Game #9: Saturday, December 16, 4:05 p.m. CST
Valpo (4-4, 0-0 Mid-Con) at Northern Iowa (3-5, 0-0 MVC)
McCleod Center (7,018) - Cedar Falls, Iowa
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: After a week off for final exams, the Valparaiso Crusaders return to the hardwood on Saturday afternoon to begin a stretch of three games in six days taking on the Northern Iowa Panthers. Valpo is looking to snap its two-game losing skid, while wrapping up a stretch of four straight games away from the Athletics-Recreation Center.
On the Air: Saturday's game against Northern Iowa 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 Josh Weinhold will call all the action live from the McCleod Center.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Northern Iowa are meeting for just the fourth time overall and the second in Cedar Falls. Last year the Crusaders posted a 62-48 victory over the Panthers in the season opener behind 24 points and nine rebounds by Betsy Rietema. Valpo also won the only meeting ever played in Cedar Falls, an 88-85 overtime triumph on November 30, 1991. The Panthers lone win in the series came in Valparaiso, 82-72, during December 12, 1992.
Wrapping Up Ball State: Valparaiso led for the first 35 minutes of the game, but a late 12-0 run by the Cardinals lifted Ball State to a 68-59 victory over the Crusaders on Sunday afternoon at Hoopla: A Celebration of Women's Basketball in Fort Wayne, Ind. Betsy Rietema and Carrie Myers scored 12 points each for Valpo while Agnieszka Kulaga and Tamra Braun added 10 points each. Braun also had 10 boards to complete her double-double.
Scouting Northern Iowa: The Panthers have won three of their last five games following a 90-75 victory at Detroit last Saturday afternoon. Tara King leads the way for the Panthers, averaging 18.9 points per night. The senior scored 19 against the Titans on Saturday, including a 12-of-13 shooting performance from the free throw line. Jessie Biggs has added 12.5 points per game and is a 91.9% free throw shooter while Megan Keefe has added 11.6 points per contest. Northern Iowa is 1-2 at the brand new McLeod Center this season.
Streaking with Double Doubles: Tamra Braun has been posting big numbers for the Crusaders over the last three games, notching three consecutive double-doubles. She recorded 10 points and 10 boards against Ball State last Saturday after recording a season-high 19 points while grabbing a season-best 11 boards the week before against Indiana State. She previously had tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds at Loyola (Chicago). The senior center now has 19 double-doubles for her career.
51 Double Figure Games for Rietema: Betsy Rietema posted her seventh double figure scoring game of the season in eight contests with 12 points against Ball State. The senior forward now has posted double figures 51 times in 95 career games for the Brown and Gold.
Balanced Scoring of Late: Over the last four games, Valpo has had at least three players score in double figures in each contest. The Crusaders had four players tally double digits last Saturday at Ball State, with 12 points being the team high.
Valpo Leads the Mid-Con From Downtown: The Crusaders' 38.7% shooting clip from beyond the arc is currently best in the Mid-Continent Conference. In addition, the Brown and Gold's 6.6 triples per game is also best in the league.
Myers Among Top Outside Shooters in the Country: Senior guard Carrie Myers currently ranks 16th in all of NCAA Division I in three-point field goals per game. Her 3.00 makes per contest lead the Mid-Continent Conference and are 16th most in the nation.
Rietema Nearing 1,000 Point Club: Betsy Rietema is quickly approaching the 1,000 point club for her career. She currently stands at 968 points, 32 shy of the magic number. Rietema would become just the 11th Crusaders in school history to reach the milestone.
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.
Home Sweet Home: Valparaiso continues to have success at home in recent years. The Brown and Gold has a 177-98 (.644) record all-time at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Since the 2001-2002 season, Valpo has posted a 55-13 (.809) mark at the ARC.
On the Road for the Final Time in 2006: Valpo is wrapping up a stretch of games where the Crusaders have played seven out of nine contests away from the ARC to start the year. The game against Northern Iowa is also Valpo's final road contest prior to conference play, which begins January 6, 2007 at Oral Roberts. Valpo begins a four-game homestand on December 19 against Notre Dame.
Among the Nation's Best: Valpo ranks among the top-25 in the country in a pair of three-point statistical categories as a team. The Crusaders are 24th in three-point field goals per game, making 6.6 per night. In addition, Valpo's 38.7% shooting from beyond the arc ranks 23rd in NCAA Division I.
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.
Braun Among Top-5 Rebounding Greats: Tamra Braun has moved into fifth place on the Crusaders' career rebounding charts with 667 boards during her four-year career. The senior center is nine boards shy of Aimee Forsman's (1988-1992) fourth place total of 676 rebounds.
Rietema Moves Into 13th in School History in Scoring: Betsy Rietema has moved into 13th all-time in school history in scoring. The senior forward has tallied 968 points, moving past Sarah Schmoyer (1992-1996). Rietema now needs just 10 points to match Cheryl Wilbrandt (1989-1993) for 12th all-time in scoring.
Braun Among Top-20 in Scoring Also: Senior Tamra Braun has also moved into the top-20 on Valpo's career scoring list. The Valpo center currently has scored 882 points over her career passing Michelle Russell (1991-1994) for 16th place all-time. She now needs just 14 more points to match Heidi Diefenthaler (1992-1996) for 15th place all-time.
Rietema Finds the Rebounding Charts: Betsy Rietema has moved into 18th place on Valparaiso's career rebounding list. The senior forward has brought down 431 rebounds to date. She trails Linda Batz (1987-1990) by three boards for the 17th spot all-time in a Crusader uniform.
Braun Also Swats Shots: Tamra Braun also ranks second all-time with 155 career blocked shots. She trails Michelle Mader's (1988-1992) school record by 11 rejections.
Braun Among Mid-Con Best in Blocks: Tamra Braun's 155 career blocks also are seventh best in Mid-Continent Conference history. She has moved past Lauren Powers (UMKC, 1997-2001) in the league's record book. Next up for the senior is Nicole Blakeslee (Buffalo, 1994-1998) who is sixth with 159 swats.
Dishing the Rock: Betsy Rietema has also cracked the top-20 all-time at Valparaiso in assists. The senior moved into 19th place with her 171 career helpers, passing Paige Freeman (1985-1989). Rietema needs 23 more helpers to match Tracy Saller's (1985-1987) mark of 194 assists.
Myers Deadly from Long Range: Carrie Myers enters play in fourth place on the career three-point list with 154 triples. Myers trails Sarah Lenschow (1996-2000) by 17 threes for third all-time.
Rietema Likes Freebies: Betsy Rietema's 266 career free throws are fifth most in school history. She trails Paige Freeman (1985-1989) by six for fourth place in the all-time record book.
Freeman Winningest Coach in Mid-Con History: Head coach Keith Freeman's 213 victories are not only most in Valpo history, but also rank top in Mid-Continent Conference history for career wins.