Indiana women's basketball fell on the road to open the 2012-13 season at Valparaiso on Friday night, 64-52. Senior Aulani Sinclair finished with a game-high 20 points to lead the Hoosiers.
Indiana fell behind 6-0 in the early going before Sasha Chaplin started the Hoosier scoring with a layup. Sinclair then followed with a jumper to cut the deficit to two with 14:03 on the clock.
Later in the half, Valpo led 23-15 before Brionna Arnold found Milika Taufa who hit a field goal to cut the lead to six. Arnold then nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing to make the lead just three points for the Crusaders. After a pair of Valpo free throws, Taufa connected on another layup before Jasmine McGhee connected on a field goal to cap a 9-2 Hoosier run as IU trailed by just one, 25-24, with 3:10 to go in the first half.
Valparaiso's Shaquira Scott hit a field goal to make it a 27-24 score with 2:46 on the clock. On a later IU possession, Simone Deloach collected an offensive board then quickly passed it to Sinclair who hit a layup while being fouled then went on to finish the three-point play with a free throw to tie the game for the first time, 27-27.
The two teams traded baskets before Valpo's Scott went coast-to-coast for a lay in with 17 seconds to play and the Crusaders led going into the locker room, 31-29.
Out of the locker room, the Crusaders extended its lead to six, 39-33, with 16:09 on the clock. IU's Linda Rubene cut into that deficit with a layup, followed by another Sinclair field goal to make it a 39-37 contest with 15:27 to go.
Valpo responded with an 8-0 spurt over the next 2:45 to lead 47-37 before Sinclair and Andrea Newbauer silenced that run with back-to-back layups to pull within six. Indiana closed within six points one more time later in the half, but the Crusaders extended its lead to as much as 13 and never looked back.
"One thing we talked about in changing the culture of the program is to try to have a program that doesn't get outworked night in and night out," head coach Curt Miller said. "This team has to find more competitiveness and tonight we just were outworked."
The Hoosiers forced 24 Valparaiso turnovers and collected 13 steals in the game. IU also had the edge in points in the paint, 26-18. The Crusaders had three players score in double-figures led by Scott's 17 points.
The Hoosiers will hit the court again on the road Monday at Murray State. That game will tip at 8 p.m. ET.