Valparaiso (3-11, 0-2 Horizon)
Game #15: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 1 p.m. CST
at Wright State (8-6, 1-2 Horizon)
Calihan Hall (11,019) - Dayton, Ohio
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso closes out its longest road trip of the 2010-2011 regular season on Saturday afternoon when the Crusaders head to the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio to battle Wright State. The Crusaders are looking to bounce back from a Thursday night loss at Detroit and pick up their first Horizon League victory of the season.
On the Air: Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) as well as online at www.valpoathletics.com. Chris Kleinhans-Schulz and Drew Taylor will be calling all of the action live from the Nutter Center. In addition, the game can be seen live online through the Horizon League Network. 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 272-213 (.561) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 401-260 (.607) 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 Wright State are meeting for the 17th time in a series that dates back to Feb. 5, 1990. The Crusaders hold a 10-6 all-time lead against the Raiders after the schools split a pair or contests last season. Valpo was a 59-52 winner at the ARC in January while Wright State earned a 54-51 victory at the Nutter Center one month later. The Crusaders are just 3-4 all-time in Dayton, having last won Jan. 27, 1994.
Wrapping Up Detroit: Valparaiso fell behind 15-2 just six minutes into the game and could not recover, falling 68-52 to the Titans on Thursday night in Detroit, Mich. Detroit’s first half lead grew to 22, 34-12, before a late run by Valpo pulled the Brown and Gold within 15 at the break. The Crusaders got as close as 11 in the second half, but could not get to within single digits. Betsy Adams and Stefanie Lang led Valpo with 15 points each. Lang scored 13 of her 15 in the second half. The Crusaders committed 19 turnovers though, and shot just 34.5% from the floor while the Raiders connected on 42.9% and had just 12 miscues.
Scouting Wright State: The Raiders have dropped two straight games after suffering a 70-58 setback at home against Butler on Thursday night. LaShawna Thomas leads Wright State in scoring, averaging 17.9 points per game on the season while Molly Fox adds 14.5 points per night. Fox is averaging a double-double on the year, adding 10.0 rebounds per contest. Courtney Boyd adds 10.6 points per game. As a team Wright State is shooting 40.3% from the floor on the year and outrebounding teams by 4.4 boards per contest. The Raiders are just 1-3 at home this season compared with a 7-3 mark on the road.
Another 15-point Night for Adams: Betsy Adams scored 15 points on Thursday evening at Detroit to share team-high honors. It was the ninth time in 14 games this season that the junior has tallied at least 15 points in a game. Adams leads the way for Valpo averaging 13.6 points per game, the ninth best scoring mark in the Horizon League this season.
Lang Produces in the Second Half: Stefanie Lang scored 13 of her career-high 15 points in the second half on Thursday night at Detroit. The freshman connected on 7-of-12 shots from the floor. Lang also pulled down a collegiate best with six rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end. Four of the six boards came on the offensive end of the floor.
Crusaders Also Improving at the Line: Valparaiso is just a 68.2% free throw shooting team on the season, but the Crusaders have been much better in the three games following Christmas break. Valpo has shot 75% in the contests against Eastern Illinois, Butler, and Detroit, its best three-game stretch this year. The Crusaders were better on a two-game stretch though, as against Coastal Carolina and IPFW the Crusaders connected on 84.6% (33-of-39).
Lange Consistent on the Boards: Gina Lange has been a model of consistency on the glass over the last seven games. The sophomore is averaging 4.7 rebounds per game over that stretch, pulling down either four or five boards in five of the seven games. In the other two contests during the stretch, Lange also averaged five rebounds per game, but after having zero against Notre Dame, she made up for it with 10 against Eastern Illinois.
Feast or Famine on the Boards: As a team, Valparaiso outrebounded Detroit by 10, 41-31, on Thursday night. In the four games the Crusaders have outboarded their opponents, three have been by at least 10 rebounds. However, when the Brown and Gold has been outrebounded, seven of the nine times it has been by nine boards or more.
