VALPARAISO (3-4, 0-0 Mid-Con) at IPFW (1-6, Independent)
WHEN: Wednesday, December 10, 2003, 5 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Memorial Coliseum (11,500), Fort Wayne, Ind.
RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM), Valparaiso, Ind. Andrew Stem will handle the play-by-play, while Brent Whitlock will provide color commentary.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is led by Keith Freeman, who is in his 16th season of coaching, and 10th with the Crusaders. He is 287-157 overall and 158-110 at Valpo. IPFW is led by Bruce Patterson, who is 260-149 in his 13th season overall and 14-48 in his 3rd season with the Mastodons.
SERIES RECORD: The all-time series between Valparaiso and IPFW is tied 4-4, with the first meeting coming during the 1976-1977 season.
LAST MEETING: The two schools have not met since January 19, 1984 when IPFW posted a 79-64 victory over the Crusaders in Fort Wayne.
The Valparaiso Crusaders, winners in three of their last four contests, will take to the road Wednesday evening for a game against IPFW at the Fort Wayne Coliseum.
DOUBLE (TRIPLE AND MORE) TROUBLE: Valparaiso placed five players in double-figures on Saturday afternoon against Butler in the Hoosier State Classic. Jenna Stangler led the way with a career high 22 points, while Meredith Baugher added 16 more. Jamie Gutowski scored 12 points, while Katie Boone and Suzie Hammel each chipped in ten a piece for the Brown and Gold.
BOONE DISHES THE ROCK: Katie Boone had stellar games distributing the ball over the past two contests. The junior point guard tied a career high dishing out nine assists while committing just two turnovers against Purdue. She followed that performance up with seven assists and just one giveaway against Butler.
ROUGH SCHEDULE: Valpo's first six games saw the Crusaders face four opponents that were ranked in the top-25 or receiving votes when the Crusaders played them.
PROTECTING THE BASKETBALL: Valpo has committed just 13.1 turnovers per game in the early going, despite the difficult schedule. The Crusaders committed just 12 turnovers against Purdue and gave the ball up only ten times against Butler.
HAMMEL ON FIRE: Suzie Hammel has caught fire from long-range over the past several games. She is second in the Mid-Con making 2.43 treys per contest, and is shooting 41.5% from outside the arc. She has scored in double-figures in each of her last four games, averaging 14.5 per game over the span.
QUEENS OF THE HOOSIER CLASSIC: Valpo posted its third straight win in the Hoosier State Classic on Saturday. The Crusaders 3-1 record all-time ties Indiana State's for best in classic history.
IPFW NOTES: IPFW returns home for the first time since November 25 on Wednesday evening to entertain the Crusaders. The Mastodons dropped their first five decisions of the season before defeating Akron on the road 55-54 on December 2. In their last outing, IPFW fell 91-68 at Bowling Green on Saturday.
Amy Gearlds leads the Mastodons in scoring, averaging 16.1 points per contest. The senior poured in a team-high 25 points against the Falcons on Saturday. She leads the team shooting 80% from the free throw line.
Verea Bibbs is also scoring in double-figures for IPFW. Scoring 13.7 points per game, she also is grabbing a team-best 9.4 boards per night. In the loss at Bowling Green, she scored 24 points on 12-of-14 shooting from the floor, and is shooting 58.8% from the field on the year.
IPFW is beginning a five-game homestand against Valpo, but will not take the court again until December 21 when the Mastodons host Utah State.