VALPARAISO (11-9, 6-3 Mid-Con) at WESTERN ILLINOIS (12-7, 6-2 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Monday, February 2, 2004, 7 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Western Hall (5,139), Macomb, Ill.
RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM), Valparaiso, Ind. JR Radcliffe will handle the play-by-play with Brent Whitlock providing the 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 295-162 overall and 166-115 at Valpo. Western Illinois is led by Leslie Crane, who is 90-70 in her 6th season overall and with the Westerwinds.
SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso holds a 16-10 advantage all-time against the Westerwinds. The Crusaders have won two straight in the series.
LAST MEETING: Valpo beat Western Illinois 60-56 at the ARC back on January 17. Jamie Gutowski led Valpo with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Jenna Stangler added 12 points. Zane Teilane led Western Illinois with 29 points and 13 boards, while Tiffany Cornelius added 14 points.
Valparaiso will look to return to the win column on Monday evening as the Brown and Gold take to the road for the first of three straight games away from the ARC, heading to Western Illinois to battle the second place Westerwinds. The Crusaders will look to stop Western's 23-game homecourt win streak, the nation's third longest.
HAMMEL NEARS 1,000: Suzie Hammel needs just one point to become the tenth Crusader ever to reach 1,000 for her career. The senior is averaging 9.9 points per game over her four-year career to date. Hammel has scored in double-figures in 13 games this season.
HAMMEL AMONG MID-CON'S BEST: Suzie Hammel moved into second place on the Mid-Continent Conference's career three-point chart on Monday with four treys against Centenary last Monday. Hammel has made 219 in her career, trailing just Brenda Doty's (Buffalo) 264 triples.
MAKING THE FREE ONES: Valpo had made its free throws count during Mid-Con play prior to Saturday. The Crusaders are shooting 72.0% from the line during conference action, and have made 113 free throws, one fewer than their opponents have attempted. Valpo could not take advantage from the line on Saturday, however, shooting just 43.8% (6-of-14) against Oakland.
VALPO AMONG NATION'S BEST: The Crusaders currently rank 15th in the nation in turnovers per game according to the January 27 NCAA rankings. Valpo has turned the ball over just 14.5 times per game on the season. Suzie Hammel is 24th in the country in three-point percentage (41.5%), while ranking 33rd in threes per game (2.6).
NO SET LINE-UP: Due to the numerous injuries the Crusaders have suffered this season, not one player has started all 20 games for the Brown and Gold. In fact, just five players have seen action in all 20 contests. Of the five, four are guards.
WESTERN ILLINOIS NOTES: Western Illinois enters the game having won three straight games on their current homestand to extend the nation's third longest homecourt winning streak to 23 straight games. The Westerwinds are coming off of a 62-38 triumph over Centenary on Saturday afternoon.
Tiffany Cornelius leads the Westerwinds in scoring, averaging 14.4 points per game. The senior also ranks second on the squad grabbing 6.7 rebounds per night.
Zane Teilane is tallying 14.2 points per contest, while grabbing a team-high 9.8 boards per game. While shooting 59.2% from the floor, the 6'7" center also is averaging 4.6 blocked shots per contest on the defensive end. She scored 14 points and added 11 boards on Saturday.
As a team, the Westerwinds are allowing opponents to score just 57.7 points per night and are +7.8 in scoring margin. Western Illinois is also shooting 44.4% from the floor and 73.7% from the free throw line on the season.
The Westerwinds will head out on the road for their next two contests, beginning Saturday at Chicago State.