ORAL ROBERTS (11-11, 5-6 Mid-Con) at VALPARAISO (14-10, 9-4 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Monday, February 16, 2004, 7:05 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000), Valparaiso, Ind.
RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM), Valparaiso, Ind. Andy Viano will handle the play-by-play with JR Radcliffe providing the color commentary.
TV: Comcast Cablevision Ch. 43-tape delay. Dick Harlan will handle the play-by-play, while Paul Curtis will provide color commentary. The game will air on Thursday, February 19 at 7 p.m.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is led by Keith Freeman, who is in his 16th season of coaching, and 10th with the Crusaders. He is 298-163 overall and 169-116 at Valpo. Oral Roberts is led by Jerry Finkbeiner, who is 311-144 in his 15th season overall and 111-111 in his 8th season with the Golden Eagles.
SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with Oral Roberts 11-5.
LAST MEETING: Oral Roberts nipped Valpo 67-66 back on January 10 in Tulsa. Jamie Gutowski and Betsy Rietema led the Crusaders with 15 points each, while Elisha Turek tallied 22 points and 14 rebounds for ORU.
Valparaiso will try to extend its winning streak to four games on Monday evening as the Crusaders entertain Oral Roberts. Valpo has won seven of its last nine games overall.
HOME COURT DOMINANCE IN THE MID-CON: The Crusaders have been dominating at the ARC against Mid-Continent Conference foes since the beginning of the 2001-2002 season. Valpo has posted an 18-2 record in league play at home over that time period, not losing more than one conference game per season.
FREEMAN CLOSES IN ON 300: Valpo head coach Keith Freeman needs just two more victories to join the 300 win club after registering triumph number 298 of his career on Saturday against UMKC.
VALPO AMONG NATION'S BEST: The Crusaders currently rank 20th in the nation in turnovers per game according to the February 10 NCAA rankings. Valpo has turned the ball over just 14.9 times per game. Individually, Suzie Hammel is 26th in the country in three-point percentage (41.2%), while ranking 40th in threes per game (2.4).
SHE'S ONLY A FRESHMAN: Freshman Betsy Rietema has become a major factor for the Brown and Gold, stepping in to a starting role when the Crusaders suffered a rash of injuries. In her last 12 games, the rookie has tallied nine double-figure scoring efforts, averaging 11.4 points per game during the span.
FRESHMAN PART 2: Another freshman has stepped up big over the last three games for the Crusaders as well. Tamra Braun has averaged 11.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game during the stretch. Her putback with 1.2 seconds remaining against UMKC lifted Valpo to a two-point victory.
DEFENSE: Valpo's defense has allowed just 55.9 points per game during league play, and allowed just one opponent, UMKC, to reach 70 points in a game.
ORU NOTES: Oral Roberts has dropped four of its last five games heading into this evening's contest with the Crusaders. The Golden Eagles dropped a 71-46 decision at Western Illinois on Saturday afternoon.
Freshman Elisha Turek leads the Golden Eagles in scoring and rebounding averaging 14.1 points and 9.0 boards per contest. She ranks third in the Mid-Continent Conference in scoring and second in rebounding on the year.
Cori Williston has returned after missing nine games with an injury and is the team's second leading scoring, pouring in 10.8 points per contest.
Leah Cannon is the third player Oral Roberts has averaging in double figures, tallying 10.4 points per outing. She also leads the Mid-Con dishing out 8.3 assists per night.
Following tonight's game, Oral Roberts will return home for three straight games beginning against Oakland on Saturday afternoon.