Updated: February 14, 2013 7:02AM
VALPARAISO — The Valparaiso women hadn’t forgotten where they were projected to finish in the Horizon League standings this season.
“We were picked to finish last. I think we’re all out here to prove them wrong,” Gina Lange said.
Head coach Tracey Dorow added: “Of course, that was something I reminded them of this week.”
VU opened conference play on Saturday with a come-from-behind 67-59 win over Youngstown State.
The win moved VU’s (6-8, 1-0 Horizon) home record to 5-1 and snapped a four-game losing streak to Youngstown State (10-4, 0-1 Horizon).
Trailing 34-19 in the first half, VU took off on a 21-2 run to move ahead 40-36 early in the second half. Smooth passing from guards Laura Richards, Jessica Carr and Charae Richardson that frequently found forwards Lange (15 points) and Tabitha Gerardot (26 points) wide open under the basket keyed the rally.
“They were pressuring us more than than other teams have, but I felt like we handled it well,” said Carr, who had five points and four assists.
“It was so easy for me; they did all the work,” Gerardot joked. “It was tough at first because (Youngstown State) was jumping on everything, but they did a great job of getting the ball into the lane.”
Youngstown State did take a 48-43 lead in the middle of the second half, but VU quickly came back with an 11-0 run and never trailed again.
Another key component in the VU victory was a huge 46-22 advantage on rebounds. Containing Penguins forward Brandi Brown, who ranked top 20 in the NCAA in scoring and rebounds, helped that cause.
“Gina did a real good job of holding back Brown with her physical game,” said Gerardot, who tied a career-high with 17 rebounds. “She made it a lot easier for me to come through and pull down rebounds.”