ORAL ROBERTS (10-3, 1-1 Mid-Con) at VALPARAISO (8-5, 2-0 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Saturday, January 8, 2005, 2:05 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000), Valparaiso, Ind.
RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM) and on the internet at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Andy Viano and Brent Whitlock will call all of the action.
TV: Tape Delay. Comcast Cablevision Local Access. Dick Harlan and Paul Curtis broadcasting. The game will air on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 12 at 12 p.m.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is led by Keith Freeman, who is in his 17th season of coaching, and 11th with the Crusaders. He is 312-170 overall and 183-123 at Valpo. Oral Roberts is led by Jerry Finkbeiner, who is 326-150 in his 16th season overall and 127-116 in his 9th season with the Golden Eagles.
SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with Oral Roberts 13-5. Valpo holds a 5-2 lead at home.
LAST SEASON: Valpo won two of three meetings. Oral Roberts was a 67-66 winner in Tulsa before the Crusaders rebounded with a 65-47 victory at the ARC. In the final meeting, Valpo downed the Golden Eagles 64-63 in Kansas City in the Mid-Con Tournament championship game on March 9, 2004. Jenna Stangler led Valpo with 12 points, while Leah Cannon led Oral Roberts with 17 points in the title contest.
Valparaiso returns to the ARC for the first time in nearly a month on Saturday, as the Crusaders host Oral Roberts in a rematch of last year's Mid-Continent Conference Tournament championship game won by the Crusaders. Valpo is coming off of a win at Oakland on Wednesday which capped off a 5-1 road trip covering 7,899 miles.
BECHTOLD SCORES, DISHES, DOES IT ALL: Lauren Bechtold has stepped into a starting role for the Crusaders and has produced from day one. In her last eight games, all starts, she has averaged 8.9 points and 5.3 assists per game. Against Oakland, she tied her career high with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor. She also dished out eight assists and recorded a key steal late in the game.
VALPO PERFECT ON OPPONENTS' COURT THIS YEAR: Valparaiso has posted a perfect 5-0 road record on opponents' home courts this season. The Crusaders have also played five neutral site games already this season.
CRUSADERS AMONG NATION'S BEST: The Crusaders' 12.8 turnovers per game through January 3 ranked sixth in the country in that category. Valpo also was 11th in fewest personal fouls committed at 13.8 per game, while Tamra Braun's 2.3 blocks per contest ranked her 31st individually.
STANGLER A SCORING MACHINE: Jenna Stangler continues to lead Valpo in scoring, averaging 15.8 points per game. Her production is fourth best in the Mid-Continent Conference. The senior has posted double-figures in 12 of the 13 games this year.
BRAUN CONNECTS FROM THE FLOOR: Tamra Braun has the second best field goal percentage in the conference, shooting 52.6% from the floor. The 6'4" center has really been on fire as of late, making 65.6% (21-of-32) of her shots over the last five games.
AS EASY AS SHOOTING AND REBOUNDING WELL: Valpo is 5-0 when rebounding and 7-0 when shooting better than the opposition this year.
STANGLER AND BOONE EARN MID-CON PRESEASON HONORS: A pair of Crusaders have earned Mid-Continent Conference preseason honors. Jenna Stangler, an All Mid-Con Honorable Mention pick last season, has been voted to the Mid-Con Preseason First Team. The senior averaged 10.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for Valpo last year. Senior Katie Boone, a Second Team All-Conference selection last season, has been voted to the Mid-Con Preseason Second Team. Boone averaged 6.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per contest.
STANGLER EARNS ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM HONORS AT SUBWAY CLASSIC: Jenna Stangler was named to the Subway Classic All-Tournament Team after averaging 19.0 points per game. The senior scored 23 points against Virginia Tech in the opener. Stangler also shot 51.6% from the floor while averaging 36.0 minutes per night.
STANGLER ALSO NAMED TO BLUE SKY CLASSIC ALL-TOURNEY TEAM: Jenna Stangler was named to the Blue Sky Classic All-Tournament Team after averaging 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game against DePaul and Dartmouth.
