Women’s basketball team loses 3rd-straight game

Mark Shanahan, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Eastern women’s basketball team fell behind early and could not complete a late comeback in the 73-68 loss to Valparaiso on Saturday afternoon.

That is now three straight losses for Eastern as they fall to 4-5 on the season while Valparaiso improves to 4-3. The Panthers found themselves down 17-5 after the first quarter but used a 27-point fourth quarter to get back into the game. Eastern shot just 15 percent in the first quarter.

The Panthers jumped out to a 5-2 lead to begin the game, but Valparaiso went on a 15-0 run for the rest of the first quarter. Eastern came back strong in the second quarter with a 17-0 run to retake the lead 22-20 with under five minutes remaining in the first half. The Crusaders would go on a 12-4 run to take a 32-26 lead at the half.

Eastern came within six points in the third quarter, but the offense went cold for the majority of the quarter as they were outscored 27-15 in the third.

The Panthers used defensive pressure in the fourth quarter to mount the comeback, but it was not enough.

Eastern had four players reach double digit scoring on Saturday. Freshman Allison Van Dyke led all Eastern scorers with 14 points while adding five rebounds. Junior guard Grace Lennox finished with 12 points and six assists. Lennox played all but two minutes in the game.

Freshman Zharia Lenoir scored a career-high 11 points with eight points in the 27-point fourth quarter for the Panthers.

Lenoir, Lennox and Van Dyke each made two 3-pointers, and Eastern finished 47.1 percent from beyond the arc. Eastern finished shooting 43.1 percent from the field.

Valparaiso outrebounded the Panthers 35-23 with 23 defensive rebounds. Caitlin Morrison was the leading rebounder for Valparaiso with eight while scoring nine points.

The leading scorer in the game was Valparaiso’s Dani Franklin, who finished with 33 points and three blocks.

The Crusaders shot 48.1 percent from the field and 41.2 from beyond the arc. They made their free throws count going 16-18 on Saturday. Franklin took the majority of the shots for Valparaiso going 12-20 from the field and 3-4 from beyond the arc. Of the Crusaders 73 points, 37 came down low in the paint.

Both teams took advantage of turnovers with 19 points each off of turnovers. Eastern had 18 turnovers while Valparaiso had 20.

Eastern returns home to face Cleveland State on Wednesday at Lantz Arena.

Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]