VALPARAISO (3-5, 0-0 Mid-Con) at LOYOLA (ILL.) (1-5, 0-0 Horizon)
WHEN: Sunday, December 15, 2002, 1:00 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Gentile Center (5,000), Chicago, Ill.
RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM), Valparaiso. Steve Rhodes will provide the play-by-play, with Scott Schraut providing the color commentary.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is led by Keith Freeman, who is in his 15th season of coaching, and 9th with the Crusaders. He is 269-145 overall and 140-98 with Valpo. Loyola is led by Mary Helen Walker, who is 30-60 in her 4th season overall and with the Ramblers.
SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads the series with the Ramblers 6-0.
LAST MEETING: Valparaiso defeated Loyola 81-65 in Chicago on December 21, 1999. Amber Schober led the Crusaders with 14 points and six rebounds in the game.
The Valparaiso Crusaders look to rebound from a 47-44 loss to DePaul on Friday evening as the Brown and Gold travels to Chicago to face Loyola (Ill.). The game will mark the final road contest for the Crusaders in the 2002 calendar year.
RECORD SETTING NIGHT: Suzie Hammel shot lights out against Ball State from three-point range. The junior guard tied Lynda Kukla's school record with eight treys. Hammel made her first seven of the second half and went 8-for-11 on the game. The eight made ties her with three others for the most treys made in a game this season in Division I.
AMONG THE NATION'S LEADERS: Entering this week's action, Suzie Hammel was 28th in the nation with 3.0 three-point field goals made per game. The Crusaders as a team ranked 40th in the country in turnovers committed. Valpo has taken care of the ball thus far this season, coughing it up just 16.4 times per night.
BAUGHER GRABS CAREER HIGH: Meredith Baugher pulled down a career high seven rebounds for the Crusaders against DePaul. The sophomore forward is averaging 4.1 boards per contest.
KNOCKING THEM DOWN: Lauren Bechtold has looked like anything but a freshman at the free throw line in the early going. She currently leads the Mid-Con in free throw percentage at 93.3% (14-of-15). The rookie made her first 12 in a row before missing against Notre Dame.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: DePaul was the fourth team Valparaiso has played already this season that participated in postseason action last year. The Blue Demons competed in the WNIT alongside Valpo. The Crusaders have also played NCAA Tournament teams Texas Tech and Notre Dame, along with WNIT participant Ball State.
GRAY NEARS 1,200/600: Jeanette Gray surpassed the 1,200 point plateau on Friday evening with her 13 point effort. She now has 1,206 career points. The senior is also approaching the 600 rebound mark, needing just six more boards to reach that achievement.
LOYOLA NOTES: Loyola enters the game after an eight day layoff. The Ramblers dropped a pair of contests at the DePaul Tournament. The Ramblers fell to DePaul 87-59 and Boston University 64-54.
The Ramblers are led offensively by Ciara Henderson, who has tallied 15.3 points per contest in the early going. She has made 15 three-pointers in six games and is tied for the team lead with eight steals.
Sarah Hamilton is averaging 10.4 points per night, while Maggie Toczylowski is tallying 10.2 points and a team-leading 6.7 rebounds per game. Toczylowski recorded a double-double, 13 points and 11 boards, against Boston University.
The Ramblers have knocked down most of their free throws thus far this season, shooting 78.8%. Loyola will head to California after the game for a pair of contests before the holidays, at Santa Clara on Tuesday and at San Jose State on Thursday.
DOWN THE ROAD: The Crusaders will return to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Saturday, December 21 for their final two games of the 2002 calendar year. Valpo will entertain Indiana Wesleyan in a 2:05 p.m. contest on the 21st and host Lehigh at 2:05 p.m. on December 29. The Crusaders will open 2003 at Jacksonville on January 3.