Wednesday, February 11, 2004
UMKC (11-10, 8-2 Mid-Con) at VALPARAISO (13-10, 8-4 Mid-Con)

WHEN: Saturday, February 14, 2004, 7:05 p.m. CST.

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

RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM), Valparaiso, Ind. Ed Schillinger will handle the play-by-play with Brent Whitlock 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 297-163 overall and 168-116 at Valpo. UMKC is led by Dana Eikenberg, who is 34-70 in her 4th season overall and with the Kangaroos.

SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with UMKC 14-6, but the Kangaroos have won the last two meetings.

LAST MEETING: UMKC defeated the Crusaders 70-54 back on January 12 in Kansas City. Betsy Rietema led Valpo with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Suzie Hammel added 12 points. Casey Ellis led UMKC with 22 points, while Carlai Moore came off the bench with 17 more points along with ten boards for the Kangaroos.

Valparaiso will look to continue its current success on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders entertain UMKC. The Brown and Gold has won two straight and is tied for third in the Mid-Continent Conference, while the Kangaroos arrive in second place in the standings.

HAMMEL MOVES INTO NINTH PLACE ALL-TIME IN SCORING: Suzie Hammel has moved into ninth place on Valpo's career scoring list after notching 12 points at Chicago State. The senior's 1,025 points are just 56 points shy of Lynda Kukla's total of 1,081 from 1988-1992.

FREEMAN CLOSES IN ON 300: Valpo head coach Keith Freeman won his 100th Mid-Con game Monday at Chicago State. For his career, Freeman has 297 victories, needing just three more to join the 300 victory club.

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 11 games, the rookie has tallied eight double-figure scoring efforts, averaging 11.1 points per game during the span. She is grabbing 5.1 rebounds per night over the last ten games as well. Rietema posted a career-high 16 points at Centenary.

FRESHMAN PART 2: Another freshman stepped up big last weekend for the Crusaders as well. Tamra Braun averaged 11.5 points and 8.5 rebounds against Chicago State and Centenary. She also shot 76.9% from the floor, including a perfect 5-of-5 at Chicago State.

UMKC NOTES: UMKC enters today's game just one-half game out of first place in the Mid-Continent Conference standings. The Kangaroos won their first seven league games but have dropped two of their last three, including a narrow 54-52 setback at home against Oakland on Monday evening.

Carlai Moore leads UMKC in both scoring and rebounding. She is tallying 12.1 points and 7.8 boards per contest, the latter ranking seventh in the Mid-Con. She ranks third in the conference registering six double-doubles on the year.

Casey Ellis and Katie Houlehan are both averaging in double-figures as well, with Ellis tallying 10.8 points and Houlehan pouring in 10.4 per contest.

The Kangaroos are committing just 15.0 turnovers per game in conference action, and lead the Mid-Con with a +4.50 turnover margin during league play. UMKC has also posted a 1.11 assist-to-turnover ratio during the conference season, best in the Mid-Con.