Game #4: November 29, 2008, 6 p.m. CST
Valparaiso (2-1, 0-0 Horizon)
vs. Florida State (5-1, 0-0 ACC)
Moby Arena (8,745) - Fort Collins, Colo.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso will look to capture the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational on Saturday evening as the Crusaders face Florida State in Fort Collins, Colo. The Crusaders are coming off of a 64-53 victory over the hosts Rams of Colorado State on Friday night while the Seminoles are off to a 5-1 start after just falling out of the top-25 this past week.
On the Air: Saturday’s game against Florida State will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpoathletics.com. Adam Amin and Danny Robertson will call all the action live from Moby Arena.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Florida State are meeting for the first time ever on the hardwood. The Crusaders are 1-2 against teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference, having defeated Wake Forest and fallen to Miami (Fla.) and Virginia Tech in the past.
Wrapping Up Colorado State: Valparaiso handed the host Rams just their second opening round loss in the 15 years of the tournament on Friday night with a 64-53 victory. The Crusaders held Colorado State to less than 30% shooting for the night and broke open a three-point halftime lead with an early second half run. Agnieszka Kulaga led Valpo with 20 points while Aimee Litka added 14. Lauren Kenney had a season-high 10 rebounds for the Brown and Gold.
Scouting Florida State: The Seminoles won their opening round game of the tournament 85-50 over Murray State to improve to 5-1 on the season. Florida State was ranked in the top-25 until a loss at Florida last Sunday. Jacinta Monroe leads three Seminoles averaging in double figures with 16.2 points per game while Cierra Bravard adds 13.3 points per contest. Tanae Davis-Cain is scoring 11.2 points per game for Florida State as the Seminoles are shooting 44.8% from the floor on the year. They are also forcing 21.8 turnovers per game.
Valpo in “In-season” Tournaments: The Crusaders are looking to win an “in-season” 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’s Start Among Best All-Time: The Crusaders have started 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. A win against Florida State would make the Crusaders 3-1 for just the second time in school history, matching the mark set by the 1974-1975 team that was coached by Ruth Brown.
Litka Continues to Cause Double Trouble: Aimee Litka continues to pour in double figure scoring numbers on a nightly basis. The senior forward had 14 points against Colorado State and has now tallied double digits in 30 of her last 33 games, including all three contests this year. Litka is tied for fifth in the conference in scoring averaging 16.0 points per game this season.
What a Schedule on Tap: Starting with Florida State on Saturday, four of Valpo’s next five opponents are either ranked in the top-25 or receiving votes. The Seminoles are 26th and 29th in the USA Today Coaches and Associated Press polls respectively after falling out of the top-25 this past week. Valpo will then head to North Texas next Saturday, the only team not receiving votes in this stretch before hosting nationally-ranked Purdue and top-10 Notre Dame in back-to-back games. The Crusaders will conclude the stretch before Christmas with a game at South Dakota State, which is also receiving votes in both polls.
What a Difference a Year Makes: After outrebounding just four opponents the entire 2007-2008 season, Valparaiso has outrebounded all three of its opponents this season. The Crusaders held a three-board edge, 42-39, against Colorado State, and leads the Horizon League with a +5.0 rebounding margin on the year.
Freeman Looks for Milestone Win: Head coach Keith Freeman’s next victory with be the 375th of his career coaching women’s basketball. In his 21st season overall, 245 of the victories have come on the bench of the Brown and Gold, where he has been the last 15 years.
Cracking the Top 100: As of Saturday morning, November 29, Valparaiso had moved into the top-100 of the RPI according to collegerpi.com. The Crusaders check in 95th.
Crusader Offense Tops in the Horizon League: Valpo leads the Horizon League in scoring (71.0 ppg), three-point field goal percentage (41.1%), and triples per game (7.7). Agnieszka Kulaga leads the Horizon League individually in scoring averaging 22.0 points per night.
Valpo Against Major Conferences: The Crusaders will look to knock off another foe from the Atlantic Coast Conference on Saturday evening. The win against Colorado State from the Mountain West Conference on Friday added to Valpo’s win list 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 five assists against Colorado State, the senior moved past Jeanette Gray (1999-2003) into 11th place all-time wearing for the Crusaders. She now has 241 assists, trailing Megan Newcomer (1996-2000) by just six to move into the top-10 on the all-time list. She is 16 assists shy of moving into ninth place all-time at Valpo, a spot currently held by Kathryn Knoester (2000-2004) with 257 assists.
Kulaga Joins Hochstetler on Assist List: With two assists at Colorado State, Agnieszka Kulaga tied Sheila Kalas (1982-1985) for 19th place on Valpo’s career assist list. Kulaga has 197 career assists, and trails Amy Cole (1987-1991) and Heidi Diefenthaler (1992-1996) by five for 17th place all-time in a Crusader uniform.
Litka Nearing Top-10 All-Time in Triples: Aimee Litka needs just two more three-pointers to move into a tie for 10th place in school history. The senior has 116 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.