SOUTHERN UTAH (7-8, 0-3 Mid-Con) at VALPARAISO (8-7, 1-1 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Monday, January 20, 2003, 7:05 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000), Valparaiso, Ind.
RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM), Valparaiso. Drew Wolf will provide the play-by-play, with Andy Viano adding 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 274-147 overall and 145-100 with Valpo. Southern Utah is led by Joe Hillock, who is 86-92 in his 7th season overall and with the Thunderbirds.
SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads the overall series with the Thunderbirds 7-3 and has won the last two meetings.
LAST SEASON: The Crusaders downed Southern Utah twice last season. In the first meeting in Cedar City, Amber Schober scored 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting in a 77-59 Crusader victory. Sally Johnson led the Thunderbirds with 15 points. In the rematch at the ARC, Jeanette Gray tallied 15 points for the Brown and Gold in a 57-48 victory. Caroline Heaton led Southern Utah with 20 points.
The Valparaiso Crusaders close out their three-game homestand on Monday evening hosting Southern Utah. The Crusaders are coming off of a 66-50 victory over Chicago State on Saturday.
BAUGHER HAS A CAREER DAY: Meredith Baugher had a career afternoon on Saturday against Chicago State. The sophomore recorded her first career double-double tallying collegiate bests in both categories. She scored 18 points and grabbed 12 boards, while adding two assists, two steals, and a block.
GRAY NEARS 650 BOARDS: Jeanette Gray who has already moved into third place on the Crusaders all-time scoring charts also continues to climb the rebounding list. The senior has tallied 645 boards, seventh in Valpo history. She is just 32 shy of moving all the way up to third on the charts.
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: Valpo's defense has turned up the pressure on its opponents over the last month. The Crusaders have played eight straight games in which they have not allowed opponents to reach the 60 point mark, and have allowed an average of just 50.0 points per game during the span beginning December 13 against DePaul.
KNOCKING THEM DOWN: Jamie Gutowski maybe a freshman, but she is anything but a rookie at the free throw line. She ranks second in the conference from the charity stripe, making 84.1% of her tosses on the season. She leads Valpo in trips to the line and makes, converting on 37-of-44 attempts from the stripe.
HAMMEL AMONG NATION'S BEST: Suzie Hammel ranked 26th in Division I connecting on 2.8 three-point attempts per game when the latest leaders came out last Tuesday. The mark ranks her second in the Mid-Continent Conference. She is shooting 36.7% from downtown this season on 40-of-109shooting beyond the arc.
TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL: Valparaiso's offense has protected the basketball for most of the season. The Crusaders lead the conference in turnover ratio (+4.4) and have turned the ball over just 16.3 times per game on the season.
SOUTHERN UTAH NOTES: Southern Utah visits the Athletics-Recreation Center looking for their first victory in Mid-Continent Conference action. The Thunderbirds have dropped three straight contests, including a 82-35 loss at Western Illinois on Saturday afternoon.
Casey Cooke leads Southern Utah averaging 12.1 points per contest. The team's leading scorer in eight games this season, the junior college transfer is averaging nearly 35 minutes of action per night.
Lacey Yates in the only other Thunderbird averaging in double-figures in the scoring column. The 6'1" forward is tallying 10.5 points and a team-leading 8.0 rebounds per contest.
The Thunderbirds return just three letterwinners from last year's squad. They opened this season with nine straight home games and are playing just their fourth road contest of the year against the Crusaders.
Southern Utah returns home after the game to play three straight, beginning with Chicago State on Saturday.
DOWN THE ROAD: The Crusaders will take to the road for their next two contests following the Southern Utah game. On Saturday, the Brown and Gold will head to Rochester, Mich. to battle the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in a 2:30 p.m. CST match-up. One week from today, Monday, January 27, Valpo will play IUPUI in Indianapolis at 6 p.m. CST. The Crusaders will return to the ARC on February 1 for a 2:05 p.m. game against UMKC.