Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Valpo Hosts #23/21 Purdue Wednesday Night
Agnieskza Kulaga leads the Horizon League in scoring at 21.2 ppg. (Ray Acevedo)
Agnieskza Kulaga leads the Horizon League in scoring at 21.2 ppg. (Ray Acevedo)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Game #6: December 10, 2008, 6 p.m. CST
#23/21 Purdue (5-3, 0-0 Big Ten)
at Valparaiso (3-2, 0-0 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.

Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso returns to the Athletics-Recreation Center for the first time since opening night on Wednesday evening as the Crusaders host #23/21 Purdue in the first of two straight home games against top-25 foes.  The Crusaders are looking to rebound from a loss at North Texas on Saturday while the Boilermakers have dropped two straight games against teams ranked in the top-11.

On the Air: Wednesday’s game against Purdue 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 the ARC.  In addition, the game can be viewed live online as part of the Horizon League Network at horizonleaguenetwork.tv or through the link at valpoathletics.com.

Series Notes: Valparaiso and Purdue are meeting for the 14th time in a series that dates back to February 22, 1974.  The Boilermakers have won all 13 of the previous meetings, including a 65-62 win at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. last season.  This is just Purdue’s fourth trip ever to Valpo, with the last one coming on December 3, 2003, a 68-57 Boilermaker victory here at the ARC. 

Wrapping Up North Texas: Valparaiso built an 11-point halftime lead against the Mean Green last Saturday, only to see the hosts score the first 11 points of the second half on the way to rallying for a 71-67 victory over the Crusaders in Denton, Texas.  Valpo committed 27 turnovers and allowed 25 offensive rebounds which aided North Texas in its comeback effort.  Launa Hochstetler led Valpo with 19 points while Agnieszka Kulaga added 18 and Lauren Kenney chipped in 13 more.  Amber Jackson led the Mean Green with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Scouting Purdue: The Boilermakers opened the season winning five of its first six games, but have dropped two straight to nationally-ranked Maryland and Notre Dame, the latter a 62-51 decision on Sunday afternoon.  Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton leads Purdue averaging 15.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest on the year.  She has tallied three double-doubles, including an 18-point, 10-rebound effort at Notre Dame on Sunday.  Lakisha Freeman adds 10 points per contest for Purdue, which is +10.5 in scoring margin this season.  FahKara Malone chips in 8.3 points per night while dishing out 4.6 assists per game.

Hochstetler Perfect From the Line: Launa Hochstetler is a perfect 17-for-17 from the free throw line this season.  The senior is one of only seven players averaging 2.5 free throws or more per game to remain perfect among NCAA Division I schools.  Hochstetler is an 85.4% career free throw shooter, having connected on at least 80% of her attempts each of her four years.

Good Shooting Thus Far: The Crusaders have posted a better field goal percentage than all five of their opponents thus far this season.  Valpo’s 46.3% ranks 19th best in the country.  Agnieszka Kulaga leads the Horizon League making 58.5% of her shots from the floor this year.

Litka Becomes a Thief: Aimee Litka recorded a career-high four steals on Saturday at North Texas.  She has a team-high nine thefts this season.  The four steals mark the most in a game by a Crusader during the 2007-2008 campaign.

Moving Up the RPI: As of Tuesday morning, December 9, Valparaiso checked in 70th overall among the 341 Division I programs in RPI according to collegerpi.com while the Horizon League ranked 10th out of 31 conferences.  The Crusaders’ strength of schedule ranked 54th in the country.

Crusaders Look to “Pack the ARC” against Notre Dame: Valpo’s game on Saturday afternoon against Notre Dame has been selected as Valpo’s “Pack the House Challenge” game, an ongoing nationwide women's basketball attendance competition taking place throughout the season.  Nearly 300 of the nation's Division I women's basketball programs signed up to participate in the competition, including nine Horizon League. The premise for each participating institution - select a game/date at which an attempt is made to break your single-game all-time or 2007-08 season record. Based on the final results nationwide, 32 conference champions and one overall national champion will be determined by the NCAA.

