Valparaiso went on two lengthy runs to overcome a 15-point deficit and defeated the Youngstown State women’s basketball team 67-59 on Saturday in the Horizon League opener for both schools.
The Penguins led 32-17 and had held Valpo junior forward Tabitha Gerardot to three points through 16 minutes.
The teams traded buckets in the next minute, and the Crusaders proceeded to score the final 12 points of the first half and 15 straight overall.
Valpo also scored 11 consecutive points in the second half when YSU led 48-43, with Gerardot scoring the first nine during that run. YSU did not lead again.
Gerardot finished with 26 points, 23 of which came in the final 26 minutes, and a game-high 17 rebounds. She helped the Crusaders out-rebound the Penguins 46-22.
Brandi Brown led YSU with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Shar’Rae Davis scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half. She added six assists and had just one turnover in her first Horizon League contest.
Liz Hornberger scored 12 points, and Heidi Schlegel added 10. Brown moved into third place on YSU’s career scoring list with her 16 points, passing Danielle Carson.
Gerardot was 9-of-13 from the field, and fellow starting post Gina Lange was 7-of-9. They combined for 41 points and 23 rebounds for Valpo, which improved to 6-8.
YSU dropped to 10-4 and saw its three-game winning streak stopped. Valparaiso shot 52.3 percent and outscored YSU by 15 at the free-throw line. That helped offset YSU’s plus-13 mark in turnovers.
YSU shot 33 percent and was 11-for-37 from 3-point range after making three of its first four attempts from distance.
The Penguins also made three of their last five attempts, but they were 5-for-28 in between.
Youngstown State will play its first home Horizon League contest on Thursday against Milwaukee. Tipoff is set for 7:05 p.m.