Game #29: Monday, February 26, 7:05 p.m. CST
Southern Utah (9-18, 5-8 Mid-Con) at Valpo (18-10, 10-3 Mid-Con)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso closes out the 2006-2007 regular season on Monday evening as the Crusaders host Southern Utah. A Crusader victory, coupled with an Oakland loss to Centenary that same evening, would give the Brown and Gold a share of the Mid-Continent Conference regular season title.
On the Air: Monday's game against Southern Utah 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. Ron Castor and Maggie Foley will call all the action live from the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Southern Utah are meeting for the 20th time in a series that dates back to January 8, 1998. The Crusaders hold a 13-6 lead all-time, including an 8-1 edge at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Thunderbirds ended Valpo's four-game winning streak in the series back on January 27 of this season with a 56-49 victory over the Crusaders. Aimee Litka led Valpo with 11 points off of the bench while Carrie Myers added nine points. Cash Connors led Southern Utah with 13 points while Anne Westwood had 10 more.
Wrapping Up UMKC: Valparaiso's defense held UMKC to 0-of-17 shooting from three-point range and made a 19-point halftime lead stand up on the way to a 66-48 Senior Day victory over the Kangaroos Saturday at the ARC. Valpo jumped in front early 22-8 and increased the lead to 34-15 at the break following Agnieszka Kulaga's 40-footer at the buzzer. The Kangaroos were never able to cut their deficit below 13 in the second half. Betsy Rietema and Kulaga led Valpo with 12 points with Rietema moving into fifth place on Valpo's career scoring list. Tamra Braun added 10 points for the Brown and Gold.
Scouting Southern Utah: The Thunderbirds head to the ARC to wrap up the regular season looking for their first victory on the road this year. Southern Utah has dropped five straight following a 46-34 defeat at Western Illinois on Saturday. Anne Westwood leads the Thunderbirds in scoring, averaging 9.8 points per game. Seven other players are averaging between 4.5 and 7.9 points per contest in their balanced offensive attack. Westwood is also the team's leading rebounder, grabbing 6.7 boards per contest. Heather Hillock is the team's top three-point shooter, making 50.0% from beyond the arc. Southern Utah can be anywhere from a fifth through a seventh seed in the tournament next week.
A Winning Tradition at Valpo: The Crusaders have already assured themselves their 16th winning season in the last 17 years. Valpo has also clinched a winning conference mark for the 14th time in the 15 years the Crusaders have been in the Mid-Con for women's basketball.
Crusaders to Enter Mid-Con Tournament as Second Seed/Have Shot at Regular Season Title: Valparaiso will enter next week's Mid-Con Tournament as the second seed and play on Saturday against the seventh seed. The Crusaders can still share a regular season conference title, but Oakland owns the tie-breaker for the top seed with Valpo. If the Oakland falls to Centenary and Valpo downs Southern Utah, the Crusaders would share their third regular season title in school history.
Rietema Moves Into Scoring's Top-Five: Senior Betsy Rietema passed Stephanie Greer (1987-1991) and moved into the top-five on Valparaiso's career scoring list with her 12 points against UMKC. Rietema has tallied 1,231 points over four years, averaging 10.9 points per game, sixth best average in school history. The senior needs 42 more points to match Amber Schober (1998-2002) for fourth place in school history.
Valpo League's Top Free Throw Shooting Team: The Crusaders have moved into the league lead from the free throw line making 74.5% of their attempts on the season. Valpo has been even better in Mid-Con play, connecting on 81.0% from the charity stripe. In league play, the Crusaders have made more free throws (183) than their opponents have even attempted (173). Launa Hochstetler is the team's top shooter on the season, making 86.4% overall and 92.9% in league action.
Braun's Shooting Among Best Ever: Tamra Braun leads the Mid-Con shooting 57.9% from the floor this season. She is currently second on Valpo's single season chart in that category, trailing only Sarrah Stricklett's 60.0% shooting in 1997-1998. Braun's mark is also currently 10th best in Mid-Con history.
Valpo Registers 10th Best Free Throw Shooting Game Against UMKC: Valparaiso went 29-of-32 (90.9%) from the free throw line Saturday against the Kangaroos, the tenth best single game performance by a Crusader team in school history.
Four Seniors to Play Final Home Game: Krystal Taylor, Tamra Braun, Carrie Myers, and Betsy Rietema are all playing their final home against Southern Utah. The four were honored prior to Saturday's game with UMKC.
Playing Defense in the League: Valparaiso is allowing opponents to score just 54.1 points per game in Mid-Continent Conference action.
Myers Among Top Outside Shooters in the Country: Senior guard Carrie Myers currently ranks 10th in all of NCAA Division I in three-point field goals per game. Her 2.7 makes per contest lead the Mid-Continent Conference as well. In addition, her 42.5% accuracy beyond the arc ranks 10th best in the country through February 22.
Valpo Among the Nation's Best: Valpo ranks among the top-25 in the country in three statistical categories as a team. The Crusaders are 19th in three-point field goals per game, making 6.7 per night. In addition, Valpo's 37.7% shooting from beyond the arc ranks 12th in NCAA Division I through February 22. Finally, Valpo has committed just 14.3 fouls per game, 15th fewest among all schools.
On Pace For Record-Setting Year from Outside: Valparaiso is currently on pace to equal or better the team's single season three-point percentage record. The Crusaders are currently shooting 37.1% from beyond the arc, matching the mark set by the 1997-1998 squad.
Crusaders Against the Mid-Con: As the Brown and Gold wraps up its final season of Mid-Con competition, Valpo has posted a 154-83 (.650) record all-time in conference play. The 154 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.
