nine of the final 10 points of the night.
Milwaukee led early on three 3's at 9-5, but the Crusaders scored 11 straight points to go from down four to up seven at 16-9 and never trailed again. UWM was then back within five at 29-24 on a jumper by Decorah at the 5:47 mark. But, Valpo answered that with 12 in a row as part of an 18-5 run that ended the first half.
Valparaiso shot well all night, finishing the game at 50.9 percent (29-for-57) from the field while adding 22 free throws on 26 attempts. It also out-rebounded UWM, 40-to-34, and scored 42 points in the paint.
Up next, the Panthers do have a week off, continuing the three-game homestand when they host Loyola next Thursday, set for a 7 p.m. tip.