Game #18: Saturday, January 20, 4 p.m. CST
Valpo (9-8, 3-1 Mid-Con) at Western Illinois (6-11, 3-1 Mid-Con)
Western Hall (5,139) - Macomb, Ill.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: The top two teams in the Mid-Continent Conference and longtime rivals take to the court on Saturday afternoon as Valparaiso travels to Macomb, Ill. to battle the Westerwinds of Western Illinois. This is the beginning of a four-game road trip for the Crusaders. Both Valpo and Western Illinois are tied a top the league standings with 3-1 marks in conference play.
On the Air: Saturday's game against Western Illinois will be carried live by WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. The student-run radio station plans on carrying all Crusader women's basketball games this season live both over the air and online. Eric Brooks and Josh Weinhold will call all the action live from Western Hall.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Western Illinois are meeting for the 33rd time on the hardcourt, with the Crusaders holding a slim 17-15 advantage all-time between the two schools. Valpo has faced the Westerwinds more times than any other school except for Chicago State (40) in women's basketball. Western Illinois holds a 10-5 series edge in Macomb, winning the last four contests, two of which went to overtime. Last year, the Westerwinds defeated Valpo 61-57 in Macomb, 53-42 at the ARC, and 57-40 at the Mid-Con Tournament semifinals in Tulsa, Okla.
Wrapping Up Oakland: The Golden Grizzlies used a 14-0 run over the end of the first half and early in the second half to build a 15-point advantage and hung on to defeat the Crusaders 63-57 on Monday night at the ARC. Tamra Braun led Valpo with 12 points while Carrie Myers added 11 more. Krystal Taylor and Aimee Litka each had eight points and seven boards. The Brown and Gold shot just 22.7% from three-point range, well below their season average. Jessica Pike led Oakland with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Scouting Western Illinois: The Westerwinds have won three of their last four to open Mid-Continent Conference play following a 61-48 victory at home over IUPUI on Monday night. Western Illinois is 3-3 at Western Hall this season. Stephanie Lovingood leads the way offensively on a balanced team, averaging 10.1 points per game. A 47.2% shooter from the floor, she also is grabbing a team-best 7.2 rebounds per night. Amanda Walker adds 9.4 points per night and is shooting 83.0% from the free throw line.
Braun On Verge of 1,000 Points: Tamra Braun needs just 20 points to become the 12th Crusader in the program's history to reach the 1,000-point mark for her career. She will join teammate Betsy Rietema as members of the club, as Rietema surpassed the 1,000-point total earlier this year. When Braun reaches the plateau, it will mark the first time since 2002 (Amber Schober and Marlous Nieuwveen) that Crusader teammates reached 1,000 points in the same season.
Taylor Has Career Game Against Oakland: Krystal Taylor made the most of her 14 minutes of action against the Golden Grizzlies. She tied her career high with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting from the floor. Taylor also grabbed a career-best seven rebounds, including three on the offensive end.
Valpo Makes Free Throws of Late: Over the last three games, the Crusaders are 84.1% (37-of-44) from the charity stripe. On Monday against Oakland, Valpo was a perfect 10-for-10 from the line.
Hochstetler Steps Up in Mid-Con Play: Since Mid-Continent Conference play began, Launa Hochstetler has stepped up for Valpo offensively, averaging 9.0 points per game (her season average is 4.5 ppg). She has shot 90.9% (10-of-11) from the free throw line and added two assists per night during the stretch.
Braun Leads Mid-Con in Shooting: Tamra Braun leads the Mid-Con shooting 60.3% from the floor on the year.
Myers Continues to Drain Three-Pointers: Carrie Myers had made at least one three-point field goal in all 17 games thus far this season. In fact, the senior guard has made two or more triples in 14 games, highlighted by five triples against both Bradley and Indiana State. Myers leads the Mid-Con with 2.9 threes made per game.
Braun Now Third All-Time in Rebounding After Reaching 700 Boards: Tamra Braun has moved into third place on the Crusaders' career rebounding charts with 740 boards during her four-year career. The senior center is 26 boards behind Jeanette Gray (1999-2003) for second place all-time. Sarrah Stricklett (1996-2000) holds the school mark with 772 rebounds, 32 more than Braun's current total.
Braun Sets Valpo's Career Block Record: Tamra Braun rejected three Centenary shots on January 8, moving past Michelle Mader (1988-1992) to become the school's blocked shot leader. She currently has 171 career blocks, while Mader finished her career with 166. Braun has 28 blocks on the year thus far, and ranks among Valpo's single season leaders in each of her first three seasons with the Brown and Gold.
Home Sweet Home: Valparaiso continues to have success at home in recent years. The Brown and Gold has a 180-101 (.641) record all-time at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Since the 2001-2002 season, Valpo has posted a 58-16 (.784) mark at the ARC.
