Friday, January 16, 2004
WESTERN ILLINOIS (9-5, 3-0 Mid-Con) at VALPARAISO (7-8, 2-2 Mid-Con)

WHEN: Saturday, January 17, 2004, 2:05 p.m. CST.

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

RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM), Valparaiso, Ind. Andy Viano will handle the play-by-play with Baron Brendel providing the color commentary.

TV: Comcast Cablevision Ch. 43-tape delay. Dick Harlan will handle the play-by-play, while Paul Curtis will provide color commentary. The game will air on Thursday, January 22 at 7 p.m.

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is led by Keith Freeman, who is in his 16th season of coaching, and 10th with the Crusaders. He is 291-161 overall and 162-114 at Valpo. Western Illinois is led by Leslie Crane, who is 87-68 in her 6th season overall and with the Westerwinds.

SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with the Westerwinds 15-10 dating back to a Western Illinois win, 94-89, on December 9, 1988 in Macomb, Ill.

LAST MEETING: Valparaiso downed Western Illinois 49-45 on March 10, 2003 in the semifinals of the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. Jenna Stangler led the Crusaders with 16 points, while Tiffany Cornelius and Zane Teilane each scored 14 for the Westerwinds.

Valparaiso will return to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Saturday afternoon to entertain the defending Mid-Continent Conference regular season champion Western Illinois Westerwinds. The Crusaders, the defending conference tournament champions, are looking to rebound from a pair of road losses.

THIRD TIME THE CHARM?: Valpo head coach Keith Freeman will try for the third time to tie Ed DiGregorio (Youngstown State, 1992-2001) for the most victories in Mid-Continent Conference history with a win against Western Illinois. Freeman has 162 victories for the Crusaders, one behind DiGregorio. Freeman already has coached the most Mid-Con games ever (276) and is also second all-time in conference games coached (146) and conference victories (94).

VALPO TAKES CARE OF THE BALL: The Crusaders currently rank 13th in the nation in turnovers per game according to the January 13 NCAA rankings. Valpo has turned the ball over just 14.3 times per game on the season as of the rankings.

RIETEMA POSTS BIG WEEK: Betsy Rietema played her best basketball of the season last weekend, averaging 15.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals, and 2.0 steals against Oral Roberts and UMKC. She tallied a career high 15 points in each game, while grabbing seven boards against UMKC and dishing out five assists against the Golden Eagles.

BOONE APPROACHES 300 ASSISTS: Katie Boone needs just six assists to reach 300 for her career. She would become just the fifth Crusader all-time to reach that plateau, doing so in her junior year.

GUTOWSKI CATCHES FIRE: Jamie Gutowski has caught fire from the outside over the past seven games. She has posted six double-figure efforts, averaging 11.4 points per game over the span. She has also shot 48.6% from beyond the arc in the seven contests.

WESTERN ILLINOIS NOTES: Western Illinois visits the ARC having won three straight Mid-Continent Conference games and seven of its last nine games overall. The Westerwinds are coming off of a 54-45 victory at Oral Roberts on Monday evening.

Tiffany Cornelius leads the Westerwinds and ranks second in the Mid-Con in scoring, averaging 14.1 points per game. The senior also grabs 6.2 rebounds per night.

Zane Teilane is averaging 12.9 points per outing along with 9.4 boards per game, second most in the league. The sophomore center also leads the nation in blocked shots, rejecting 4.9 per night. As a team, the Westerwinds rank fourth in the same category with 6.6 blocks per game.

Jessica Cook is the only other Western Illinois player to average in double-figures, scoring 10.9 points per game. She is second in the Mid-Con in field goal percentage, shooting 57.5% from the floor.