Game #20: Saturday, January 27, 6 p.m. CST
Valpo (11-8, 4-1 Mid-Con) at Southern Utah (5-13, 2-3 Mid-Con)
The Centrum (5,300) - Cedar City, Utah
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso continues its cross country road trip on Saturday evening as the Crusaders return to Mid-Continent Conference action at Southern Utah looking to remain at the top of the Mid-Con standings. Valpo has won seven of its last eight contests overall and is getting set for game three of its current four game road swing after picking up wins in each of the first two games of the trip.
On the Air: Saturday'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. Andrew Hansen and Ron Castor will call all the action live from The Centrum.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Southern Utah are meeting for the 19th time in a series dating back to January 8, 1998. The Crusaders hold a 13-5 lead all-time, but have just a 5-4 edge in Cedar City. Last year, the Crusaders were 77-58 victors at the Athletics-Recreation Center while posting a 69-54 win at The Centrum. Valpo has won the last four meetings overall between the two schools. Southern Utah is one of only two current Mid-Con schools Valpo has never played in the conference tournament (Centenary being the other).
Wrapping Up IPFW: Betsy Rietema tied a season high with 23 points while grabbing eight rebounds and Tamra Braun became the 12th Crusader in school history to reach the 1,000 point mark for her career as Valpo recorded a 75-67 road victory over the Mastodons. Braun also recorded a career high 17 rebounds in the game. Valpo built a 20-point second half lead only to see IPFW cut the advantage to four late in the contest. Krystal Taylor scored a career high 11 points for the Crusaders while Sarah Ott added 10 for the Brown and Gold.
Scouting Southern Utah: The Thunderbirds enter the game having dropped two straight games on the road last weekend at IUPUI and Oakland. Southern Utah is still looking for its first road win of the year, but have been tough at home, posting a 5-3 record. The Thunderbirds have won both of their home Mid-Con games thus far. Offensively Southern Utah has struggled this season, averaging just 51.9 points per contest. Anne Westwood leads the way in scoring, tallying 10.0 points per night. The team's leading rebounder grabbing 6.8 boards per game, she is shooting 49.2% from the floor. Erin McClean and Julie Stradling each are averaging 7.5 points per game.
Braun Reaches 1,000 Points: Tamra Braun scored seven points on Wednesday at IPFW to become the 12th Crusader in the program's history to reach the 1,000-point mark for her career. She joined teammate Betsy Rietema as members of the club, as Rietema surpassed the 1,000-point total earlier this year. This is the first time since 2002 (Amber Schober and Marlous Nieuwveen) that Crusader teammates reached the 1,000-point mark in the same season.
Braun Needs 10 Boards to Tie School Record: Tamra Braun has moved within reach of the Crusaders' career rebounding record with 762 boards during her four-year career. The senior center is four boards behind Jeanette Gray (1999-2003) for second place all-time. Sarrah Stricklett (1996-2000) holds the school mark with 772 rebounds, 10 more than Braun's current total.
Freeman Looking for Career Victory #350: Head coach Keith Freeman's next win will be the 350th of his career on the sidelines. In his 19th season overall coaching, he has posted a 349-196 record. Of the 349 victories, 220 have come on the Valpo bench.
Road Warriors: Valpo is in the midst of a four-game road trip which will see the Crusaders spend nights in six different cities in all four time zones during the 10 day span. The Brown and Gold won the first two games of the trip at Western Illinois and IPFW and will wrap it up on Monday at UMKC.
Taylor Has Career Night: Krystal Taylor found double figures for the first time in her career on Wednesday at IPFW. The fifth-year senior scored 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the floor while also grabbing a pair of rebounds.
Passing the Basketball: Valpo had 18 assists against IPFW on its 28 baskets while turning the ball over just 13 times on the night. The assist total was nearly six more than the Crusaders' average of 12.2 per game. Launa Hochstetler had five assists without a turnover while Agnieszka Kulaga had four more helpers.
Valpo Wins the Close Games: The Crusaders have played 11 games decided by 10 points or less this season, winning eight of them. Four of the five conference games have been decided by six points or less.
Myers Continues to Drain Three-Pointers: Carrie Myers had made at least one three-point field goal in all 19 games thus far this season. In fact, the senior guard has made two or more triples in 15 games, highlighted by five triples against both Bradley and Indiana State. Myers leads the Mid-Con with 2.7 threes made per game.
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 177 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 currently ranks eighth on the single season charts with 34 swats.
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 15th in all of NCAA Division I in three-point field goals per game. Her 2.8 makes per contest lead the Mid-Continent Conference as well. In addition, her 43.9% accuracy beyond the arc ranks 17th best in the country through January 21.
Among the Nation's Best: Valpo ranks among the top-30 in the country in three statistical categories as a team. The Crusaders are 28th in three-point field goals per game, making 6.5 per night. In addition, Valpo's 38.5% shooting from beyond the arc ranks 17th in NCAA Division I through January 21. Finally, Valpo has committed just 14.3 fouls per game, 15th 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 147-81 (.645) record all-time in conference play. The 147 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 fifth 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 1,121 points, passing Lynda Kukla's (1988-1992) total of 1,081 points. Rietema is 74 points shy of Aimee Forsman (1988-1992) for seventh place all-time.
Braun Moves into 12th in Scoring at Valpo: Senior Tamra Braun has also moved into the top-15 on Valpo's career scoring list. The Valpo center currently has scored 1,000 points over her career passing Shari Toelke (1990-1994) for 12th place all-time. She now needs 15 more points to match Carrie Forsman (1992-1996) for 11th place all-time.
Rietema Finds the Rebounding Charts: Betsy Rietema has moved into 13th place on Valparaiso's career rebounding list. The senior forward has brought down 504 rebounds to date. With 33 more boards she will match Jill Otto (1985-1989) for 12th spot all-time in a Crusader uniform.
Braun Among Mid-Con Best in Blocks: Tamra Braun's 177 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-15 all-time at Valparaiso in assists. The senior has moved into a tie for 15th place with her 202 career helpers, equalling Amy Cole's (1987-1991) and Heidi Diefenthaler's (1992-1996) total. She needs six more to equal Lynda Kukla (1988-1992) for 14th place.
Myers Deadly from Long Range: Carrie Myers enters play in third place on the career three-point list with 182 triples. Myers trails Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) by 54 threes for second all-time.
Rietema Likes Freebies: Betsy Rietema's 298 career free throws are third most in school history. She is nearly 200 behind second place Sarrah Stricklett's (1996-2000) total of 494.
Freeman Winningest Coach in Mid-Con History: Head coach Keith Freeman's 220 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.).