Game #16: January 19, 2008, 1:35 p.m. CST
Green Bay (13-3, 5-0 Horizon)
at Valpo (7-8, 2-2 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso looks to bounce back from back-to-back defeats on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders host Green Bay, the top team in the Horizon League, at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The contest is also Valpo’s “Pack the House” game, as the Crusaders look to draw their largest attendance figure over the last couple of seasons.
On the Air: Saturday’s game against Green Bay will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Eric Brooks and Adam Tein will call all the action live from the ARC. All 29 regular season games will be broadcast live over the internet in addition to many games on the radio. In addition, the game can be viewed live online as part of the Horizon League Network at www.horizonleaguenetwork.tv.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Green Bay are renewing their conference rivalry dating back to the North Star Conference. The Phoenix lead the overall series 15-3 which began on December 9, 1986. Green Bay has won two straight, including a 57-51 victory the last time the two schools met, December 14, 2000, in Green Bay, Wis. The Phoenix hold an 8-1 series edge over the Crusaders in Valparaiso.
Wrapping Up Milwaukee: The Panthers held Valpo to just 22.2% (4-of-18) shooting from three-point range and the Crusaders could not overcome a 13-point second half deficit, falling to Milwaukee 68-62 on Thursday night at the ARC. Aimee Litka led Valpo with 17 points and six rebounds while Agnieszka Kulaga added 15 points and six boards. The Crusaders defense held Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year Tracy Edwards to just 14 points, well below her average.
Scouting Green Bay: The Phoenix enter the game on a nine-game winning streak, the fifth longest in the nation. The nine-time defending Horizon League champions are 6-2 away from home on the year, and are the lone unbeaten left in conference play. Kayla Groh leads four double figure scorers for Green Bay with 13.9 points per contest while Rachel Porath adds 13.6 points per game and shoots 58.6% from the floor. The Phoenix are the league’s top scoring team, averaging 73.4 points per contest, and are outscoring opponents by 12.4 per game. As a team, Green Bay is shooting 49.5% from the floor.
Pack the House Night Set for Saturday: Valpo is looking to “Pack the ARC” on Saturday afternoon against Green Bay. The Crusaders’ goal is to top 1,472 fans, Valpo’s largest crowd in 2006-2007, set against Notre Dame. This is part of a promotion set forth by the NCAA that 80% of the schools in the country are participating in.
Home Court Win Streak Snapped: Valparaiso had its 11-game winning streak at the Athletics-Recreation Center snapped on Thursday evening. The streak was the 12th longest streak in Division I at the time. The last Crusader loss at the ARC came prior to Milwaukee came on January 15, 2007, a 63-57 setback against Oakland.
Ott Stepping Up and Scoring: Sarah Ott has found double figures in the scoring column three times in the last four games. During that span, she has tallied a season-high 14 points twice, including Thursday night against Milwaukee.
Kulaga and Litka Among League’s Scoring Leaders: Agnieszka Kulaga and Aimee Litka rank fifth and sixth respectively in the Horizon League in scoring. Kulaga is tallying 14.8 points per night, and has four 20+ point efforts on the season. Litka adds 14.2 points per game, and has posted double figures in 14 of 15 games.
A Bunch of Thieves: Valpo posted a season high with 12 steals on Thursday against Milwaukee. The Crusaders had not registered more than nine in a game all season prior to the contest. Valpo forced the Panthers into 26 turnovers total for the night.
Guards Leading the Way on the Glass: Aimee Litka and Agnieszka Kulaga lead Valpo in rebounding, averaging 4.9 boards per game this season, despite playing at guard spots. The Crusaders have struggled all season, having outrebounded just one opponent through 15 games. The Crusaders are -6.5 in rebounding margin on the season.
Free Throw and Three-Point Shooting Among Nation’s Best: Valpo is currently ranked 12th in NCAA Division I shooting 38.9% from beyond the arc. The Crusaders also are 14th in the nation making 7.4 triples per game. Valpo is just as proficient from the free throw line, ranking 11th in the country shooting 77.7% from the charity stripe on the year.
A Solid Night from the Line: Valpo made 25-of-27 free throw attempts on January 5 against Butler, with the 92.6% shooting ranking as the seventh best night from the charity stripe in school history. It was Valpo’s highest shooting percentage ever when the team took 20 or more attempts.
For Three: Valpo’s 13 three-pointers made against UIC are tied for the sixth most by a Crusader team in a single game. Valpo’s school record is 17, set against Central Michigan in 2004.
Making Free Throws in Crunch Time: With the game on the line in the closing minutes, Valparaiso has been solid from the free throw stripe this season. Valpo is shooting 90.2% (46-of-51) as a team from the charity stripe in the game’s final two minutes. Agnieszka Kulaga has been virtually automatic in pressure situations, connecting on 21-of-22 tosses (95.5%) with the clock winding down.
Home Sweet Home: Valpo has had constant success at the ARC over the past seven years. This season the Crusaders are 5-1 at home and since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Valpo has posted a 67-17 (.798) record at the ARC.
Kulaga Earns Valpo’s First Two Player of the Week Honors: Agnieszka Kulaga was named Valpo’s first-ever Horizon League Player of the Week on December 10 after turning in a then career-best 26 points against North Texas in a Crusader victory. She then earned the honor again on January 7 after pouring in a career-high 29 points while adding six steals, six rebounds, and four steals in a victory over Butler.
Hochstetler Named Scholar-Athlete of the Week: Leah Hochstetler was the Horizon League Scholar-Athlete of the Week on December 18. The junior scored all five of her points in the final minute, including the game-winning three-pointer against South Dakota State. In the classroom, Hochstetler has a 3.87 grade point average in nursing.
A Three-rific Performance against Purdue: The Crusaders made their first five triples at Purdue on the way to making 11-of-17 (64.7%) three-pointers on the night. It was the fourth best shooting percentage for the team in a single game in school history (minimum 10 attempts).
Valpo Picked Fifth in Horizon League Race: Valparaiso has been tabbed to finish in fifth place in the Horizon League in its inaugural season according to the preseason poll conducted of the league’s head coaches, sports information directors, and selected media outlets. Milwaukee was picked to win the league followed by nine-time defending regular season champion Green Bay.
Valpo Adds Two for Next Year’s Class: Head coach Keith Freeman has signed two players to National Letters of Intent. Lauren Kenney is a 6’0” forward from Moorsville, Ind. who is currently playing at Lincoln Trail College. Sylwia Zabielewicz is a 6’6” center from Warsaw, Poland who is currently playing at Midland College. Both players will have two years of eligibility remaining.