Game #15: January 17, 2008, 7:05 p.m. CST
Milwaukee (8-7, 3-1 Horizon)
at Valpo (7-7, 2-1 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso puts the nation’s 12th longest home court winning streak on the line Thursday evening as the Crusaders look for their 12th consecutive win at the Athletics-Recreation Center hosting Milwaukee in a key Horizon League showdown. The Panthers were the preseason favorite to win the league and have won five of their last six games.
On the Air: Thursday’s game against Milwaukee can be viewed live online as part of the Horizon League Network at www.horizonleaguenetwork.tv. WVUR’s (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and Miles Janssen and Maggie Foley will call all the action live from the Athletics-Recreation 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
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Milwaukee are meeting for the eighth time in a series that dates back to February 4, 1983, a 73-54 victory for the Panthers in Milwaukee, Wis. The Panthers won the first five meetings between the two schools, but the Crusaders have won each of the last two contests, including a 61-57 victory at the ARC on December 5, 2001. Milwaukee holds a 2-1 series edge in Valparaiso.
Wrapping Up Loyola: The Ramblers held Valparaiso scoreless for nearly 7:30 midway through the second half, and withstood a late Crusader run to defeat Valpo 64-60 on Saturday afternoon in Chicago, Ill. Loyola made 10-of-22 attempts from three-point range, and outrebounded the Crusaders 37-26 in the contest. Aimee Litka led Valpo with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting while Whitney Farris tallied a career-high 16 points.
Scouting Milwaukee: The Panthers have won five of their last six games following a 63-52 victory over Cleveland State at home last Saturday afternoon. Milwaukee is led by the preseason Horizon League Player of the Year Tracy Edwards. The junior center is averaging a league-best 19.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per contest this season. Her scoring total is 15th best in Division I. During the team’s five league games, Edwards is averaging 23.3 points per contest. Aubri Rote is also scoring in double figures for Milwaukee, tallying 10.4 points per night. Her 41.3% shooting from long range is 39th best in the country.
Home Court Win Streak Among Nation’s Best: Valparaiso’s 11-game winning streak at the Athletics-Recreation Center is the 12th longest streak in Division I. Valpo is 5-0 this season and won its final six home contests last year. The last Crusader loss at the ARC came on January 15, 2007, a 63-57 setback against Oakland. Duke currently holds the nation’s longest home court winning streak, having won 23 consecutive games in Durham, N.C.
Farris Has Career Night: Whitney Farris scored a career-high 16 points for the Crusaders Saturday in the loss at Loyola. The sophomore forward was 6-of-9 from the floor and also dished out three assists for Valpo.
Turnovers Down: Valpo committed just eight turnovers in Saturday’s game against Loyola, six fewer than any other game this season. The Crusaders also registered 16 assists against the Ramblers.
Hochstetler Dishes the Rock: Launa Hochstetler registered seven assists on Thursday against UIC, then tied her career high with eight helpers at Loyola on Saturday. The junior point guard is averaging 3.79 assists per game, and has a 1.51 assist-to-turnover ratio, both of which rank fourth in the Horizon League.
Balanced Scoring in League Play: Four different Crusaders are averaging in double figures for Valpo in Horizon League action. Aimee Litka is tallying 18.3 points per game against conference foes while Agnieszka Kulaga adds 14.7. Whitney Farris and Launa Hochstetler are scoring 12.7 and 10.3 points per game respectively.
Free Throw Shooting Continues to Shine for Crusaders...: 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. Valpo is shooting 77.7% from the line overall this season, the 11th best mark in the country.
... as Does Three-Point Shooting: Valpo is currently ranked sixth in NCAA Division I shooting 40.1% from beyond the arc. The Crusaders also are ninth in the nation making 7.6 triples per game. Four different players are currently ranked in the Horizon League’s top-10 in three-point shooting percentage individually.
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.
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. With wins in the first five home games of 2007-2008, the Crusaders have pushed their home court winning streak to 11 consecutive games. Valpo has not dropped a home game since January 15, 2007 against Oakland. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Valpo has posted a 67-16 (.807) 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.