#9/9 NOTRE DAME (2-0, 0-0 Big East) at VALPARAISO (2-3, 0-0 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Wednesday, December 4, 2002, 7:05 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000), Valparaiso, Ind.
RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM), Valparaiso. Tim Harwood will provide the play-by-play, with Andrew Stem providing the color commentary.
TV: AT&T Cable. (Tape Delay). Dick Harlan and Paul Curtis broadcasting.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is led by Keith Freeman, who is in his 15th season of coaching, and 9th with the Crusaders. He is 268-143 overall and 139-96 with Valpo. Notre Dame is led by Muffet McGraw, who is 432-168 in her 21st season overall and 344-127 in her 16th season with the Fighting Irish.
SERIES RECORD: Notre Dame leads the overall series 15-0.
LAST MEETING: The Fighting Irish defeated Valpo 42-35 last year at Notre Dame in the Crusaders season opener. The Crusaders trailed by four at halftime and kept the game close throughout the second half, but poor free throw shooting (4-of-12 for the game) doomed Valpo down the stretch. Amber Schober led Valpo with ten points, while Teresa Borton scored a game-high 14 points for Notre Dame.
The Valparaiso Crusaders conclude their three-game homestand hosting ninth-ranked Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are the second nationally-ranked team the Crusaders have faced this season, having played Texas Tech last Wednesday.
HIGH SCORING OUTPUT: The 91 points Valpo scored against Concordia (Wis.) on Saturday afternoon were the most the Crusaders have scored in a game since posting 96 points against Quinnipiac in a 96-68 victory on December 29, 2000.
CAREER HIGHS WERE PLENTIFUL: Five of Valpo's 14 players set career highs in scoring against the Eagles of Concordia last Saturday afternoon. Kathryn Knoester had the biggest game for the Brown and Gold, tallying 20 points, including three three-pointers.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Jeanette Gray posted her seventh career double-double against Navy with her 11 points and 13 rebounds. The senior recorded four during her junior season and one as a sophomore.
KNOCKING THEM DOWN: Lauren Bechtold has looked like anything but a freshman at the free throw line in the early going. She has made all 11 of her attempts from the charity line, including going 5-for-5 against Miami (Ohio) in the opener.
BOMBS AWAY: Suzie Hammel made five three-pointers against Navy on her way to a game-high 17 points. The five triples were one off of her career high of six, which she has accomplished two previous times.
STEPPING UP AS A FRESHMAN: Jamie Gutowski tallied her second double-figure scoring day as a freshman with her 11 point performance against Navy. The rookie poured in 24 points against Fresno State in the Spartan Chevrolet Classic and currently is averaging 11.2 points per contest.
PLAYING AGAINST THE BEST: Notre Dame marks the fourth nationally-ranked team the Crusaders have played in the past two seasons. Valpo has already played Texas Tech this season, and faced Notre Dame and Purdue last year.
NOTRE DAME NOTES:
Notre Dame enters today's game ranked #9/9 in the latest USA Today Coaches poll and the Associated Press poll. The Fighting Irish opened the season with a pair of victories, downing Cleveland State 107-65 at home and USC 69-57 on the road.
Katy Flecky leads six players averaging in double-figures on the young season with 17.5 points per game. Jacquelin Batteast has posted 16.5 points per night along with a team-high 9.5 rebounds, while Teresa Borton is scoring 14.0 per contest.
Notre Dame has been on fire from the floor in the early going, shooting 58.1% from the field. The Fighting Irish are averaging 16 steals per game defensively, while forcing 20.5 turnovers per night and blocking 6.5 shots per game.
Tonight's game is the second of four straight road games for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish will head to Arizona State on Saturday afternoon.
DOWN THE ROAD: The Crusaders head to Indianapolis, Ind. on Saturday afternoon for the third annual Hoosier State Classic hosted by Butler. Valpo will face Ball State at 1 p.m. CST in the opening game, with the host Bulldogs battling Indiana State at 3 p.m. CST. Valpo will return home on Friday, December 13 to play DePaul in a 7:05 p.m. contest, before traveling to Loyola (Ill.) on Sunday, December 15 for a 1 p.m. game.