Tuesday, January 4, 2005
VALPARAISO (7-5, 1-0 Mid-Con) at OAKLAND (9-3, 1-0 Mid-Con)

WHEN: Wednesday, January 5, 2005, 6 p.m. CST.

WHERE: Athletics Center ?O'Rena (4,000), Rochester, Mich.

RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM) and on the internet at Andy Viano and Ken LaVicka will call all of the action.

TV: None.

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is led by Keith Freeman, who is in his 17th season of coaching, and 11th with the Crusaders. He is 311-170 overall and 182-123 at Valpo. Oakland is led by Eileen Hilliard, who is 39-30 in her 3rd season overall and with the Golden Grizzlies.

SERIES RECORD: Oakland leads the all-time series with the Crusaders 9-7. Valpo is 2-4 playing in Rochester. The schools have met four times in Mid-Continent Conference Tournament play since the Golden Grizzlies joined the league in the 1998-1999 season.

LAST SEASON: Each team won on the other's home floor last year. Valpo posted a 61-56 win at Oakland on Jan. 3, 2004 behind 24 points and 14 rebounds from Tamra Braun. Petra Manakova and Mary Lou Liebau each scored 13 for Oakland. In the rematch at the ARC on Jan. 31, the Golden Grizzlies recorded a 59-54 win. Jayme Wilson scored 20 points for Oakland while Katie Boone led Valpo with 14.

Valparaiso, winners of four of its last five, will close out its road trip on Wednesday night as the Crusaders travel to Oakland. Valpo is coming off of a 79-56 victory at Centenary on Monday night in its Mid-Continent Conference opener.

ROAD WARRIORS: Oakland marks Valpo's sixth straight game away from the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Crusaders have truly travelled coast-to-coast with stops in Pullman, Wash., Hanover, N.H., and Shreveport, La. before arriving in Rochester, Mich. The trip will end with Valpo having travelled 7,899 miles.

VALPO PERFECT ON OPPONENTS' COURT THIS YEAR: Valparaiso takes a perfect 4-0 road record into the game against the Golden Grizzlies. The Crusaders have also played five neutral site games already this season.

BOONE NEARING 400 CAREER ASSISTS: Katie Boone is within three assists of becoming just the third Crusader in school history to reach the 400- assist plateau. The senior point guard is averaging nearly five assists per game this season, and has dished out 26 helpers and committed just two turnovers during the last five games in which she has seen action.

BRAUN SOLID INSIDE: Tamra Braun has recorded double-doubles in two of the last four games for Valpo. She scored ten points and grabbed ten rebounds at Washington State and registered 17 points and 13 boards at Dartmouth. She is averaging 11.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game over her last four contests.

SHARING THE WEALTH: Valpo used a balanced offensive attack in the win against Centenary. Five different players tallied double-figures in the scoring column, and all ten players that dressed saw at least ten minutes of action.

CRUSADERS SHOOT WELL, REBOUND WELL AND WIN: Valpo is 6-0 this season when shooting a better percentage from the floor and 4-0 when outrebounding their opponents this season.

OAKLAND NOTES: Oakland enters the game having won five straight contests after posting a 65-58 victory at Oral Roberts on Monday night. The Golden Grizzlies are 2-1 at home this season.

Anne Hafeli leads a trio of Golden Grizzlies that are averaging in double-figures. She is averaging 16.8 points per contest after scoring a team-high 20 against the Golden Eagles on Monday.

Nicole Piggott adds 16.1 points per night. She had a double-double, 12 points and ten rebounds against Oral Roberts and is the reigning Mid-Con Player of the Week. Jayme Wilson has chipped in 14.7 points per contest.

On the glass, Amanda Batcha has pulled down 9.2 boards per game this season.

Valpo marks Oakland's only home contest during a five-game stretch.