Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Kenney Leads Valpo Past Milwaukee on Crusaders' Senior Day
Lauren Kenney had a career-high 26 points in the win. (Ray Acevedo)
Lauren Kenney had a career-high 26 points in the win. (Ray Acevedo)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Junior Lauren Kenney (Mooresville, Ind./Mooresville H.S.) made Senior Day a special one for the four graduating members of the Valparaiso basketball team on Saturday afternoon, scoring 21 of her career-high 26 points in the second half as the Crusaders defeated Milwaukee 67-64 at the Athletics-Recreation Center to remain in fourth place in the Horizon League standings heading into the final weekend of play.

Prior to the game, Agnieszka Kulaga (Tarnow, Poland/I Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace H.S.), Aimee Litka (South Bend, Ind./Saint Joseph’s H.S.), Launa Hochstetler (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland H.S.), and Leah Hochstetler (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland H.S.) were honored for their contributions to the Valpo program.

“I’m so proud of our kids today,” head coach Keith Freeman said.  “It is so hard to come out and play on Senior Day.  Those four kids have poured their heart and sole into our program.”

Kenney had three straight “and-one” opportunities in the second half as Valpo rallied from a three-point halftime deficit.  It marks the just the second time in 11 tries this season the Crusaders have rallied after trailing at the break.

Milwaukee, up 29-26 at intermission, scored on its first possession of the second half, before Valpo went on a run.  A 10-2 spurt over a little more than five minutes, put the Crusaders on top for good.  Kenney scored six during the run while Kulaga added the other four, including capping the run with a jumper in the lane to make it 36-33 Valpo.

Kenney then went to work down low, drawing three straight fouls on Panther posts while converting lay-ins as the lead increased to 46-40 with 11:41 to play in the game.  An Litka split a pair of free throws to give Valpo a seven-point advantage before both teams went more than three-and-a-half minutes without scoring.  Kenney again scored inside to break the drought and put the Crusaders on top by nine.

After Milwaukee closed within five at the 6:31 mark, Kulaga answered with five straight, including a triple that increased the Brown and Gold’s advantage to double figures, 54-44, for the first time in the game.

The Panthers tried to claw back, but the Crusaders made 11 straight free throws down the stretch to secure the win, and assure the 17th .500 season in the last 19 years for the Valpo program.

Valpo seniors started the game strong, as Kulaga and Litka accounted for the game’s first seven points.  After the Panthers answered with an 8-2 run of its own, Valpo against scored seven straight to take a 16-8 lead eight minutes into the game.

Milwaukee went on a run late in the first half, closing the stanza with a 13-4 spurt over the final six minutes to take the halftime lead.

Kulaga finished the day with 17 points for her seventh straight game in double figures while Litka also had 12 for Valpo as three Crusaders finished in double digits.  Litka and Launa Hochstetler (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland H.S.) each finished with five assists, and for Hochstetler, she became the fifth player in school history to reach the 350 assist milestone, hitting the number on the button.

Kenney, in addition to her 26 points, had a team-high eight rebounds, including five on the offensive end.  She made 8-of-10 from the floor and converted on 10-of-12 from the free throw line.

“The big thing with Lauren is the five offensive rebounds,” said Freeman. “Those show that she’s active.  When she’s active, she spreads the defense.  She was the difference today.”

Lindsay Laur and Traci Edwards paced Milwaukee (12-16, 7-10 Horizon League) with double-doubles.  Laur finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds while Edwards, the league’s leading scorer, had 15 points and 12 boards.

Valpo committed just eight turnovers on the afternoon, making just two miscues in the final 20 minutes, to overcome an uncharacteristic 22.7% shooting night from three-point range.  The Crusaders were also outrebounded by the Panthers 43-30.

“This was a big game,” concluded Freeman.  “Milwaukee has been playing soundly the last few games.  Now we have to go on the road.  We control our own destiny (as to hosting a quarterfinal game).  At the end of the season, our best is needed.”

With the win, Valparaiso (15-12, 9-7), has assured itself of a first round bye in the Horizon League Tournament and will not play until the quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 9.  The Crusaders will take to the road for the final two games of the regular season, beginning on Thursday evening in Cleveland, Ohio with a 6 p.m. contest against the Vikings of Cleveland State.  The game can be seen live on the Horizon League Network and can also be heard on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso).

Game Notes: Valpo swept the season series with Milwaukee after losing three times to the Panthers a year ago, including in the quarterfinals of the Horizon League Tournament … the Panthers lead the all-time series 8-4 … Launa Hochstetler moved into a tie for 10th place all-time with 115 career games played at Valpo … Kulaga has moved into 15th place all-time in school history with 927 career points, passing Sarah Schmoyer (1992-1996) … Litka moved past Heidi Diefenthaler (1992-1996) into 17th place on the career scoring list with 906 points … Kulaga had two assists and becomes the 11th Crusader to reach 250 helpers for a career.

M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25 Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo