Thursday, January 8, 2004
VALPARAISO (7-6, 2-0 Mid-Con) at ORAL ROBERTS (7-6, 1-1 Mid-Con)

WHEN: Saturday, January 10, 2004, 2:05 p.m. CST.

WHERE: Mabee Center (10,575), Tulsa, Okla.

RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM), Valparaiso, Ind. Ed Schillinger will handle the play-by-play with Andy Viano 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 291-159 overall and 162-112 at Valpo. Oral Roberts is led by Jerry Finkbeiner, who is 293-125 in his 13th season overall and 107-106 in his 8th season with the Golden Eagles.

SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with the Golden Eagles 11-4 dating back to a Crusader win, 83-77, in overtime on January 10, 1997 in Tulsa. Valpo has won six straight in the series.

LAST MEETING: Valpo defeated Oral Roberts 94-56 in the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament Quarterfinals on March 8, 2003 in Kansas City, Mo. Katie Boone led the Crusaders with 18 points, while Kathryn Knoester added 15 points. Cori Williston led the Golden Eagles with 15 points.

Following a 67-49 victory over IUPUI on Tuesday, Valparaiso takes its 2-0 Mid-Continent Conference record back out onto the road on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders visit Oral Roberts.

FREEMAN CLOSES IN ON WIN RECORD: Valpo head coach Keith Freeman looks to tie Ed DiGregorio (Youngstown State, 1992-2001) for the most victories in Mid-Continent Conference history with a win against Oral Roberts. Freeman has 162 victories for the Crusaders, one behind DiGregorio. Freeman already has coached the most Mid-Con games ever (274 entering the ORU game). He is also second all-time in conference games coached (144) and conference victories (94).

VALPO TAKES CARE OF THE BALL: The Crusaders currently rank ninth in the nation in turnovers per game according to the January 6 NCAA rankings. Valpo has turned the ball over just 13.8 times per game on the season.

KNOESTER PROVIDES SPARK FROM THE BENCH: Kathryn Knoester has helped to jump start the Valpo offense, coming off of the bench to score in double figures in five of the last six games. She is averaging 9.7 points per game over those six contests.

GUTOWSKI LEADS MID-CON FROM OUTSIDE: Jamie Gutowski has taken over the Mid-Con lead in three-point field goal percentage. The sophomore is shooting 46.2% from long range following her four triples on Tuesday against IUPUI.

HAMMEL PASSES 900 POINT PLATEAU: With her ten points on Tuesday, Suzie Hammel moved over 900 career points for the Brown and Gold. The senior now ranks 13th in school history with 903 points.

BOONE APPROACHES 300 ASSISTS: Katie Boone needs just six assists to reach 300 for her career. She already ranks fifth all-time as a junior.

ORAL ROBERTS NOTES: Oral Roberts returns home after playing its last five games on the road. The Golden Eagles have split their first two Mid-Continent Conference contests, falling 60-56 at UMKC before rebounding to down Southern Utah 75-65 on Monday night.

Elisha Turk leads all ORU scorers and rebounders, averaging 13.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. She posted double-doubles in both of the first two conference games.

Cori Williston is second on the team in scoring averaging 12.4 points per contest. The senior guard has missed the last three games with an injury, and is out indefinitely.

Leah Cannon is also averaging in double figures, tallying 11.8 per night following her 33 point performance on Monday night. Cannon also ranks second in the nation dishing out 8.2 assists per game.

As a team, Oral Roberts ranks 20th in the country making 12.2 steals per game. The Golden Eagles host Western Illinois on Monday night.