Game #17: Jan. 21, 2010, 7:05 p.m. CST
Detroit (6-10, 4-1 Horizon)
at Valparaiso (5-11, 2-3 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: After playing 10 of their last 13 games away from home, Valparaiso returns to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Thursday evening to face second place Detroit in Horizon League action. Five of the Crusaders’ next seven contests will take place at the ARC as Valpo nears the midway point in the conference slate.
On the Air: Thursday’s game against Detroit can be viewed live online through the Horizon League Network. WVUR’s Mike Targonski and Peter Berg will call all of the action live from the Athletics-Recreation Center. Thursday’s game will not be broadcast on the radio. Live stats will be available through www.valpoathletics.com though.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Detroit are meeting for the ninth time in a series that dates back to 1989 with each school winning four of the previous eight contests. The Titans lead the series at the ARC 3-1 after posting a 62-47 victory in Valpo on February 6 of last season, the last meeting between the two schools. The Crusaders won the first meeting last year, 70-65 in overtime on January 10, in the Motor City.
Head Coach Keith Freeman: In his 16th season on the Valparaiso bench, Keith Freeman has a 265-192 record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 22nd season overall, Freeman has a 394-239 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 Cleveland State: Led by Raegan Moore’s career high 20 points, Valparaiso had four players score in double figures, but just came up short on Saturday afternoon, falling to the Vikings 71-68 in Cleveland, Ohio. Valpo made eight first half three-pointers and shot 53% from the floor in the opening stanza, but struggled shooting to start the second half as the Vikings made their run. Shawnita Garland led Cleveland State with 24 points.
Scouting Detroit: The Titans have won five of their last six games following a 53-50 victory at home against Loyola on Saturday. Brigid Mulroy leads Detroit averaging 14.3 points per game. The senior guard is shooting 51.5% from beyond the arc, third best in the country, and is 12th in Division I making 3.1 triples per contest. Yar Shayok adds 11.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game for the Titans.
A Balanced Scoring Attack: Valparaiso had four players tally double figures for the third time this season on Saturday afternoon at Cleveland State. Raegan Moore led the way with 20 points while Betsy Adams added 14 more for the Brown and Gold. Kelly Watts (12) and Whitney Farris (11) each tallied double digits as well for the Crusaders. The Brown and Gold also had four score in double figures against Indiana Tech and Ball State this season.
Watts Gets to the Boards: Kelly Watts has pulled down 10.8 rebounds per game in Horizon League action through the first five games for the Crusaders. She grabbed eight more caroms on Saturday at Cleveland State, and has also had games of 16, 15, and 10 boards against conference foes. She has 54 rebounds in the five league contests after grabbing just 41 total in the first 11 non-conference games of the season.
An All-Around Career Day: Raegan Moore registered numerous career highs on Saturday at Cleveland State in addition to her 20 points. The freshman grabbed five rebounds and had two steals, both season bests, while making six free throws and six field goals, also both highs for Moore since arriving at Valpo.
Cleaning the Glass: Valpo leads the Horizon League with a +6.0 rebounding margin since Horizon League play began in early January. The Crusaders have outrebounded every league foe except for Butler, as the Bulldogs grabbed only one more rebound than the Brown and Gold. In league play the Crusaders have hauled in nearly 73% of every missed shot by opponents, tops in the conference.
Defending the ARC: The Crusaders are allowing Horizon League opponents to shoot just 23.5% from three-point range thus far in the conference campaign. Only Butler (31.3%, 5-of-16) has shot better than 28% against Valpo among league foes.
Taking Care of the Basketball: Laura Richards ranks third in the Horizon League with a 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio this season. She registered back-to-back seven assist contests against Youngstown State and Cleveland State on the recent road trip, and leads all conference players with a 3.0 assist-to-turnover ratio during league action. She has made just six miscues in five conference games while committing just 21 total turnovers on the 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 last Thursday. The Crusaders added a 68-point effort on Saturday at Cleveland State, marking their highest scoring output for back-to-back games this season.
Adams Among Nation’s Leaders: Betsy Adams ranks 26th in all of NCAA Division I making 2.8 three-pointers per game this season. Her total is third best in the Horizon League as well.
Block Party: Ashley Varner registered another blocked shot at Cleveland State, giving her 16 blocks this year. She has already surpassed her career total of 14 entering this year. As a team Valpo has already blocked 38 shots in just 16 games, just seven 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.