Game #3: November 28, 2008, 8 p.m. CST
Valparaiso (1-1, 0-0 Horizon)
at Colorado State (1-2, 0-0 MWC)
Moby Arena (8,745) - Fort Collins, Colo.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso heads to the Rockies on Friday evening as the Crusaders will battle Colorado State in the first round of the Coors Rocky Mountain Classic. Valpo, which is playing four straight games away from the Athletics-Recreation Center, will look to bounce back from its first loss of the season Tuesday afternoon at Central Michigan.
On the Air: Friday’s game against Colorado State will be carried live online at sportsjuice.com. Adam Amin and Danny Robertson will call all the action live from Moby Arena.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Colorado State are meeting for just the second time ever. In their first meeting, the Rams defeated the Crusaders 94-71 on November 13, 1998 in Fort Collins, Colo. as part of the Preseason WNIT.
Wrapping Up Central Michigan: Valparaiso rallied from an eight-point second half deficit to take a five-point lead, but the host Chippewas scored the game’s final eight points to defeat the Crusaders 86-80 on Tuesday afternoon in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Agnieszka Kulaga scored 24 points for the Crusaders while Lauren Kenney added 22 points and seven boards and Aimee Litka scored 17 more points. Central Michigan had five players in double figures, led by Brandie Baker with 18.
Scouting Colorado State: The Rams defeated Idaho 69-60 on Saturday for their first victory of the season following an overtime loss at Wichita State and a setback at Colorado. Britney Minor leads Colorado State in scoring averaging 12.0 points per game while Kandy Beemer chips in 11.0 per night. Bonnie Barbee has contributed 10.3 points per contest thus far this season while Juanise Cornell is the team’s top rebounder with 7.3 boards per game. As a team, the Rams are shooting just 25.9% from three-point range but are +4.3 in rebounding margin this season.
Valpo in “Inseason” Tournaments: The Crusaders are looking to win an “inseason” tournament for the first time in the Keith Freeman era. The last time the Crusaders captured a tourney title was at the Lady Redmen Classic hosted by Carthage in the 1985-1986 season as Valpo downed Lakeland, Carthage, and Clarke.
Valpo Looks for 2-1 Start: The Crusaders are looking to start a season 2-1 for just the second time under head coach Keith Freeman. Valpo opened the 2005-2006 campaign with victories over Northern Iowa and Kent State sandwiched around a loss at Bradley. Prior to that season, Valpo’s last 2-1 start came in the 1991-1992 season.
Litka Continues to Cause Double Trouble: Aimee Litka opened the season with her third career double-double against Bowling Green. The senior scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, one off of her career high. She added another 17 points at Central Michigan to post her 29th double-figure scoring game in her last 32 contests. Litka also dished out a career-high seven assists against the Chippewas and is tied for the Horizon League lead in helpers averaging 5.5 per night.
Farris Dishes the Rock, Then Gets to the Glass: Whitney Farris has not scored a great deal early in the season, but has done other things to help the Crusaders. The junior had a career high six assists to open the season against Bowling Green and was one off of her career high with nine rebounds at Central Michigan.
What a Difference a Year Makes: After outrebounding just four opponents the entire 2007-2008 season, Valparaiso has outrebounded both of its first two opponents this season. The Crusaders held a nine board edge, 36-27, against Central Michigan, and leads the Horizon League with a +6.0 rebounding margin on the year.
Kenney Makes an Immediate Impact at Valpo: Lauren Kenney scored 22 points, making 10-of-13 from the field, at Central Michigan on Tuesday afternoon. The junior college transfer scored eight points in her first game with Valpo on 4-of-5 shooting, and leads the Horizon League this season making 73.7% of her attempts from the floor. In addition, Kenney grabbed seven rebounds, including four on the offensive end, against the Chippewas.
Crusader Offense Tops in the Horizon League: Valpo leads the Horizon League in scoring (74.5 ppg), field goal percentage (51.4%), three-point field goal percentage (43.9%), and triples per game (9.0). The Crusaders also have the top mark in assists with 18.0 per contest. Agnieszka Kulaga leads the Horizon League individually in scoring averaging 23.0 points per night.
Valpo Against Major Conferences: The Crusaders will look to knock off a foe from the Mountain West Conference on Friday afternoon, attempting to add to wins against major leagues. Since 2001-2002, Valpo has downed teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (Wake Forest), Western Athletic Conference (Fresno State), Pac-10 Conference (Washington State), and Big 10 Conference (Michigan and Northwestern).
Hochstetler Ranks Among Career Assist Leaders: Launa Hochstetler continues to climb Valpo’s career assist list. With seven assists against Bowling Green, the senior moved past Lina Mascarenas (1988-1992) and Betsy Rietema (2003-2007) into 12th place all-time wearing for the Crusaders. She added four more helpers against Central Michigan. She now has 236 assists, trailing Jeanette Gray (1999-2003) by just two for 11th place on the all-time list. She is 11 assists shy of moving into the top-10 all-time at Valpo, a spot currently held by Megan Newcomer (1996-2000) with 247 assists.
Kulaga Joins Hochstetler on Assist List: With two assists at Central Michigan, Agnieszka Kulaga passed Tracy Saller (1985-1987) for 20th place on Valpo’s career assist list, joining teammate Launa Hochstetler, who is currently 11th. Kulaga has 195 career assists, and trails Sheila Kalas (1982-1985) by two for 19th place all-time in a Crusader uniform.
Litka Nearing Top-10 All-Time in Triples: Aimee Litka needs just four more three-pointers to move into a tie for 10th place in school history. The senior has 114 career triples, trailing Michelle Russell (1991-1994), who is currently 10th with 118 threes. Amy Cole (1987-1991) is ninth, just one trey ahead of Russell.
Kulaga Earns Preseason Honors: Agnieszka Kulaga was named to the Preseason All-Horizon League Second Team after averaging 14.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last year for the Crusaders. She had a triple-double last season and earned Second Team All-League honors as a junior.
Valpo Tabbed Sixth in Horizon League: The Crusaders were picked to finish in sixth place this season in the Horizon League according to the conference’s preseason poll. Last year the Crusaders finished 14-16 overall and 9-9 in their inaugural league campaign to finish sixth. Green Bay was selected to win the Horizon League title for the 11th consecutive season.
Home Sweet Home: Valpo has had constant success at the ARC over the past seven years. Last season the Crusaders were 9-4 at home and are already 1-0 this year. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Valpo has posted a 72-20 (.783) record at the ARC.
Valpo Adds Two for Next Year’s Class: Head coach Keith Freeman has signed two players to National Letters of Intent for the 2009-2010 season. Skyler Gick is a 5’7” guard from Otterbein, Ind. who averaged 15.1 points per game as a junior at Benton Central High School. Laura Richards is a 5’9” guard from Connersville, Ind and averaged 16.0 points an 5.2 rebounds per game a year ago at Connersville High School.