Women's Hoops Hosts Butler Saturday for Senior Day
Friday, March 4, 2011
Women's Hoops Hosts Butler Saturday for Senior Day
Kelly Watts is one of three seniors being honored on Saturday. (Ray Acevedo)

Valparaiso (7-22, 4-13 Horizon)
Game #30: Saturday, March 5, 2011, 1:35 p.m. CST
vs. Butler (17-12, 11-6 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.

Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso closes out the 2010-2011 regular season on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders host longtime instate rival Butler at the Athletics-Recreation Center.  Both teams are battling for seeding in next week’s Horizon League Championship and Valpo’s three seniors will be honored prior to the game as part of the annual Senior Day festivities.

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 Renee’ Turpa 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 www.valpoathletics.com for the game as well.

Head Coach Keith Freeman: In his 17th season on the Valparaiso bench, Keith Freeman has a 276-224 (.552) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold.  In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 405-271 (.599) 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 Butler are meeting for the 25th time in a series in which the Bulldogs lead 19-5 dating back to Feb. 11, 1980.  Butler has won three straight in the series after posting a 61-49 victory over the Crusaders down at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. on Jan. 2.  The Bulldogs also won 66-52 at the ARC last year.  Valpo’s last win in the series came Feb. 21, 2009 at the ARC, 75-65.

Wrapping Up Milwaukee: The Crusaders held a six-point lead with just under two minutes to play last Saturday in Wisconsin, but Lindsay Laur scored seven points down the stretch for the Panthers, including the game-winning jumper with 5.0 seconds remaining as Milwaukee downed Valpo 70-69.  Rashida Ray scored a career-high 21 points, making 7-of-8 three-pointers, while Tabitha Gerardot added 12 points.  Skyler Gick and Maegan Callaway both had season highs for the Brown and Gold as well with 10 points each.  Courtney Lindsfors led Milwaukee with 18 points while Laur and Anne Breland added 13 points each.

Scouting Butler: The Bulldogs have lost two straight and five of their last eight games overall following a 93-57 loss at Green Bay last Saturday.  Butler is fighting to hold on to second place in the conference standings as the season concludes.  Brittany Bowen leads the Bulldogs averaging 15.4 points per game while grabbing 6.3 rebounds per night.  Chloe Hamilton, a 59.1% shooter from the floor, adds 14.4 points and a team-high 6.9 boards per game while Alyssa Pittman scores 11.6 points.  Butler is shooting 41.8% from the floor on the year while outrebounding teams by three boards per night.

Earlier This Season vs. Butler: A 10-0 Bulldog run early in the second half proved to be too much for the Crusaders on Jan. 2 as Valpo dropped its Horizon League opener 61-49 in Indianapolis.  Butler held Valpo to just 32.1% shooting from the floor, including a 22.2% clip from long range.  Betsy Adams led Valpo with 14 points while Brittany Bowen had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs.

The Horizon League Tournament Picture: Valparaiso can still earn the eighth, ninth, or tenth seed in next weeks conference tournament.  The other game that influences Valpo’s seed is the Loyola at Youngstown State contest.  If YSU wins and Valpo wins, the Crusaders finish as the eight seed.  If YSU wins and Valpo loses, Valpo will be the 10 seed.  If Loyola defeats the Penguins, Valpo will be the nine seed regardless of the Crusaders’ outcome.

Thanks Seniors: Saturday’s game against Butler marks the final home regular season appearance at the ARC for Valpo’s three seniors.  Rashida Ray, Stephanie Thomas, and Kelly Watts will all be honored prior to the Senior Day game.

Ray Shoots Lights Out at Milwaukee: Rashida Ray had her best collegiate game last Saturday at Milwaukee, scoring a career-high 21 points.  The senior guard made seven three-point field goals on eight attempts.  Her seven triples matched the fourth highest total in school history for a single game, while Ray’s 87.5% shooting from long range set a new school percentage record for players with a minimum of seven attempts in a game.

Dialing Long Distance: Rashida Ray was just part of Valpo’s hot shooting afternoon from three-point range on Saturday at Milwaukee. The Crusaders finished the game 11-for-16 from beyond the arc, with the 68.8% shooting tying for the second best percentage in school history (minimum 10 attempts).  Valpo drained 9-of-12 tries in the first half.

Watts Crashes the Boards: Kelly Watts got to the glass with authority for the Crusaders last Saturday against the Panthers.  The senior post pulled down a season-high nine rebounds in 20 minutes of action.

New Scoring Producers: Skyler Gick and Maegan Callaway both tallied double figures in the scoring column for the first time this season at Milwaukee last Saturday.  With the duo each scoring 10 points, Valpo has now had 10 different players tally double figures on the year.  Gick’s 10 points were a season high while Callaway registered a career best.

From Beyond the Arc: As a team Valparaiso has already made 205 three-point field goals on the season, the fourth highest total in program history.  The Crusaders are five triples shy of the 2006-2007 team for third place on the all-time charts.  The school record for threes in a season is 224 set by the 1991-1992 team and matched in 2007-2008.  The Brown and Gold’s 604 attempts on the year already are also third most all-time.  Only the 1991-1992 team with 676 triple tries and the 2007-2008 team with 631 attempts, have shot more in a season.

Double Trouble: Tabitha Gerardot may only be a freshman, but she has made an immediate impact on the Crusader roster.  The rookie has registered nine double-doubles this season, including four in Horizon League play.  Gerardot is averaging 10.8 points per game, second on the team, while pulling down a team-leading 7.4 rebounds per night.  Her nine double-doubles are tied for fifth most in the conference this year.

Adams Moves Into Eighth All-Time: Betsy Adams has moved into eighth place in school history for three-pointers made.  She now has 144 career triples, passing Heidi Diefenthaler (1992-1996).  Next up on the list in seventh place is Megan Newcomer (1996-2000) with 145, just one ahead of Adams.  Jamie Gutowski (2002-2006) is just seven threes ahead of Adams in sixth place with 151 for her career.

Moving Up the Single Season Charts: Betsy Adams has already made 66 three-pointers this season, moving into a tie for eighth place on the school’s single season charts, sharing the spot with Aimee Litka in 2008-2009.  Adams is just two triples shy of Lynda Kukla (1989-1990), Suzie Hammel (2003-2004), and Aimee Litka (2007-2008) for fifth as the trio all had 68 threes in a season. 

From Deep: As a team Valparaiso ranks 34th nationally making 7.1 three-point field goals per game, a mark which also ranks third in the Horizon League.  Individually, Ashley Timmerman is fifth in the conference connecting on 37.8% of her triple tries while Betsy Adams is third in the league making 2.3 treys per game.  Adams also ranks 10th in the Horizon League connecting at a 36.3% clip from long range.

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 37 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 Horizon League games at Cleveland State and at Youngstown State.  For the season Adams is connecting on 91.4% (53-of-58) from the free throw line.

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 matched a season-low with only eight turnovers at Milwaukee last Saturday, also committing just eight miscues against Loyola (Chicago) nine days prior on Feb. 17 ... Skyler Gick matched her career high against the Panthers with seven assists while committing just two turnovers ... Valpo had four players tally double figures against Milwaukee (Rashida Ray-21, Tabitha Gerardot-12, Skyler Gick-10, Maegan Callaway-10) ... Valpo has won on Senior Day 13 of the last 14 years.