Friday, December 31, 2004
VALPARAISO (6-5, 0-0 Mid-Con) at CENTENARY (1-9, 0-0 Mid-Con)

WHEN: Monday, January 3, 2005, 7 p.m. CST.

WHERE: Gold Dome (3,000), Shreveport, La.

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 310-170 overall and 181-123 at Valpo. Centenary is led by Elizabeth Wamsley, who is 1-9 in her 1st season overall and with the Ladies.

SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with Centenary 2-0. The Crusaders are 1-0 in Shreveport.

LAST SEASON: Valpo won a pair of meetings against the Ladies. In the first meeting at the ARC, Valpo jumped out to a 48-16 halftime advantage on the way to a 66-49 win. Suzie Hammel led Valpo with 20 points, while Julie Danieles scored 14 points for Centenary. In the rematch in Shreveport, the Crusaders held the Ladies to just eight first half points on the way to a 76-38 win. Betsy Rietema scored 16 points for the Brown and Gold, while Lindsay Way led Centenary with eight points.

Coming off of a 66-60 victory at Dartmouth on Thursday night, the Valparaiso Crusaders will open Mid-Continent Conference action on the road Monday evening, as the Brown and Gold head to Centenary.

ROAD WARRIORS: Centenary marks Valpo's fifth straight game away from the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Crusaders have truly travelled coast-to-coast with stops in Pullman, Wash. and Hanover, N.H. before arriving in Shreveport. Valpo has travelled 6,511 miles so far on the trip, which will conclude in Rochester, Mich. on Wednesday night, with the Brown and Gold logging a total of 7,899 miles before returning to the ARC.

VALPO PERFECT ON OPPONENTS' COURT THIS YEAR: Valparaiso takes a perfect 3-0 road record into the game against the Ladies. The Crusaders have also played five neutral site games already this season.

VALPO AMONG NATION'S BEST TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL: The Crusaders' 11.5 turnover per game through December 20 ranked second in the country in that category. Villanova leads the nation turning the ball over just 9.6 times per contest. Following the Dartmouth game, Valpo's turnover mark has moved up just slightly to 11.9 per game.

BOONE NEARING 400 CAREER ASSISTS: Katie Boone is within five assists of becoming just the third Crusader in school history to reach the 400- assist plateau. The senior point guard is averaging more than five assists per game this season, and has dished out 24 helpers and committed just two turnovers during the last four games in which she has seen action.

BRAUN CAUSES DOUBLE-TROUBLE FOR OPPONENTS: Tamra Braun has recorded double-doubles in two of the last three 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 11.3 points per game over her last three contests.

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 395 helpers, and trails Maureen Drabicki (1994-1998) by 29 for second place all-time.

BECHTOLD JUST OFF ASSIST LIST: Lauren Bechtold is just nine assists shy of breaking into the top-20 all-time at Valpo in assists. The junior has 143 for her career.

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 158 career thefts and 210 all-time free throws. She is nine 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.

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 25 blocks on the year, and now has 56 for her career, tying her for ninth on Valpo's all-time blocked shot list.

CENTENARY NOTES: Centenary is looking to snap a nine-game losing skid as the Ladies host the Crusaders in their Mid-Continent Conference opener. The Ladies downed LeTourneau in the season opener, but have failed to win since. Most recently, Centenary dropped a 74-40 decision at home to Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday night.

Laura Kizyte leads the way offensively for the Ladies scoring 12.7 points per night. Holli Wilkins has added 11.1 points, while Jelena Aleksic is also averaging in double-figures with 10.0 points per contest.

Whitney Rushing is the team's leading rebounder grabbing 6.8 boards per game.

Centenary is committing 22.9 turnovers per game and shooting just 36.5% from the floor as a team.

The Ladies will conclude their three-game homestand on Wednesday night hosting Chicago State.