Crusaders Return Home Thursday to Host Loyola
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Crusaders Return Home Thursday to Host Loyola
Betsy Adams is one triple away from eighth all-time in a Crusader uniform. (Ray Acevedo)

Valparaiso (6-19, 3-10 Horizon)
Game #26: Saturday, February 17, 2011, 7:05 p.m. CST
vs. Loyola (Chicago) (11-12, 5-7 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.

Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso returns home to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Thursday evening seeking its third straight home win while trying to rebound from a pair of road setbacks last weekend in Ohio.  The Crusaders will host Loyola (Chicago) looking to sweep the season series from the Ramblers.

On the Air: Thursday’s game will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) as well as online at  Keaton Gillogly and Drew Taylor will be calling all of the action live from the Athletics-Recreation Center.  In addition, the game can be seen live online through the Horizon League Network.  Live stats will be available through for the game as well.

Head Coach Keith Freeman: In his 17th season on the Valparaiso bench, Keith Freeman has a 275-221 (.556) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold.  In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 404-268 (.601) 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 Loyola are meeting for the 19th time in a series that dates back to Feb. 22, 1994.  The Crusaders lead the all-time series against the Ramblers 16-2 after winning the season’s first meeting against Loyola, 65-58 on Jan. 22 in Chicago.  Valpo is a perfect 8-0 all-time against the Ramblers at the ARC, including a 48-39 win over Loyola last season.  Loyola’s last win in the series came March 4, 2010 in Chicago, a 62-61 triumph.

Wrapping Up Youngstown State: The Crusaders fell behind early and trailed by 10 points with just over a minute to play before rallying late, only to have a three-point attempt at the buzzer to tie go just long as the Penguins defeated Valpo 79-76 on Saturday afternoon in Youngstown, Ohio.  Tabitha Gerardot had career highs with 25 points and 13 rebounds for Valpo to lead four players scoring in double figures.  Ashley Timmerman added 15 points, including three triples.  Brandi Brown led the Penguins with 28 points while Kenya Middlebrooks added 23 more in the win.

Scouting Loyola:
The Ramblers had their two-game winning streak snapped at home on Saturday afternoon suffering a 69-43 setback to Green Bay.  Monica Albano leads Loyola scoring 16.1 points per game while shooting 38.2% from three-point range.  Ellen Ayoub adds 10.8 points per contest and leads the Ramblers grabbing 5.4 rebounds per night.  Loyola is outscoring teams by 29 points in the first half this year, only to be outscored 824-731 in the second stanza.  As a team the Ramblers are shooting 41.9% from the floor and committing just 16.7 turnovers per game.  Loyola has been outrebounded by 9.1 boards per contest on the year.

Earlier This Season vs. Loyola:
Valpo took the lead with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half on Jan. 22 in Chicago, and never fell behind the rest of the way while defeating the Ramblers 65-58.  Seven times Loyola pulled within one, but Valpo was able to score the next basket on each occasion.  Tabitha Gerardot led the Crusaders with 14 points while Betsy Adams, Laura Richards, and Ashley Timmerman each added 11 points.  Monica Albano led Loyola with 20 points.

Pink Zone Game Set for Saturday:
Valparaiso’s game against UIC on Saturday morning is its annual Pink Zone game.  The initiative, created by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), began in 2007 as a unified effort to raise awareness for breast cancer through women’s basketball, both on campuses and in communities.  All fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game in support of the initiative.  The women’s basketball team will be wearing special pink t-shirts during pregame warm-ups, and there will be giveaways for the first 200 fans in attendance.  Tip-off is set for 11:05 a.m.

Just Another Double-Double for Gerardot: Tabitha Gerardot recorded her third straight double-double, and eighth of her freshman season, on Saturday afternoon at Youngstown State.  Gerardot  is second on the team in scoring at 10.5 points per game, while leading the Crusaders with 7.5 rebounds per contest, a mark that ranks eighth in the Horizon League.

Career Night for Gerardot: Not only did Tabitha Gerardot tally her eighth double-double of the year at Youngstown State, but the rookie had career highs in scoring and rebounding.  She poured in 25 points, including 16 in the first half, to better her previous high of 17 points.  Gerardot also pulled down 13 rebounds to match a career best, the fourth time this year she has grabbed 13 boards.  The freshman also matched a career high with two steals.

Gick and Richards Also Match Season Bests: Skyler Gick and Laura Richards both lit up the scoreboard for season highs against the Penguins last Saturday.  Gick matched a season best with eight points, while also tying her season high with three steals.  Richards matched her career high pouring in 11 points, including a three-pointer to pull Valpo within one in the closing seconds.

Cutting Down on Turnovers: Valparaiso has committed 15 or fewer turnovers in three of its last four games.  The Crusaders gave the ball up just 12 times at  Youngstown State, the team’s second lowest total of the year.  On the year Valpo is averaging 17.7 turnovers per game, an average which has dropped to 15.8 during Horizon League play.

Free Throws are Key: Valpo has not won a game this season when the Crusaders shoot a worse percentage from the charity stripe than its opponent.

Lighting Up the Scoreboard:
Despite suffering a loss on Saturday at Youngstown State, the Crusaders scored a season-high 76 points against the Penguins.  The last time Valpo scored more than 76 points was in an 88-77 win at UIC on March 6, 2010.

From Deep: Betsy Adams and Ashley Timmerman rank as two of the top six Horizon League outside shooters this season.  Timmerman, a 38.9% shooter from three-point range, is third in the conference while Adams connects at 37.2% from beyond the arc, sixth best in the league.  Adams ranks third in the conference making 2.4 triples per night while Timmerman is 10th connecting on 1.7 per game.

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 her last 35 straight free throws dating back to the Coastal Carolina game on Dec. 4.  Three times this season she has been a perfect 6-for-6 from the line in a game, including each of the last two games at Cleveland State and at Youngstown State.  For the season Adams is connecting on 91.1% (51-of-57) from the free throw line, ranking second in the Horizon League.

Timmerman is Automatic: Ashley Timmerman has continued her perfection from the charity stripe on the season after making two technical free throws at Youngstown State.  The junior college transfer is now a perfect 24-for-24 in her Crusader career, including a game earlier this season against Coastal Carolina in which she made all eight free throws she attempted.  Timmerman was an 83% free throw shooter last year at Parkland College.

Adams Moves Into Ninth:
Betsy Adams has moved into ninth place in school history for three-pointers made.  She now has 139 career triples, passing Kathryn Knoester (2000-2004).  Next up on the list in eighth place is Heidi Diefenthaler (1992-1996) with 140, just one ahead of Adams.  Betsy Adams has already made 61 threes this season, three shy of her 64 last year which ranks 10th on the single season charts.  The junior guard has made at least one trey in 23 of the 25 contests this season, being shutout against just Cincinnati and Notre Dame, when she attempted just one shot in each game.

This and That: Valpo looks for three straight home victories for the first time since Nov. 14-22, 2009 when the Crusaders won three straight to open 2009-2010 ... Ashley Timmerman averaged 14.5 points per game on the road trip at Cleveland State and Youngstown State ... Tabitha Gerardot has had four straight games with double figure rebounding totals.