#10 Valparaiso (7-23, 4-14 Horizon)
Game #31: Monday, March 7, 2011, 6 p.m. CST
at #7 Detroit (12-17, 6-12 Horizon)
Calihan Hall (8,295) - Detroit, Mich.
Horizon League Championships - First Round
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: The second season starts for Valparaiso on Monday evening as the Crusaders begin action in the first round of the Horizon League Championships at Calihan Hall in Detroit, Mich. against the Detroit Titans. The Crusaders and Titans split the two regular season meetings and the winner will advance to the quarterfinals on Wednesday to face Butler.
On the Air: Monday’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 276-225 (.551) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 405-272 (.598) 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 Detroit are meeting for the 13th time in a series which dates back to Feb. 20, 1989, but this will be the first meeting against one another in postseason play. The Titans hold a 7-5 series advantage but the series is tied 3-3 in Calihan Hall. During the 2010-2011 regular season, the two sides split their meetings. Detroit was a 68-52 winner in the Motor City on Jan. 6 while the Crusaders snapped the Titans’ four-game series winning streak with a 57-46 win at the ARC on Feb. 5.
Wrapping Up Butler: Valpo closed the regular season Saturday with a 58-47 Senior Day setback against the Bulldogs at the ARC. The Crusaders shot just 26.4% from the floor and committed 19 turnovers in the loss. The Brown and Gold trailed by just one with under 10 minutes to play, but went without a field goal for the final 7:50 of the game. Betsy Adams led Valpo with 10 points while Tabitha Gerardot added 10 boards. Alyssa Pittman led Butler with 18 points while Brittany Bowen scored all 16 of her points in the second half.
Scouting Detroit: The Titans closed the regular season losing four of their last five games following a 68-48 loss at home against Green Bay on Saturday afternoon. Detroit posted a 6-7 record at Calihan Hall this year, but were just 2-7 against league foes at home. Horizon League All-Newcomer Team selection Dominique Dixon leads the Titans offensively averaging 12.4 points per game while Yar Shayok adds 9.7 points and a conference-leading 10.5 rebounds per contest. As a team Detroit shoots 37.8% from the floor, but just 28.4% from three-point range and 63.7% from the free throw line.
Earlier This Season vs. Detroit: Valpo fell behind 34-12 just 16 minutes into the game and was never able to battle back as the Titans downed the Crusaders 68-52 on Jan. 6 at Calihan Hall. Betsy Adams and Stefanie Lang led Valpo with 15 points while Cherridy Thornton led four Titans in double figures with 18 points. In the rematch at the ARC on Feb. 5, Valpo used a 13-0 run midway through the second half to post a 57-46 victory over the Titans after trailing by three at halftime. Tabitha Gerardot led the Brown and Gold with 15 points while Dominique Dixon scored 12 to pace Detroit.
Against the Titans: Valpo outrebounded Detroit by an average of six boards per game in the two regular season meetings and shot 37.6% from the floor. The Crusaders were just 7-of-35 (20%) from beyond the arc though. Stefanie Lang paced the Brown and Gold averaging 11.5 points per game in the two meetings. Detroit shot just 32.2% from the field against the Crusaders, including 24.1% from long range in the first two contests.
Looking for the First Tournament Win: Valparaiso has never won a Horizon League Tournament game since joining the conference prior to the 2007-2008 season. Valpo lost quarterfinal games at Milwaukee and at home against Wright State the first two seasons in the conference before falling again to Milwaukee, 71-57 at home last year in a first round game.
Gerardot Named to All-Newcomer Team: Freshman Tabitha Gerardot earned a spot on the Horizon League’s All-Newcomer Team when the conference announced its postseason awards. The six-foot post averaged 10.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game during the regular season for the Crusaders and tallied nine double-doubles. She was the first Crusader since Lauren Kenney in 2008-2009 to earn a spot on the All-Newcomer Team.
Last Year’s Tournament Leaders: Betsy Adams and Rashida Ray are Valpo’s top returning scorers from last year’s tournament loss to Milwaukee, each scoring six points in that game. Kelly Watts is the team’s top returning rebounder from that contest having pulled down four boards.
Lange Crashed the Offensive Glass: Gina Lange was a force on the offensive boards for the Crusaders against Butler on Saturday, helping Valpo grab 19 total offensive rebounds which led to 20 second chance points. Lange pulled down seven of her nine boards on the offensive end of the floor and all three of her field goals in the game came on second chance opportunities.
Defense Leads the Way: In Valpo’s victories, the Brown and Gold’s defense held opponents to just 57.6 points per game and a 34.3% field goal shooting percentage, including just a 23.4% clip from three-point range. In the Crusaders’ losses, opponents have averaged 71.5 points per game and shot 43.7% from the floor, including a 34.3% mark from beyond the arc.
Quite an Improvement: Valpo shot just 67.6% from the free throw line during non-conference play but increased the mark by more than seven percent to 74.8% against league foes. For the year the Crusaders are shooting 71.7% at the charity stripe.
Ray Shoots Lights Out at Milwaukee: Rashida Ray made seven three-point field goals on eight attempts against Milwaukee on Feb. 26. 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 at Milwaukee on Feb. 26. 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.
From Beyond the Arc: As a team Valparaiso has already made 209 three-point field goals on the season, the fourth highest total in program history. The Crusaders are one triple 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 620 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.
Adams Moves Into Eighth All-Time: Betsy Adams has moved into a tie for seventh place in school history for three-pointers made. She now has 145 career triples, matching Megan Newcomer (1996-2000). Next up on the list in sixth place is Jamie Gutowski (2002-2006) with 151, just six ahead of Adams.
Moving Up the Single Season Charts: Betsy Adams has already made 67 three-pointers this season, moving into eighth place on the school’s single season charts, passing Aimee Litka’s total in 2008-2009. Adams is just one triple shy of Lynda Kukla (1989-1990), Suzie Hammel (2003-2004), and Aimee Litka (2007-2008) for fifth place as the trio all had 68 threes in a season.
From Deep: As a team Valparaiso ranks 33rd nationally making 7.1 three-point field goals per game. Individually, Ashley Timmerman is fifth in the conference connecting on 38.3% of her triple tries while Betsy Adams is fifth in the league making 2.2 treys per game. Adams also ranks ninth in the Horizon League connecting at a 36.0% clip from long range while Rashida Ray has moved into 10th place in the conference shooting 35.2% from beyond the arc.
Quite A Streak: Betsy Adams saw her consecutive made free throw streak come to an end on Saturday, March 5 against Butler after the junior had connected on 44 consecutive attempts. Adams’ streak began on Dec. 4 against Coastal Carolina. For the season Adams is connecting on 90.9% (60-of-66) from the free throw line, the second best shooting percentage in the Horizon League.
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. Her nine double-doubles are tied for fifth most in the conference this year.
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.
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.
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 Have Tri-Captains: Head coach Keith Freeman has announced that the Crusaders 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.
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: Stephanie Thomas made her first collegiate start for the Crusaders on Saturday against Milwaukee on Senior Day ... Valpo’s last conference tournament victory came on March 3, 2007 in the semifinals of the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament, a 60-45 win over Southern Utah ... Valpo has not won a game this year when the opponents score more than 70 points.