Game #16: Jan. 16, 2010, 2 p.m. CST
Valparaiso (5-10, 2-2 Horizon)
at Cleveland State (8-8, 3-2 Horizon)
Wolstein Center (8,500) - Cleveland, Ohio
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Winners of two of their last three games overall, the Valparaiso Crusaders wrap up their three-game road trip on Saturday afternoon when the Brown and Gold travel to Cleveland to battle the Vikings of Cleveland State.
On the Air: Saturday’s game against Youngstown State will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at valpoathletics.com. Keaton Gillogly and Chris Kleinhans Shultz will call all the action live from the Beeghly Center. The game can also be viewed live online through the Horizon League Network. Live stats will be available through www.valpoathletics.com as well.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Cleveland State are meeting for the 17th time in a series that dates back to 1989 when the two schools were both members of the North Star Conference. The Crusaders hold a 12-4 all-time series advantage after the two schools split a pair of meetings last season. The Vikings won 68-55 on January 5 in Valparaiso while Valpo posted a 70-52 win in Cleveland on March 5. The Crusaders are a perfect 8-0 against Cleveland State in the Buckeye State.
Head Coach Keith Freeman: In his 16th season on the Valparaiso bench, Keith Freeman has a 265-191 record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 22nd season overall, Freeman has a 394-238 career mark. He is Valpo’s all-time winningest coach and has amassed more than half of the victories in the program’s history.
Wrapping Up Youngstown State: The Crusaders utilized a 25-4 run spanning both halves to rally from a 13-point first half deficit to upend the Penguins 66-41 on Thursday evening in Youngstown, Ohio. Betsy Adams scored a career-high 25 points, making five three-pointers, while Lauren Kenney added 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor. Valpo shot 64.5% from the floor in the second half.
Scouting Cleveland State: The Vikings have won two straight following an 81-68 victory over Butler on Thursday night. Kailey Klein scores a team-leading 16.4 points per game for Cleveland State while grabbing a team-best seven rebounds. Shawnita Garland adds 12.6 points and 4.4 assists per night. The Vikings are shooting 40.1% from the floor but just 66.0% from the free throw line on the season.
Adams Tallies Career Best at YSU: Betsy Adams scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Crusaders to victory on Thursday night. She had 18 points during a 25-4 Crusader run spanning both halves to help the Crusaders rally from a 13-point deficit. She made 10-of-15 shots from the floor, including 5-of-8 from long range. Her previous career high was 21 points against SIU Edwardsville earlier this season.
Freshman Guards Add Career Bests: Valpo’s freshmen backcourt duo of Laura Richards and Skyler Gick both notched career highs on Thursday at Youngstown State. Richards dished out a career-best seven assists while committing just three turnovers. She also pulled down five rebounds. Gick, at 5’7”, grabbed a team-high and career-best seven boards against the Penguins on Thursday.
Adams League’s Top Free Throw Shooter: Betsy Adams leads the Horizon League and ranks 18th nationally in free throw shooting connecting on 88.4% of her attempts on the season. The sophomore is 38-of-43 from the charity stripe.
Making Shots: Valpo connected on 50% of its attempts from the floor against Youngstown State on Thursday night, its best shooting night of the season. The Crusaders have made just 40% or more of its shots three times this season. Valpo also shot 50% long range, also a season’s best, in a game which marked just the second time all year the Brown and Gold connected on at least 40% from beyond the arc.
Playing Defense: The Crusaders have allowed 62 points or less in each of the last seven games, including just 41 at Youngstown State, the second lowest total surrendered this season. The last time Valpo allowed 62 points or fewer in seven straight games was December 18, 2005-January 23, 2006 when the Brown and Gold held seven straight opponents to 61 points or less.
Varner Consistent on the Glass: Ashley Varner leads the Crusaders in rebounding on the season, averaging 6.4 boards per game, seventh best in the Horizon League. The junior has grabbed at least five rebounds in 12 of the 15 games this season.
Breaking Through on Offense: Valpo had not tallied more than 52 points in a game since December 5 against Central Michigan until pouring in 66 at Youngstown State on Thursday. After scoring just 22 first half points, Valpo tallied 44 in the second stanza.
Kenney Returns to Double Figures: Lauren Kenney scored 14 points at Youngstown State, her first double figure effort since starting the season with eight straight double figure contests.
Block Party: Ashley Varner registered three more blocked shots at Butler, matching a career high for the third time this year. Her 15 blocks this year have already surpassed her career total of 14 entering this year. As a team, Valpo has already blocked 37 shots in just 15 games, just nine shy of the team’s total from all of 2008-2009. Last year the Crusaders finished with just 45 blocks in 30 contests.
Keeping Them Off the Scoreboard: Valpo allowed just 39 points against Loyola (Chicago) on January 4, matching the sixth fewest points ever allowed by a Crusader team in the 39th year of the program’s existence. The 39 points were the fewest allowed since the team set the school record of 31 on December 30, 2005 against UMKC.
A Perfect Effort: Betsy Adams went a perfect 10-for-10 against Colorado State from the free throw line. Her performance against the Rams marked the fourth most makes without a miss ever at Valpo. Ironically, Adams went just 6-of-10 for the season at the line last year as a freshman.
Horizon League Player of the Weeks: Lauren Kenney was named the Horizon League’s Player of the Week on November 23 after leading Valpo to wins over SIU Edwardsville and Colorado State. The senior forward averaged 20.0 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game while registering double-doubles in both contests for the Crusaders. Ashley Varner then earned the honor on December 28 after scoring a career-high 23 points against Cincinnati. The junior made five three-pointers, three more than she had made in any previous game during her three years at Valpo, and also grabbed seven rebounds, a team high.
Kenney Earns Preseason Honors: Lauren Kenney was named to the Horizon League’s Preseason Second Team in the voting by the league’s head coaches, media, and sports information directors. The senior forward averaged 10.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per game for Valpo 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 16-14 overall and 10-8 during the league campaign, finishing fourth. Green Bay was selected to win the Horizon League title for the 12th consecutive season.
Freeman Among Winningest Active Coaches: Keith Freeman entered the 2009-2010 season ranked 42nd among all active Division I coaches for career victories. He has guided the Crusaders to more than 50% of the program’s victories all-time at Valpo.
Valpo Adds Four for Next Year’s Class: Head coach Keith Freeman has signed four players to National Letters of Intent for next year. Joining the Crusaders for the 2010-2011 season are: Maegan Callaway, a 6’0” center from Mooresville High School in Mooresville, Ind.; Tabitha Gerardot, a 6’0” forward from Canterbury High School in Fort Wayne, Ind.; Liz Horton, a 6’1” forward from Barr-Reeve High School in Cannelburg, Ind.; and Stefanie Lang, a 6’4” center from Valparaiso High School in Valparaiso, Ind.