Valparaiso (1-4, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #6: Friday, Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m. CST
at Evansville (3-2, 0-0 MVC)
Roberts Stadium (11,600) - Evansville, Ind.
Heritage Federal Credit Union Aces Classic First Round
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: After completing its first homestand of the season, Valparaiso returns to the road this weekend as the Crusaders travel to Evansville, Ind. for the Heritage Federal Credit Union Aces Classic. Valpo will battle the host Purple Aces of Evansville on Friday evening before facing Coastal Carolina or Central Michigan in Saturday’s championship or consolation game.
On the Air: Friday’s game will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) as well as online at www.valpoathletics.com. Keaton Gillogly and Renee’ Turpa will be calling all of the action live from the Athletics-Recreation Center. Live stats will be available through www.valpoathletics.com for the game as well.
Head Coach Keith Freeman: In his 17th season on the Valparaiso bench, Keith Freeman has a 270-206 (.567) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 399-253 (.612) career mark. He is Valpo’s all-time winningest coach and has amassed more than half of the victories in the program’s history.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Evansville will meet for the 11th time on Friday while renewing a series that began Dec. 4, 1981. The Crusaders and Purple Aces have each won five of the first 10 meetings played between the two schools, with the home team holding a 3-2 advantage in both cities. Valpo and Evansville have not met since Dec. 12,1998 in Evansville, where the Purple Aces scored a 71-51 win over the Crusaders. Valpo’s last win in the series came Dec. 21, 1997, a 74-64 triumph at the ARC in what was the fourth straight win in the series for the Crusaders.
Wrapping Up Cincinnati: Valparaiso shot just 29.2% from the floor in the first half while falling behind by 14 points at intermission before losing to the Bearcats 65-51 at the ARC on Sunday. The Crusaders cut the 14-point halftime deficit to four early in the second half, but an 18-3 run by Cincinnati followed and proved to be the difference. Tabitha Gerardot led the Crusaders with her first collegiate double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Shareese Ulis scored 19 points to pace the Bearcats.
Scouting Evansville: The Purple Aces return home Friday from a three-game road trip which concluded with a 77-67 win over Eastern Washington on Saturday at Colorado’s tournament. Samantha Heck leads the way for Evansville averaging 12.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game on the season while Meagan Collins adds 10.0 points per night. The Purple Aces are shooting 41.6% from the floor on the year but are holding its opponents to just 21.5% from three-point range. Evansville also forces 22.8 turnovers per contest.
Tournament Time Again: Valparaiso is set to participate in its second in-season tournament of the year this weekend at the Heritage Federal Credit Union Aces Classic. The Crusaders opened the year playing three games as part of the Preseason WNIT and are playing in two tournaments for the first time since 2008. That year Valpo won the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational played at Colorado State before splitting games in the Christmas City Classic hosted by Lehigh.
Freeman Seeking Win #400: Head coach Keith Freeman tries for the third time to record his 400th career victory on Friday evening when the Crusaders face Evansville. Freeman is in his 23rd season of coaching women and picked up win #300 back in 2004 against Oral Roberts. He just coached his 650th career game on Nov. 20 when the Crusaders fell to Lamar.
Double Trouble Time: Freshman Tabitha Gerardot recorded her first collegiate double-double on Sunday in the Crusaders’ loss to Cincinnati. She matched her season high with 10 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, five of which came on the offensive end. For the season Gerardot is averaging 7.4 points per contest, third on the team, and a team-leading 6.8 rebounds per game.
Making the Most of Her Minutes: Maegan Callaway has played limited minutes thus far this season, but leads the Crusaders in blocked shots. The freshman rejected her third shot of the year against Cincinnati on Sunday, despite having played just 42 total minutes this season. Callaway has also scored 20 points (4.0 per game) and grabbed 11 rebounds, including five on the offensive glass in her limited action.
Distribution Threats: Valpo has a pair of guards that rank in the top six in the Horizon League in assist-to-turnover ratio as well as the top-10 in assists. Skyler Gick has a team-leading 19 helpers (3.8 per game) after registering five assists against Cincinnati, and is sixth in the conference with a 1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. Laura Richards is averaging 3.2 assists per contest and is fifth in the Horizon League with a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Gick and Ray Post Season Highs: Skyler Gick and Rashida Ray both tallied season highs in the scoring column on Sunday against Cincinnati. Gick scored eight points after having scored seven twice already this year. Ray posted seven points for the Crusaders, one game after tallying six against Ball State.
Cutting Down Turnovers: Valpo committed a season-low 11 turnovers against Cincinnati on Sunday. The Crusaders had been averaging 21.2 miscues per game prior to facing the Bearcats.
Pencil in the Lineup: Coach Keith Freeman has been a model of consistency over the first five games of the season, starting the same combination in each game. Betsy Adams, Tabitha Gerardot, Gina Lange, Rashida Ray, and Laura Richards have all taken to the floor for the opening tip. Freeman has gone 10 players deep on the bench in all five games with Stephanie Thomas making it 11 deep in four of the five contests.
From Downtown: All 11 Crusaders that have seen the floor this season have already attempted at least one three-point field goal. Eight of the 11 players have drained a shot from beyond the arc, led by Betsy Adams who is shooting 44.4% from long range making 12-of-27.
Valpo Signs Three for 2011-2012: Coach Keith Freeman added three players for next year’s class that signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Brown and Gold beginning next fall. Joining the Crusader roster in 2011-2012 are Jessica Carr (5-7, G, Arcadia, Ind., Hamilton Heights H.S.), Mallory Ladd (6-0, F, Evansville, Ind./Memorial H.S.), and Shaquira Scott (5-10, G, Wilmette, Ill./Loyola Academy).
Crusaders to Have Tri-Captains: Head coach Keith Freeman has announced that the Crusaders will have tri-captains for the 2010-2011 season. Serving in that role are seniors Ashley Varner and Rashida Ray along with junior Betsy Adams.
No Relation Here: Despite having three Lang(e)’s on the roster, none of the three players are related to one another. Gina Lange returns for her sophomore season after arriving from Wyoming, Minn. and averaging 1.9 points and 1.5 rebounds per game while appearing 16 times as a freshman last year. Freshman Stefanie Lang is a local product from Valparaiso High School who earned Honorable Mention All-State accolades for the Vikings. Erika Lang joined the Crusader roster this fall as a walk-on. The freshman hails from Las Vegas, Nev.
Valpo Tabbed Ninth in Preseason Poll: Valparaiso was picked to finish in ninth place in the Horizon League preseason poll conducted of the league’s coaches, sports information directors, and media members. Finishing with 82 points, the Crusaders were just two points behind eighth place Wright State. Green Bay was picked to win the league followed by Butler and Detroit. Cleveland State and UIC shared the fourth spot with Milwaukee predicted to finish sixth and Loyola seventh. Youngstown State was picked last in this year’s preseason balloting.
Varner to Miss Season with ACL Injury: Valpo senior Ashley Varner will miss the 2010-2011 season due to an ACL injury she suffered during the fall. Varner would have been one the Crusaders’ top returning post players, but plans to use the season as a redshirt year now and return to the court for 2011-2012. Varner averaged 7.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Crusaders last year with a team-leading 17 blocked shots.
Freeman Among Winningest Active Coaches: Keith Freeman entered the 2010-2011 season tied for 43rd 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 and holds every one of Valpo’s coaching records. He is just one victory shy of reaching 400 for his career.
This and That: Betsy Adams’ next point will be the 450th of her career ... Valpo leads the Horizon League shooting 33.3% from three-point range ... six of Stefanie Lang’s nine rebounds this year have been offensive.