Game #17: January 24, 2008, 6 p.m. CST
Valpo (8-8, 3-2 Horizon)
at Wright State (5-11, 2-3 Horizon)
Ervin J. Nutter Center (11,019) - Dayton, Ohio
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso heads to Dayton, Ohio on Thursday evening looking to remain near the top of the Horizon League as the Crusaders face Wright State. Valpo is coming off of a 90-88 overtime victory over first place Green Bay on Saturday afternoon, and will look to continue the momentum against the Raiders.
On the Air: Thursday’s game against Wright State will be carried live online at www.sportsjuice.com. WVUR’s (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) Nick Kovatch and Maggie Foley will call all the action live from the Ervin J. Nutter 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 Wright State are meeting for the first time since they were both members of the Mid-Continent Conference. The Crusaders hold an 8-1 edge in a series that began on February 5, 1990 with an 85-76 Crusader victory in Valparaiso. Valpo is 3-1 in Dayton. The Brown and Gold won the last meeting between the two schools 86-74 on March 3, 1997.
Wrapping Up Green Bay: Launa Hochstetler’s three-pointer at the buzzer of overtime gave Valparaiso a 90-88 upset victory over the Phoenix on Saturday afternoon at the ARC. Agnieszka Kulaga, who had a triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists, forced the extra session with three free throws with 0.2 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 82. Hochstetler also had 20 points for Valpo while Aimee Litka scored 19 points and Sarah Ott added a career-high 18 in the victory.
Scouting Wright State: The Raiders are looking to bounce back from back-to-back road defeats last weekend, following a 68-54 loss at Cleveland State on Saturday afternoon. Wright State is 3-2 at home this season and 1-1 in league play. Sheylani Peddy leads the way for the Raiders averaging 14.9 points per contest. The freshman guard is shooting 54.2% from the floor and also leads the league averaging 3.0 steals per game. Whitney Lewis adds 12.8 points per night and is shooting 47.8% from three-point range on the season. As a team, Wright State is shooting 41.6% from the floor and 37.7% from beyond the arc.
Kulaga Earns Third League Honor: Agnieszka Kulaga has earned her third Horizon League Player of the Week honor after averaging 17.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.0 assists last week. Kulaga was also named 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.
Triple-Double Time: Agnieszka Kulaga made her first double-double extra special, turning it into a triple-double performance against Green Bay. The junior guard had 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists, and became the first Crusader since Betsy Rietema to record the feat. Rietema had 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists on December 2, 2006 against Indiana State.
Overtime Success: Valparaiso’s overtime win 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.
Sisterly Heroics: With Launa Hochstetler’s game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer of overtime against Green Bay, she matched the accomplished of her sister Leah from earlier this season. Leah hit her game-winning triple with 48 seconds remaining against South Dakota State.
Ott Has Career Night: Sarah Ott posted a career-high 18 points in the Crusaders’ victory against Green Bay. The redshirt-junior also hit a career-best three three-pointers and finished the game 7-of-11 from the floor for the contest.
Peller Makes Season’s First Start: Kelly Peller drew her first starting assignment of the season on Saturday against Green Bay. The sophomore forward started two games for the Crusaders during her rookie campaign.
Lighting Up the Scoreboard: The 90-point effort in the victory against Green Bay marked the most points Valpo have scored in a game since a 91-44 win over Centenary on February 6, 2006. Those are the only two occasions in the last five years Valpo has score 90.
Free Throw and Three-Point Shooting Among Nation’s Best: Valpo is currently ranked seventh in NCAA Division I shooting 39.5% from beyond the arc. The Crusaders also are seventh in the nation making 7.8 triples per game. Valpo is just as proficient from the free throw line, ranking 13th in the country shooting 77.2% from the charity stripe.
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 86.4% (51-of-59) 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 24-of-25 tosses (96.0%) 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 6-1 at home and since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Valpo has posted a 68-17 (.800) 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.
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.