Crusaders Return Home to Begin Second Half of Mid-Con Play Against Centenary
Centenary (4-18, 0-7 Mid-Con) at Valpo (12-9, 5-2 Mid-Con)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: After a four-game road trip which saw Valparaiso play in three different time zones, the Crusaders return home to the Athletics-Recreation Center for six of their final eight regular season games beginning on Saturday afternoon against Centenary. Valpo has won eight of its last 10 games overall. The Crusaders open the second half of Mid-Continent Conference play just one game behind Oakland in the league standings.
On the Air: Saturday's game against Centenary 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 Matt Engelbrecht will call all the action live from the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Centenary are meeting for the eighth time in a series that dates back to January 26, 2004. The Crusaders have won all seven previous meetings, including posting a 3-0 mark at the ARC. Last year at the ARC, Valpo posted a 91-44 victory. Earlier this season, the Crusaders posted a 69-43 win over the Ladies on January 8 in Shreveport, La. Launa Hochstetler led the Brown and Gold with 16 points and four assists while Betsy Rietema added 12 points. Jelena Aleksic led Centenary with 10 points in a game which saw Valpo hold the Ladies to just 20.7% shooting from the floor in the opening half.
Wrapping Up UMKC: Valparaiso rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit and saw UMKC's shot at the buzzer fall off to the side of the rim as the Crusaders defeated the Kangaroos 52-51 on Monday in Kansas City, Mo. Betsy Rietema's lay-in with 1:20 left gave Valpo the lead and the defense forced a pair of Kangaroo misses in the final eight seconds of the game. Carrie Myers led Valpo with 15 points while Betsy Rietema added 13 and four steals.
Scouting Centenary: The Ladies are looking to snap an eight-game losing streak following a 67-55 loss to IUPUI on Monday evening. Centenary is just 1-8 away from Shreveport and is looking for their first Mid-Con win since January 28, 2006. Holli Wilkins leads three Ladies scoring in double figures on the year. The senior is sixth in the Mid-Con posting 12.4 points per night after posting 19 on Monday against the Jaguars. Cierra Bush adds 11.3 points and a team high 6.4 rebounds per game while Jelena Aleksic has scored 11.0 points per contest.
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 on Monday evening at UMKC. The senior, who know has 783 rebounds, passed Sarrah Stricklett's (1996-2000) total of 772. Braun's current total ranks eighth in Mid-Continent Conference history, moving past Stricklett on that list as well. Next up on the Mid-Con list for Braun is Heather Farquharson (Northeastern Illinois, 1994-1998) who grabbed 796 for her career.
Freeman Earns Career Victory #350: Head coach Keith Freeman's victory over UMKC was the 350th of his career on the sidelines. In his 19th season overall coaching, he has posted a 350-196 record. Of the 350 victories, 221 have come on the Valpo bench.
Blocking Streak: Tamra Braun has registered at least one block in each of Valpo's last 19 games. The senior center blocked a season high four shot attempts at IPFW.
Farris Sees Key Minutes: Whitney Farris saw seven minutes of action on Monday evening, a season high. The freshman registered a key tie-up, resulting in Valpo's possession, with one minute remaining against UMKC, and also had a blocked shot and a rebound in the one-point win.
Free Throw Shooting Key in the Mid-Con: Valpo is shooting 76.9% from the stripe in league games, best among all Mid-Con schools. This is significantly up from the season average of 71.0% overall. Sarah Ott is the team's leader from the line, shooting 85.4% for the season and 90.9% against league foes. Launa Hochstetler is a 81.8% shooter on the year and 88.2% in the Mid-Con.
On Pace For Record-Setting Year from Outside: Valparaiso is currently on pace to break the team's single season three-point percentage record. The Crusaders are currently shooting 38.2% from beyond the arc, while the 1997-1998 squad currently holds the school mark at 37.1%.
Road Warriors: Valpo wrapped up a four-game road trip which saw the Crusaders spend the night 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 before falling at Southern Utah. Valpo concluded the trip with a thrilling one-point win at UMKC.
Myers Among Best Triple Shooters in Mid-Con History: Carrie Myers' 190 career three-pointers ranks as the eighth most makes in Mid-Continent Conference laurels. The senior needs 10 more threes to match Krista Ragan (Oral Roberts, 1997-2002) for seventh place in league history.
Valpo Plays Close Games: The Crusaders have played 13 games decided by 10 points or less this season, winning nine of them. Six of the seven conference games in the first half of the season were decided by seven points or less. Valpo is also 4-1 in games decided by five points or less.
Myers Continues to Drain Three-Pointers: Carrie Myers had made at least one three-point field goal in all 21 games thus far this season. In fact, the senior guard has made two or more triples in 17 games, highlighted by five treys against Bradley, Indiana State, and at UMKC. Myers leads the Mid-Con with 2.9 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 179 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 currently tied for seventh on the single season charts with 36 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 14th 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 41.7% accuracy beyond the arc ranks 24th best in the country through January 28.
Among the Nation's Best: Valpo ranks among the top-30 in the country in three 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 38.4% shooting from beyond the arc ranks 13th in NCAA Division I through January 28. Finally, Valpo has committed just 14.6 fouls per game, 19th 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 148-82 (.643) record all-time in conference play. The 148 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.
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.
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.
Myers Among Single Season Best Three-Point Shooters: Carrie Myers has made 60 triples this season, ranking seventh on Valpo's single season list for most makes. She is five threes away from Suzie Hammel's 2001-2002 total for sixth place. Myers also holds third place on the single season charts after making 76 last season. Lynda Kukla holds the single season record with 101 treys in the 1991-1992 campaign.
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 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.
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 1,142 points and is 53 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 1,014 points over her career passing Shari Toelke (1990-1994) for 12th place all-time. She needs just one more point 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 518 rebounds to date. With 19 more boards she will match Jill Otto (1985-1989) for 12th all-time in a Crusader uniform.
Braun Among Mid-Con Best in Blocks: Tamra Braun's 179 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 15th place with her 207 career helpers, passing Amy Cole's (1987-1991) and Heidi Diefenthaler's (1992-1996) total of 202. She needs one 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 190 triples. Myers trails Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) by 46 threes for second all-time.
Rietema Likes Freebies: Betsy Rietema's 305 career free throws are third most in school history. She is 189 behind second place Sarrah Stricklett's (1996-2000) total of 494.
Freeman Winningest Coach in Mid-Con History: Head coach Keith Freeman's 221 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.).