Friday, February 27, 2004
IPFW (8-19, Independent) at VALPARAISO (15-11, 10-5 Mid-Con)

WHEN: Saturday, February 28, 2004, 2:05 p.m. CST.

WHERE: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000), Valparaiso, Ind.

RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM), Valparaiso, Ind. Baron Brendel 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 299-164 overall and 170-117 at Valpo. IPFW is led by Bruce Patterson, who is 267-162 in his 13th season overall and 21-61 in his 3rd season with the Mastodons.

SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with Southern Utah 5-4.

LAST MEETING: Valparaiso downed the Mastodons 86-60 back on December 10 in Fort Wayne, Ind. Suzie Hammel led four Crusaders in double figures with 19 points, while Jenna Stangler added 18 more. Geneva Murdock led the Mastodons with 20 points and seven rebounds.

Valparaiso steps out of Mid-Continent Conference action on Saturday afternoon to entertain IPFW on Senior Day beginning the final homestand of the 2003-2004 season for the Crusaders. The Brown and Gold is looking to rebound from a loss at Southern Utah last Saturday.

FREEMAN CLOSES IN ON 300: Valpo head coach Keith Freeman is going after his 300th career victory for a second time against IPFW. In his 16th season of coaching, Freeman has posted a 299-164 record overall. Of that win total, 170 have come at Valpo, 85 at St. Joseph's (Ind.), and 44 at Huntington, Freeman's first school.

VALPO AMONG NATION'S BEST: The Crusaders currently rank 22nd in the nation in turnovers per game according to the February 24 NCAA rankings. Valpo has turned the ball over just 14.7 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 36th in the country in three-point percentage (38.8%).

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 time was in 2000-2001. Valpo's 15 wins thus far this season currently rank tenth in Crusader history for victories in a year.

DEFENSE: Valpo's defense has allowed just 56.0 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 have even reached the 60-point mark.

KUIKHOVEN HAS CAREER NIGHT: Mayella Kuikhoven came in off of the bench and provided a big spark for the Crusaders at Southern Utah. In just 13 minutes of action, the sophomore tied her career high with 15 points and also led the Brown and Gold with five rebounds.

IPFW NOTES: IPFW will conclude its 2003-2004 season this afternoon here in Valparaiso. The Mastodons snapped a seven-game losing skid on Monday evening with an 82-69 triumph over Wright State in Fort Wayne.

The Mastodons have three players averaging in double-figures in scoring on the season. Amy Gearlds is the only player to have started all 27 games for IPFW and leads the squad averaging 17.9 points per outing. Against the Raiders on Monday, she poured in 26 points, draining five three-pointers.

Verea Bibbs has added 14.1 points per game for the Mastodons, while grabbing a team-leading 8.5 rebounds per night. On the year she is shooting 56.4%, which ranks 24th in the nation.

Courtney Nicley has added 11.2 points per night for IPFW after scoring 23 points against Wright State.

Today's game marks the fifth road contest out of the last six games for the Mastodons.