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Valpo halts slide, frustrates IPFW

– It was not the kind of warmup for Purdue that the IPFW women’s basketball team wanted.

With a meeting against the 14th-ranked Boilermakers scheduled Thursday at the Gates Center, IPFW had hoped to sharpen its edge on another in-state rival. But instead of going into the Purdue game with momentum and a two-game winning streak, Mastodons coach Chris Paul has concerns after his team’s 82-73 loss to Valparaiso on Tuesday.

“Whenever you play the 14th-ranked team in the country, I’m concerned, no matter what,” Paul said.

Valparaiso (3-5) ended a five-game losing streak at the expense of the Mastodons (3-4), who couldn’t contain the Crusaders’ inside game led by Canterbury graduate Tabitha Gerardot, who scored 17 points on 8-of-16 shooting.

IPFW tried to answer with junior Amanda Hyde, who scored 25.

It was Valpo’s inside that offset IPFW’s outside. The Crusaders outscored IPFW in the paint 36-20, while IPFW outscored Valparaiso from behind the three-point line 33-12.

And to underscore its inside dominance, Valparaiso outrebounded IPFW 32-22, including 13 offensive.

“Coming into this game, we outrebounded teams,” Paul said. “We did a really, really good job. Something happened (Tuesday). We missed assignments, we didn’t put bodies on people, and they just killed us on the glass. This is the worst we’ve been outrebounded all year.”

Leading 58-54, Valparaiso asserted itself with a 10-0 run over a 2 1/2 -minute stretch, and everything came inside. By the time Hyde stopped the bleeding with a pair of free throws with 5:13 left, the Crusaders were up 68-56.

“I don’t think it was anything they brought to the table,” Hyde said. “I just think they wanted it more than what we did.”

And now comes Purdue.

“We’ll make some changes, and we will play really, really, really hard in about 48 hours, I can promise you that,” Paul said.

stwarden@jg.net

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