Myers Among Top Outside Shooters in the Country: Senior guard Carrie Myers currently ranks 9th in all of NCAA Division I in three-point field goals per game. Her 2.9 makes per contest lead the Mid-Continent Conference as well. In addition, her 44.1% accuracy beyond the arc ranks 17th best in the country through January 15.
Among the Nation's Best: Valpo ranks among the top-25 in the country in three statistical categories as a team. The Crusaders are 23rd in three-point field goals per game, making 6.6 per night. In addition, Valpo's 38.3% shooting from beyond the arc ranks 17th in NCAA Division I through January 15. Finally, Valpo has committed just 14.2 fouls per game, 10th fewest among all schools.
Crusaders Against the Mid-Con: As the Brown and Gold plays in its final season of Mid-Con competition, Valpo has posted a 146-81 (.643) record all-time in conference play. The 146 victories are a conference record, and Valpo is assured of leaving the league with the most wins ever in the Mid-Con. The Crusaders have won a pair of conference regular season crowns while finishing runner-up four times.
Triple Double for Rietema: Betsy Rietema turned in a rare triple-double for the Crusaders in the loss to Indiana State. The senior forward scored 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out a career-best 10 assists. In addition, she committed just one turnover on the day.
Bombs Away from Three: Valpo's assault from three-point range against Bradley was nearly one for the record books. The 14 made triples tie for the third most by any Crusader team in a game all-time. The school record is 17, set against Central Michigan on December 8, 2004. Valpo made 15 threes last year against UMKC. The 14 triples are tied for third most among any team in the country this season.
Rietema Player of the Week: Betsy Rietema was named the Mid-Con's Player of the Week on December 5 after averaging 15.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 2.7 steals for Valpo during a five-day stretch. She had 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds against Bradley and added 12 points and eight boards at Loyola (Chicago). She posted a triple-double, 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, against Indiana State.
Rietema Becomes 11th Member of Valpo's 1,000 Point Club: Betsy Rietema became the 11th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark in her career with her jumper at the 9:32 mark of the first half against Saint Francis (Ind.).
Rietema Up to 8th in School History in Scoring: Betsy Rietema has moved into eighth place all-time in school history in scoring. The senior forward has tallied 1,084 points, passing Lynda Kukla's (1988-1992) total of 1,081 points. Rietema is 111 points shy of Aimee Forsman (1988-1992) for seventh place all-time.
Braun Among Top-15 in Scoring Also: Senior Tamra Braun has also moved into the top-15 on Valpo's career scoring list. The Valpo center currently has scored 980 points over her career passing Cheryl Wilbrandt (1989-1993) for 13th place all-time. She now needs 12 more points to match Shari Toelke (1990-1994) for 12th place all-time.
Rietema Finds the Rebounding Charts: Betsy Rietema has moved into 15th place on Valparaiso's career rebounding list. The senior forward has brought down 489 rebounds to date. With six more boards she will match Denise Dunbar (1982-1986) for 14th spot all-time in a Crusader uniform.
Braun Among Mid-Con Best in Blocks: Tamra Braun's 171 career blocks are sixth best in Mid-Continent Conference history. Kim Wood (UW-Green Bay, 1992-1994) is fifth with 191 blocks.
Dishing the Rock: Betsy Rietema has also cracked the top-20 all-time at Valparaiso in assists. The senior has moved into 17th place with her 199 career helpers, passing Sheila Kalas' (1982-1985) mark of 197. She needs three more assists to equal Amy Cole's (1987-1991) and Heidi Diefenthaler's (1992-1996) total of 202 and move into the top-15 all-time.
Myers Deadly from Long Range: Carrie Myers enters play in third place on the career three-point list with 179 triples. Myers trails Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) by 57 threes for second all-time.
Rietema Likes Freebies: Betsy Rietema's 293 career free throws are third most in school history. She is more than 200 behind second place Sarrah Stricklett's (1996-2000) total of 494.
Braun and Rietema Rank 9th and 10th in Scoring from the Floor: Tamra Braun's 396 career field goals rank ninth in Valparaiso history. She is now 20 baskets behind Carrie Forsman (1992-1996). Betsy Rietema has also broke the top-10 with her 384 field goals, 12 behind Braun.
Freeman Winningest Coach in Mid-Con History: Head coach Keith Freeman's 218 victories are not only most in Valpo history, but also rank tops in Mid-Continent Conference history for career wins.
Freeman Adds Five Hoosiers for 2007-2008: Keith Freeman has signed five Indiana prep players to National Letters of Intent for the 2007-2008 season. Joining the Crusader roster next year are forward LaTice Jones (Gary, Ind./Roosevelt H.S.), guard Rashida Ray (Fort Wayne, Ind./Harding H.S.), guard Stephanie Thomas (Avon, Ind./Avon H.S.), Jasmine Ussery (Newburg, Ind./Castle H.S.), and Ashley Varner (South Bend, Ind./Washington H.S.).