LOYOLA (ILL.) (3-3, 0-0 Horizon) at VALPARAISO (4-4, 0-0 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Sunday, December 14, 2003, 2:05 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000), Valparaiso, Ind.
RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM), Valparaiso, Ind. JR Radcliffe will handle the play-by-play, while Ed Schillinger will provide color commentary. Brad Spata is the sideline reporter.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is led by Keith Freeman, who is in his 16th season of coaching, and 10th with the Crusaders. He is 288-157 overall and 159-110 at Valpo. Loyola is led by Mary Helen Walker, who is 44-75 in her 5th season overall and with the Ramblers.
SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with Loyola 7-0. The schools first met on February 22, 1994, an 88-85 Valpo win at home.
LAST MEETING: Valpo posted a 54-47 victory over the Ramblers in Chicago on December 15 of last year. Suzie Hammel led the Crusaders with 20 points on six three-pointers while Mandy Mennella led Loyola with nine points.
After winning four of their last five games, the Valparaiso Crusaders head return to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Sunday afternoon to battle Loyola (Ill.) in the final home game of the 2003 calendar year.
DOUBLE (TRIPLE AND MORE) TROUBLE: Valparaiso has placed nine players in double-figures over the past two games. Wednesday, Suzie Hammel led all scorers with 19 points, while Jenna Stangler added 18. Kathryn Knoester added 12 and Tamra Braun scored 11 as each of them broke into double-figures for the first time all year. Last Saturday afternoon against Butler the Brown and Gold had five players hit double-figures.
HAMMEL ON FIRE: Suzie Hammel has caught fire from long-range over the past five games. She leads the Mid-Con making 2.75 treys per contest, and is shooting 46.8% from outside the arc. She has scored in double-figures in each of her last five games, averaging 15.4 per game over the span.
VALPO IN 2003: Valpo has registered a 16-12 record during the 2003 calendar season. The Crusaders have gone 8-2 at the Athletics-Recreation Center and 3-1 on neutral floors.
ROUGH SCHEDULE: Valpo's first six games saw the Crusaders face four opponents that were ranked in the top-25 or receiving votes when the Crusaders played them.
PROTECTING THE BASKETBALL: Valpo has committed just 12.9 turnovers per game in the early going, despite the difficult schedule. The Crusaders committed just ten turnovers against Butler last weekend, and on Wednesday against IPFW had just 11 miscues. Valpo turned the ball over only twice in the first half against the Mastodons.
STANGLER SHINES: Jenna Stangler has averaged 20.0 points per game over the last two contests, scoring 22 points against Butler and 18 at IPFW.
LOYOLA NOTES: Loyola visits the ARC having won three of its last four contests. The Ramblers have been off for eight days following an 87-71 victory over Bradley at home on December 6.
Ciara Henderson leads Loyola in scoring averaging 14.8 points per game. The junior is shooting 42.5% from three points range.
Meskhenet Lands is the team's second leading scorer averaging 11.3 points per contest. A 94.1% free throw shooter on the year, she scored 14 points in the win over the Braves.
Maggie Toczylowski leads the team in rebounding with 7.5 per contest. She grabbed seven boards against Bradley and nine in the previous game against Saint Louis.
Sunday's game begins a string of three straight road contests for Loyola in the next six days. The Ramblers will head to Long Island on Thursday and Columbia on Saturday.