Game #23: February 14, 2008, 7 p.m. CST
Valpo (11-11, 6-5 Horizon)
at Green Bay (18-4, 10-1 Horizon)
Kress Center (4,000) - Green Bay, Wis.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Having returned to the .500 mark following a victory over UIC on Saturday, the Valparaiso Crusaders hit the road on Thursday evening to battle first place Green Bay. Valpo is beginning a stretch where the Brown and Gold will play five of its final seven games of the regular season away from the ARC.
On the Air: Thursday’s game at Green Bay will be carried live on www.sportsjuice.com. WVUR’s (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) Miles Janssen and Matt Englebrecht will call all the action live from the Kress Center. 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 meeting for the 20th time in a series that began on December 9, 1986. The Phoenix hold a 15-4 advantage against their former North Star and Mid-Continent Conference foe. Valpo won the first meeting this season between the two schools 90-88 in overtime at the ARC as five Crusaders tallied double figures. Agnieszka Kulaga and Launa Hochstetler led the way for Valpo with 20 points while Lavesa Glover had 23 points for Green Bay. The Phoenix are 7-2 against Valpo all-time in Green Bay.
Wrapping Up UIC: An 18-0 run midway through the first half broke the game open for Valparaiso and the Crusaders held the Flames to just 17.9% shooting in the first half as the Brown and Gold defeated UIC 76-46 on Saturday afternoon at the ARC. Aimee Litka led Valpo with 15 points while Katie Emig added a career-high 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds as the Crusaders completed the regular season sweep against the Flames.
Scouting Green Bay: The Phoenix currently hold a two-game lead in the Horizon League standings and have won five straight games and 14 of their last 15 overall following a 69-61 victory at Cleveland State on Saturday. Green Bay has four players averaging in double figures, led by Rachel Porath’s 13.6 points per game. She is shooting 55.9% from the floor, including 45.9% from three-point range. Kayla Groh adds 13.5 points per night. Green Bay is the nation’s top three-point shooting team at 43.6% and third in field goal percentage overall at 49.4%.
Time Change for Season Finale at Butler: Valparaiso’s season finale at Butler has been moved to 11 a.m. CST (12 p.m. Indianapolis time) on March 8. The move occurred because of the potential for Butler to host the Horizon League Men’s Championship that evening.
Turnovers Down in Conference Play: Valpo has turned the ball over an average of just 13.7 times per game against Horizon League foes this season. This is down nearly six miscues per game from non-conference when the Crusaders committed 19.5 per contest.
Emig Posts Career High Against UIC: Katie Emig has been turning up her game in recent weeks for the Crusaders. The redshirt-freshman scored a career-high 13 points while grabbing eight rebounds on Saturday against UIC. Over the last five games, Emig is averaging 5.2 rebounds per night.
From Downtown: Valpo ranks ninth nationally making 7.6 three-pointers per game. Aimee Litka is hitting 2.3 per night, ranking 61st in all of Division I. As a team, the Crusaders are hitting 35.4% from beyond the arc, ranking 48th in the nation, while Litka is 38th individually connecting at 40.2%.
Post Production Up Against UIC: Valpo’s posts had one of their best outings of the season against the Flames, scoring 32 points in the paint. The Crusaders outrebounded UIC by nine, 48-39, just the second time the Brown and Gold have outrebounded an opponent this season. Katie Emig and Sarah Ott had eight and seven boards respectively while Ashley Varner grabbed five rebounds in nine minutes of action.
A Model of Consistency: Aimee Litka continues to produce double figure scoring games for the Crusaders. The junior has tallied 10 or more points in 20 of 22 games for Valpo this season and is sixth in the Horizon League in scoring averaging 14.4 points per game.
Bench Production: Valpo’s bench outscored UIC 33-16 on Saturday afternoon, led by 13 points from Katie Emig. Whitney Farris added nine for the Brown and Gold. The 33 points scored by the bench marked the third time the Crusaders have had 30 or more points scored by non-starters. Valpo’s been produced 33 points against Cincinnati and 31 against Bowling Green this year.
Overtime Success: Valparaiso’s overtime win against Green Bay was the Crusaders’ fourth straight when playing extra sessions. The Crusaders have not dropped an overtime contest since November 21, 2005, a double-overtime affair against Bradley.
Free Throw Shooting Among Nation’s Best: Valpo is currently ranked 14th in NCAA Division I shooting 76.8% from the charity stripe. Individually, Agnieszka Kulaga is 20th in the country from the line, connecting on 86.7% of her tries. Aimee Litka also ranks 36th individually, making 84.6% of her foul shots.
Kulaga Earns Three League Honors: Agnieszka Kulaga earned her third Horizon League Player of the Week honor on January 21 after averaging 17.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.0 assists in two games. Kulaga first earned the award 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.
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 85.1% (57-of-67) 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 26-of-27 tosses (96.3%) with the clock winding down. She proved her ability in the clutch against Green Bay, sinking three free throws with 0.2 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.
Home Sweet Home: Valpo has had constant success at the ARC over the past seven years. This season the Crusaders are 8-3 at home and since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Valpo has posted a 70-19 (.787) record at the ARC.
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.
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.