Wednesday, March 3, 2004
#2 VALPARAISO (17-11, 11-5 Mid-Con) vs #7 IUPUI (7-20, 4-12 Mid-Con)

WHAT: Hereford House Mid-Continent Conference Tournament Quarterfinal

WHEN: Saturday, March 6, 2004, 5 p.m. CST.

WHERE: Kemper Arena (18,646), Kansas City, Mo.

RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM), Valparaiso, Ind. Andy Viano will handle the play-by-play with Andrew Stem providing the color commentary.

TV: None.

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is led by Keith Freeman, who is in his 16th season of coaching, and 10th with the Crusaders. He is 301-164 overall and 172-117 at Valpo. IUPUI is led by Kris Simpson, who is 97-147 in her 9th season overall and with the Jaguars.

SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with IUPUI 14-3. The Crusaders have won six straight meetings between the two schools.

REGULAR SEASON MEETINGS: Valpo won both meetings with IUPUI this season. On January 6 at the ARC, Valpo posted a 67-49 win behind 14 points from Jamie Gutowski. Angela Dancy led the Jaguars with ten points. The rematch in Indianapolis on January 19 saw the Crusaders post a 75-52 victory as Suzie Hammel scored 22 points for the Brown and Gold. Kia Hayes led IUPUI with 17 points.

Valparaiso will begin defense of its Mid-Continent Conference Tournament title on Saturday evening as the Crusaders face IUPUI. Valpo, the tournament's number two seed, closed the regular season by winning six of its final seven games.

THREE STRAIGHT SEASONS IN TOP TWO: Valparaiso finished tied for second place in the Mid-Continent Conference for the second straight season, marking the third straight top-two finish for the Brown and Gold. Valpo won the regular season title in 2001-2002.

A WINNING TRADITION: Valpo has assured itself of its 13th winning season in the last 14 years. The only time the Crusaders have not finished over .500 during that span was in 2000-2001. Valpo's 17 wins thus far this season are the seventh most victories in a season in Crusader history.

DEFENSE: Valpo's defense has allowed just 55.4 points per game during league play, and allowed just one opponent, UMKC, to reach 70 points in a game. In fact, just four conference foes reached the 60-point mark against the Crusaders.

VALPO AMONG NATION'S BEST: The Crusaders currently rank 19th in the nation in fewest turnovers per game according to the March 2 NCAA rankings. Valpo has turned the ball over just 14.5 times per game. The Crusaders have also committed the 32nd fewest number of personal fouls of any team in the country (15.2/game). Individually, Suzie Hammel is 49th in the nation in three-point percentage (38.0%).

KNOESTER FINISHES ON A HIGH NOTE: Kathryn Knoester made the most of her final two regular season games for the Crusaders, averaging 17.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 4.0 steals per game during the final weekend. Against IPFW the senior scored a career high 21 points and registered a career best six steals, while adding 14 points and four assists against Chicago State.

HAMMEL BECOMES TENTH CRUSADER TO REACH 1,000: Suzie Hammel became the tenth Crusader in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau on February 2 at Western Illinois. She currently has tallied 1,051 points, ranking ninth on Valpo's all-time scoring list.

HAMMEL AND KNOESTER DRAIN TRIPLES: Suzie Hammel and Kathryn Knoester are both among the top-ten three point shooters all-time at Valpo. Hammel has made 231 career treys, and moved into second place in the career record books. Hammel is 33 shy of Lynda Kukla's total of 264 made from 1988-1992. Knoester has made 127 threes, sixth most in school history.

HAMMEL AMONG MID-CON'S BEST: Suzie Hammel has also moved into second place on the Mid-Continent Conference's career three-point chart. Her 231 triples trail just Brenda Doty's 262 triples for Buffalo from 1994-1997. Hammel's 645 career three-point attempts are the most all-time in league history.

TREY STREAK SNAPPED: Valpo failed to connect from three-point range on Nov. 21 at Notre Dame, ending the Crusaders streak at 122 straight games with at least one triple. Valparaiso's last game prior to Notre Dame without a three occurred at Purdue on November 23, 1999.

BOONE SHINES AT WSF CLASSIC: Katie Boone earned All-Tournament Team honors at the Women's Sports Foundation Classic after averaging 13.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game for the Crusaders. She shot 53.3% (8-of-15) from the floor, including a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range. She scored 14 points against Oregon and added 12 against Villanova, both team highs.

BOONE ALSO NAMED MID-CON PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior Guard Katie Boone not only was named to the WSF All-Tournament Team, but also was honored by the league office as the Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Week on November 19 for her efforts in Oregon.