Home Sweet Home: Valparaiso continues to have success at home in recent years. The Brown and Gold has a 185-101 (.647) record all-time at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Since the 2001-2002 season, Valpo has posted a 63-16 (.797) mark at the ARC.
Rietema and Myers Earn Academic All-District Honors: Betsy Rietema and Carrie Myers have each been named to ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-District V Teams. Rietema was named to the First Team for the second straight season while Myers was a Second Team pick as voted upon by members of CoSIDA.
Freeman Winningest Coach in Mid-Con History: Head coach Keith Freeman's 227 victories are not only most in Valpo history, but also rank tops in Mid-Continent Conference history for career wins. Freeman has also coached more games, 378, than any other league coach and ranks fourth in league history with a .601 winning percentage.
Freeman Earns Career Victory #350: Head coach Keith Freeman's victory over UMKC on January 29 was the 350th of his career on the sidelines.
Myers Deadly from Long Range: Carrie Myers enters play in third place on the career three-point list with 205 triples. Myers trails Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) by 31 threes for second all-time.
Myers Among Best Triple Shooters in Mid-Con History: Carrie Myers' 205 career three-pointers ranks as the seventh most makes in Mid-Continent Conference laurels. The senior needs 11 more threes to match Kristin (Brady) Atkinson (Oral Roberts, 1998-2003) for sixth place in league history.
Myers Among Single Season Best Three-Point Shooters: Carrie Myers has made 75 triples this season, ranking fourth on Valpo's single season list for most makes. Myers also holds third place on the single season charts after making 76 threes last season. Lynda Kukla holds the single season record with 101 treys in the 1991-1992 campaign, while Kukla's 1990-1991 total of 91 ranks second all-time for a season.
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 seventh most in a game by any team in the country this season.
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 185 career blocks, while Mader finished her career with 166. Braun ranks among Valpo's single season leaders in each of her four seasons with the Brown and Gold. This year she is sixth on the single season charts with 42 swats.
Braun Among Mid-Con Best in Blocks: Tamra Braun's 185 career blocks are sixth best in Mid-Continent Conference history. Kim Wood (UW-Green Bay, 1992-1994) is fifth with 191 blocks.
A Record Setting Night from the Stripe: When the Crusaders made all 10 free throws against Oakland on January 15, Valpo set a new single game record for free throw percentage (minimum 10 attempts). The previous best free throw shooting night in school history was 94.4% (17-of-18) against Evansville on February 13, 1988.
Rietema Perfect from the Line at IUPUI: Betsy Rietema was a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe at IUPUI, becoming just the fifth player in Crusader history to register a perfect night with a minimum of 10 attempts. Lisa Diefenthaler made 12-of-12 against Western Illinois back in 1994 while Debbie Bolen was 11-for-11 against UW-Green Bay in 1991. Amber Schober ( 1998) and Katie Boone (2002) both went 10-for-10 as well while wearing a Crusader uniform.
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.
Dishing the Rock: Betsy Rietema has also cracked the top-15 all-time at Valparaiso in assists. The senior has moved into 14th place with her 219 career helpers, passing Lynda Kukla's (1988-1992) total of 208. She needs five more to equal Stephanie Greer (1987-1991) for 13th place.
Rietema Player of the Week on December 5: 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 and Braun Become 11th and 12th Members 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 midway through the first half against Saint Francis (Ind.). Teammate Tamra Braun equalled the feat with a free throw midway through the second half at IPFW. The duo is the first to reach the mark in the same season since Amber Schober and Marlous Nieuwveen both did it during the 2001-2002 season.
Braun Moves into 11th in Scoring at Valpo: Senior Tamra Braun has also moved near the top-10 on Valpo's career scoring list. The Valpo center currently has scored 1,069 points over her career passing Carrie Forsman (1992-1996) for 11th place all-time. She needs eight more points to match Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) for 10th place all-time.
Braun Sets School Rebounding Record, Among Mid-Con's Best All-Time: Tamra Braun set a new Valpo career rebounding record with her 773rd career board at UMKC. The senior, who now has 845 rebounds, has now shattered Sarrah Stricklett's (1996-2000) old record total of 772. Braun's current total ranks seventh in Mid-Continent Conference history, moving past Heather Farquharson (Northeastern Illinois, 1994-1998) on that list. Next up on the Mid-Con list for Braun is Sarah Judd (1998-2002) who grabbed 854 for her career.
Rietema Finds the Rebounding Charts: Betsy Rietema has moved into 12th place on Valparaiso's career rebounding list. The senior forward has brought down 569 rebounds to date. With two more boards she will match Deb Lahti (1981-1984) and Carrie Forsman (1992-1996) for 10th all-time in a Crusader uniform.
Braun and Rietema Played Lots of Games: Tamra Braun has moved into a tie with Carie Wickham (1996-2001) and Marlous Nieuwveen (1998-200) for fifth place on Valpo's all-time games played list with 117 appearances. She needs to play in three more games to tie Amber Schober (1998-2002) and Lauren Bechtold (2002-2006) for third place all-time. Betsy Rietema's next game will be appearance number 114, tying her for tenth place on Valpo's all-time list.
Rietema Likes Freebies: Betsy Rietema's 332 career free throws are third most in school history. She is 162 behind second place Sarrah Stricklett's (1996-2000) total of 494.
Indiana Governor Watches Valpo Down IUPUI: Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was on hand in Indianapolis, Ind. February 12 to watch the Crusaders down IUPUI in a battle of instate foes. Governor Daniels then made a brief appearance in the Valpo locker room following the victory.
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.).
Mid-Con Championship to be Shown Live on ESPNU: The 2007 Mid-Continent Conference Women's Basketball Tournament's championship game will be carried live nationally on ESPNU for the second straight season. Tip-off is set for 12:30 p.m. on March 6 from John Q. Hammonds Arena in Tulsa, Okla.