Sweet home Chicago for LaVonte Dority as Valparaiso cruises past UIC
By Mike Hutton 613-0141 or email@example.com Twitter@MikeHuttonPT February 1, 2014 9:10PM
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MILKWAUKEE — Avyanna Young shot 15-of-19 from the floor and scored 36 points as Milwaukee took an 85-80 win Saturday at the Klotsche Center. The sophomore added 10 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the season.
Valparaiso had five players in double figures, including Abby Dean’s fourth straight double-digit output with 13. Jessi Wiedemann registered 14 points as did Charae Richardson. Senior Liz Horton poured in 15 on 6-of-8 shooting. Jessica Carr had 11.
Updated: March 3, 2014 6:01PM
CHICAGO — Bryce Drew called for “fist” on the last play of the first half. Valparaiso University had the ball for one final possession.
It’s unclear exactly what that play is but it doesn’t matter now.
What Drew should’ve said is, “Go, LaVonte.”
It was a rousing return home for the Crusaders senior. Dority, a graduate of Chicago Foreman, torched the Flames for a career-high 33 points in an 70-46 victory for the Crusaders on Saturday.
Dority’s old career high was 31 was against Mercer last year.
Dority did manage to make an NBA range 3-pointer before the halftime buzzer, but Drew admitted he had nothing to do with it.
“It’s better to have good players than good calls,” Drew said. “What I called wasn’t going to work. That was a tough shot. It was deep. He just made plays.”
Did he ever.
Dority is the horse that VU rides. He does everything. He guards the opponents’ best players. He passes. He scores. And he creates for his teammates.
Kelsey Barlow, the Flames’ leading scorer (19.2 ppg), was held to eight points on 3-of-12 shooting.
Guess who guarded him? That would be Dority.
Defense is a responsibility he takes even more seriously than offense.
“My first job is stop the best player,” Dority said. “I put my body on the line to stop him. I knew he was a great player. I just wanted to contest him.”
Defense aside, Dority was spectacular on offense. He didn’t over shoot. None of his shots were bad shots and he scored a variety of ways.
He finished 10-of-15 from the floor and he was 5-of-6 from 3-point range. The only missed 3-point shot spun out after rolling around the rim.
In the last two games, Dority has made 19-of-27 shots. He is 7-of-9 from 3-point range in that span.
Dority’s play has helped create a confident Crusaders team. They are now 6-3 in the Horizon League after beating first-place Green Bay by 15 at home earlier this week.
Drew said the shots Dority made weren’t all easy.
“He’s just playing at a high level now,” Drew said.
The shooting display wasn’t lost on UIC coach Howard Moore.
A reporter asked Moore if it was “kind of difficult” to stop Dority.
“It was kind of difficult, difficult, very difficult,” he said. “He is a helluva player. He played extremely aggressive and he made some tough shots.”
For Dority, who downplayed his performance, crediting his teammates for setting screens and getting the ball to him in good spots, playing at home is something he enjoys.
“It’s always great to play in front of your family and friends,” he said. “It was emotional. It was just great to get the win.”
The victory also had another milestone in it for VU. Vashil Fernandez tied a school record for blocked shots with seven. Fernandez said he had no idea he was on pace to tie the record.
“I was just out there playing,” he said.
Humes out: Valparaiso High School graduate Hayden Humes, who averages 6.9 points and 3.3 rebounds, missed his second game with an eye injury for UIC. Humes is expected to miss four to six weeks.