HAMMEL EARNS MID-CON HONORS: Suzie Hammel was named the Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Week on December 16 after averaging 18.5 points per game and shooting 66.7% (10-of-15) from three-point range in a pair of games that week. She scored 19 points on 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc at IPFW and added 18 points with five treys against Loyola (Ill.).

KING OF COACHES: Valpo head coach Keith Freeman passed Ed DiGregorio (Youngstown State, 1992-2001) to become the all-time winningest coach in Mid-Continent Conference history when the Crusaders defeated IUPUI on January 19. Freeman now has 172 wins at Valpo, and also holds the conference record for games coached (289) and conference games coached (158). Freeman also has past DiGregorio for all-time conference victories with 103.

FREEMAN WINS 300: Valpo head coach Keith Freeman recorded the 300th victory of his career on February 28 against IPFW. In his 16th season of coaching, Freeman has posted a 301-164 record overall. Of that win total, 172 have come at Valpo, 85 at St. Joseph's (Ind.), and 44 at Huntington, Freeman's first school.

NO SET LINE-UP: Due to the numerous injuries and illnesses the Crusaders have suffered this season, not one player has started all 28 games for the Brown and Gold. In fact, only Suzie Hammel has started 27 of the games, the only player with more than 25 starts on the year. There are only five players total that have seen action in all 28 contests.

BOONE FIFTH ALL-TIME IN ASSISTS: Three current Crusaders rank among the top-10 in school history in assists. Katie Boone is 5th all-time with 337 assists. She now has her sights set on Shari Toelke's total of 340. Suzie Hammel is 6th on the career charts with 265 assists, while fellow senior Kathryn Knoester is eighth with 251 helpers.

CRUSADERS AMONG ACADEMIC ELITE: Valparaiso ranked ninth in the nation among Division I schools for grade point average during the 2002-2003 school year in the poll that was recently released by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. The Crusaders tallied a 3.394 team GPA last year, earning a top-25 ranking for the fifth straight season. Valpo also was one of just two teams (Kansas State) to earn an NCAA Tournament berth and be ranked among the top-25.

BRAUN SETS SCHOOL RECORD AT OAKLAND: Tamra Braun set a new school mark for shooting on January 3 at Oakland, going a perfect 10-for-10 from the floor. The freshman scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, both career bests. Her shooting mark bettered Robyn Lippert's 8-for-9 night against Western Michigan on December 12, 1990.

THREE AMONG VALPO'S ALL-TIME BEST THIEVES: Kathryn Knoester has moved into seventh place all-time with 160 steals during her stay at Valpo. Suzie Hammel and Katie Boone are eighth and tenth in the same category with 159 and 149 career swipes respectively.

KNOESTER SET TO TIE GAMES PLAYED RECORD: With an appearance in the quarterfinal against IUPUI, Kathryn Knoester will tie Jeanette Gray for the most games ever-played in a Crusader uniform. Her 121 games to date currently are the second most games played in Valpo history.

HAMMEL AMONG SINGLE-SEASON THREE-POINT SHOOTING: Suzie Hammel has moved into fifth place on Valpo's single season three-point list with 63 triples made this season. She finished with 65 as a sophomore (4th place), 52 as a junior (8th), and 51 as a freshman (tied for 9th), placing her in the top-ten every year of her career.

BRAUN CLOSING IN ON BLOCKS CHART: Freshman Tamra Braun has moved into eighth place on Valpo's single season block chart. She currently has 28 rejections on the year, just one shy of seventh place and three shy of sixth place.

VALPO RAINS THREES AS A TEAM: Valparaiso's current total of 173 three-point field goals are the fifth highest single-season total in school history. The Crusaders are just two shy of fourth place and nine shy of third.

NOW THAT'S DEFENSE: Valparaiso held Centenary to just eight first half points on February 7 in Shreveport, La. The Crusaders won the game 76-38.

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 20-2 record in league play at home over that time period, not losing more than one conference game at home per season.

IUPUI NOTES: IUPUI, the seventh seed, has dropped three straight and six of their last seven games. The Jaguars ended the regular season Monday at Western Illinois falling 79-49.

Kia Hayes leads the Jaguars offensively, scoring 13.8 points per game, which ranks sixth in the Mid-Continent Conference. Natalie Hendricks (11.1 ppg) and Jessica James (10.6 ppg) also are scoring in double figures for IUPUI. James also ranks 21st in the nation in free throw shooting, making 85.2% of her charity tosses.

Brooke McAfee is IUPUI's leading rebounder grabbing 6.0 boards per night. The sophomore also leads the country in blocked shots, rejecting 4.8 per night. The Jaguars are fifth in the nation as a team with 6.2 per game.

This is the third straight season IUPUI has been a seven seed at the tournament, dropping quarterfinal games each of the last two years.