Hochstetler Posts Season Highs: Launa Hochstetler recorded season highs in both scoring and rebounding last Saturday at North Texas.  The senior point guard scored 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, while dishing out eight assists for the Brown and Gold.

Zabielewicz Makes Most of Her Minutes: Despite playing just seven minutes at North Texas, Sylwia Zabielewicz made the most of her time on the court.  The junior college transfer scored four points, making both of her shots from the floor, and grabbed a season-best four-rebounds for the Crusaders.

From Beyond the Arc: Valpo opponents are shooting just 32.7% from three-point range this season.  Meanwhile, the Crusaders are making 37.9% of their attempts, led by Aimee Litka’s 45.7% effort beyond the arc.

Freeman Earns Milestone Win: Head coach Keith Freeman’s victory against Florida State was the 375th of his career coaching women’s basketball.  In his 21st season overall, his next milestone on tap is 250 victories at Valpo. He needs just four more wins to reach the Valpo mark, where he has been coaching the last 15 years.

Valpo Continues to Topple Major Conferences: The win against Florida State was Valpo’s second all-time against a member of the ACC, having also defeated Wake Forest back in 2001, the victory against Colorado State was the first ever against a team from the Mountain West Conference.  Since 2001-2002, Valpo has also downed teams from the Western Athletic Conference (Fresno State), Pac-10 Conference (Washington State), and Big 10 Conference (Michigan and Northwestern).

Kenney Sets School Record for Free Throws: Lauren Kenney’s 13-for-13 free throw performance against Florida State in the championship is the best single game performance in school history.  The junior bettered Lisa Diefenthaler’s 1994 mark of 12-for-12 set against Western Illinois.  Debbie Bolen made all 11 of her tosses in 1991 while three others have gone 10-for-10 in a game.  Ironically, Kenney entered the game having gone just 5-for-12 on the season prior to the game.

More Solid Free Throw Shooting: In addition to Kenney’s efforts at the line, Agnieszka Kulaga drained 11-of-12 from the charity stripe against Florida State.  As a team, Valpo went 35-of-42 from the line, with the 35 makes ranking second all-time in school history.  The 42 attempts were tied for fifth most ever in a game, while Kenney’s 13 makes tie for fifth on the individual charts.

Hochstetler Ranks Among Career Assist Leaders: Launa Hochstetler continues to climb Valpo’s career assist list.  With eight assists against North Texas, the senior moved into 10th place all-time wearing the Brown and Gold.  She now has 253 assists, passing Megan Newcomer (1996-2000) for a spot in the top-10 on the all-time list.  She is four 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: Agnieszka Kulaga has moved past Sheila Kalas (1982-1985) into 19th place on Valpo’s career assist list.  Kulaga has 199 career assists, and trails Amy Cole (1987-1991) and Heidi Diefenthaler (1992-1996) by three for 17th place all-time in a Crusader uniform.

Litka Moves Into Top-10 All-Time in Triples: Aimee Litka made four three-pointers against Florida State to move into the top-10 in school history.  The senior now has 121 career triples, passing Michelle Russell (1991-1994), and Amy Cole (1987-1991) to move into ninth place on the all-time list.  Litka needs 11 more treys to match Kathryn Knoester’s (2000-2004) eighth place mark of 132 threes.

Kulaga Earns Two Honors: Agnieszka Kulaga was named the Horizon League’s Player of the Week as well as the Most Valuable Player at the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational for her stellar play from November 25-29.  The senior guard averaged 22 points per game and shot 58.3% for the week in three games while garnering her fourth career conference honor.  She scored 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor in the first game of the tournament against Colorado State, then added 22 points, including an 11-of-12 performance from the free throw line, in the championship against Florida State.

Litka Also Named to All-Tournament Team: Aimee Litka also was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational.  She averaged 17 points and five rebounds per game in the event, including a 20-point effort in the championship against Florida State.

Valpo Captures Division I Tournament Title For First Time: Valpo’s win at the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational was the first tournament title for the Brown and Gold in the Division I 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.

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.

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