Richards Gets to the Glass in League Play: Laura Richards pulled down six boards on Sunday in the Horizon League opener at Butler finishing second on the team in rebounding. She followed that effort up with five rebounds on Thursday at Detroit, also second most on the team for the game.
Just Another Double-Double for Gerardot: Tabitha Gerardot tallied her fifth double-double of her 14-game career after scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 boards against Eastern Illinois. The freshman also has double-doubles against Cincinnati, Evansville, Coastal Carolina, and Chicago State this year. The rookie is second on the team in scoring, at 9.9 points, while leading the Crusaders with 6.9 rebounds per contest, the 10th best mark in the conference. Her five double-doubles are tied for the fifth most in the Horizon League.
Defense is the Key: Valpo has won all three of its games this season when holding the opposition to fewer than 60 points in a game. On the year the Crusaders are surrendering 69.9 points per contest, but in the wins that number shrinks to just 55.7 per night.
Road Warriors: Valpo closed out 2010 and began 2011 with its longest road trip of the season. The Crusaders began the journey by wrapping up non-conference action with a win at Eastern Illinois before falling at Butler to open Horizon League play. Following a loss at Detroit on Thursday, Valpo closes the trip on Saturday afternoon against Wright State.
Adams From Deep: Betsy Adams has already made 33 triples this season after making 64 last year to rank 10th on the single season charts. The junior guard has made at least one trey in 12 of the 14 contests this season, being shutout against just Cincinnati and Notre Dame, when she attempted just one shot in each game. Adams has 111 career three-pointers, just eight triples shy of the all-time top-10 list in Crusader history.
Accepting Charity: After making just four of her first seven free throws this season, Betsy Adams has found her stroke at the charity stripe. The junior guard has made 25 of her last 27 attempts, including her last 13 straight, beginning with the Lamar game on Nov. 20. For the season Adams is connecting on 85.3% from the free throw line, the fourth best mark in the Horizon League.
Needing the Lead Early: Thus far this season the Crusader have not been able to overcome a halftime tie or deficit to pull out a win. On the other hand, when Valpo has led going into the locker room, the Brown and Gold is a perfect 3-0.
Still Able to Rally for the Win Though: Despite needing the lead at halftime to win so far this year, the Crusaders showed they were able to come from behind in all three contests. While Valpo led the entire second half against Austin Peay after trailing early in the game, the Brown and Gold came from nine points down with less than 12 minutes to play to post the overtime triumph against Coastal Carolina. Valpo also rallied from behind in the second half to defeat Eastern Illinois.
Big Crowd for Notre Dame: Valpo’s crowd of 1,877 fans on “Pack the ARC” night against Notre Dame was the largest Crusader home crowd since the Brown and Gold hosted the Fighting Irish in 2008. On Dec. 13, 2008, 2,046 fans saw the two schools separated by just 58 miles.
Super Woman: Betsy Adams never stepped off of the court on Dec. 8 against IPFW, playing all 40 minutes. It was the first time in the junior’s career she had not spent at least one minute on the bench. Adams’ career high for minutes played is 44 in an overtime contest one year ago at Detroit.
Adams Earns All-Tourney Honors: Betsy Adams was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Aces Classic. She averaged 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for the Crusaders.
Freeman Earns Win #400: Head coach Keith Freeman needed five extra minutes on Dec. 4, but they were well worth it as the Crusaders’ come-from-behind win over Coastal Carolina, 59-52, gave him his 400th career victory coaching women’s basketball. In his 23rd season on the sidelines, he 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.
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.
This and That: Valpo has used the same starting lineup in all 14 games this season ... Liz Horton pulled down four rebounds against Detroit after having four total during her first 11 games of the season ... Gina Lange has already played 388 minutes this year after just 130 total last season ... Valpo has made just nine three-pointers over the last two games after averaging 6.8 per game over the first 12 games of the year ... after the Wright State game, Valpo will not have another overnight road trip until Feb. 9-12 at Cleveland State and Youngstown State.