SCORING BIG AT THE STATE FARM HOOSIER STATE CLASSIC: Valparaiso has won four straight games at the Hoosier State Classic. After falling to Butler in the initial event back in 2000, the Crusaders have dominated the event. Valpo downed Indiana State in 2001, defeated Ball State in 2002, and beat Butler each of the last two seasons including this one.
BOONE MOVES UP VALPO'S ASSIST CHARTS: Katie Boone has moved into third place on Valpo's career assist list. The senior point guard now has 397 helpers, and trails Maureen Drabicki (1994-1998) by 27 for second place all-time.
BOONE ALSO MOVES UP STEAL AND FREE THROW LISTS: Katie Boone also moved into ninth place on Valpo's career steals chart, while moving into tenth on the free throws made list. Boone now has 159 career thefts and 210 all-time free throws. She is eight steals shy of seventh place on the steals list and seven free throws away from moving up to ninth on that list.
STANGLER TO THE RESCUE: Jenna Stangler tied the game at the buzzer against Butler to send it into overtime with a 12-footer in the lane. The Crusaders ended up winning the game 61-51.
BECHTOLD MOVES ONTO ASSIST LIST: Lauren Bechtold has moved into 20th place on the school's all-time assist list. The junior has 160 for her career, one shy of 19th and four short of 18th place on the rankings.
MYERS NAMED MID-CON PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Carrie Myers was named Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Week on December 14 after averaging 17 points and 3.5 assists in two games. She scored a career-high 23 points against Central Michigan and added 11 more against Miami (Ohio).
COACH FREEMAN MADE PLEDGE IN FIGHT AGAINST CANCER: Head coach Keith Freeman was looking for fans to help pack the Athletics-Recreation Center to help lead the Crusaders to a win over Notre Dame and at the same time help the American Cancer Society win in the battle with cancer on November 30 While Valpo did not win the game, Freeman donated $1,000 to the American Cancer Society as 2,214 fans watched Valpo play the third-ranked Fighting Irish to the wire.
DIALING LONG DISTANCE: After making just 14 three-pointers in their first five games, the Crusaders caught fire on December 8 against Central Michigan, making a school-record 17 treys. Valpo shot 54.8% (17-of-31) from beyond the arc.
MYERS DRAINS SEVEN THREES, ONE OFF SCHOOL MARK: Carrie Myers converted seven times beyond the arc against Central Michigan. The sophomore's total was just one trey off the school record of eight in a game.
WIN AT WASHINGTON STATE FIRST-EVER AGAINST THE PAC-10: Valparaiso's 56-50 victory at Washington State on December 21 marked the school's first win ever against a Pacific-10 team.
SULTAN OF SWATS: Tamra Braun is knocking about every shot she sees away. She has 30 blocks on the year, and now has 61 for her career, moving into eighth place on Valpo's all-time blocked shot list. She is one rejection shy of seventh. In addition, her 30 blocks this year eighth most on the Crusaders' single season list. She is one shy of moving into a tie for sixth on the year charts.
ORAL ROBERTS NOTES: Oral Roberts has won six of its last seven games heading into today after recording a 68-64 double-overtime victory at IUPUI on Thursday night. The Golden Eagles sport the Mid-Con's best overall record with their 10-3 mark.
The Golden Eagles boast the league's top scorer and rebounder in sophomore Elysha Turek. Her 20.9 points per game and 11.0 boards per contest include nine double-doubles. The three-time Mid-Con Player of the Week this season turned out a 23-point, 19-rebound effort against Memphis earlier this year.
Claudia Louis has added 10.4 points per contest for Oral Roberts, while Leah Cannon has added 10.1 points and 5.5 assists, but has missed the last two games.
Oral Roberts, picked third in the preseason poll, has all five starters back from last season and leads the conference in scoring margin at +9.9. The Golden Eagles are also allowing the second fewest points per game of any team in the league (59.7).