SOUTHERN UTAH (10-13, 6-6 Mid-Con) at VALPARAISO (15-9, 9-4 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Saturday, February 19, 2005, 2:05 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000), Valparaiso, Ind.
RADIO: On the internet at www.sportsjuice.com. Andy Viano and Joey Favata will call all of the action.
TV: Tape Delay. Comcast Cablevision Local Access. Dick Harlan and Paul Curtis broadcasting. The game will air on February 24 at 7 p.m. and February 25 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 319-174 overall and 190-127 at Valpo. Southern Utah is led by Joe Hillock, who is 116-125 in his 9th season overall and with the Thunderbirds.
SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with Southern Utah 10-5. The Crusaders hold a 6-1 advantage over the Thunderbirds all-time at the ARC.
LAST MEETING: Tamra Braun scored with 0.5 seconds remaining to lift Valpo to a 53-51 victory on January 29 in Cedar City, Utah. Braun and Betsy Rietema each scored 13 points to lead the Crusaders in the win. Janis Beal led the Thunderbirds with 19 points while Cassie Warburton added ten in the loss.
After back-to-back victories, Valparaiso returns to the Athletics-Recreation Center for Senior Day on Saturday afternoon when the Crusaders entertain Southern Utah. Valpo is coming off of a 56-45 victory Monday night at IUPUI.
PLAYING DEFENSE IN LEAGUE PLAY: Valpo is allowing just 50.5 points per game during Mid-Continent Conference play. Opponents are shooting just 35.8% from the floor against the Crusaders. Only one league foe (Oakland, 63) has scored more than 58 points against Valpo in conference action.
CRUSADERS AMONG NATION'S BEST: The Crusaders' 13.3 turnovers per game through February 14 ranks as the fourth fewest in the country. Valpo is also 11th in fewest personal fouls committed at 13.8 per contest. Valpo has moved up to 28th in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 55.6 points per game. Individually, Tamra Braun's 2.5 blocks per contest rank her 22nd in rejections, while Jenna Stangler is 32th in free throw shooting, making 84.9% of her attempts from the line.
VALPO CLINCHES 14th WINNING SEASON IN 15 YEARS: With its win over IUPUI on Monday, Valparaiso has assured itself of its 14th winning season in the last 15 years. The only year since 1990-1991 Valpo has not finished the year over .500 was 2000-2001.
BRAUN NAMED MID-CON PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Tamra Braun has been named Mid-Con Player of the Week after averaging 17.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game while shooting 59.0% from the floor. During the week she had a career high 27 points against Chicago State and a double-double against Western Illinois. She added 12 points and nine rebounds against IUPUI.
RIETEMA ACCEPTS CHARITY: Betsy Rietema went 13-of-14 from the free throw line Monday at IUPUI, marking the fifth best shooting percentage night from the charity stripe in school history. Her 13 makes also tied for the fifth most free throws made in a game. The sophomore is now shooting 72.3% from the line on the season.
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 last year.
STANGLER EARNS ALL-TOURNEY 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.
MYERS NAMED MID-CON PLAYER OF THE WEEK DECEMBER 14: 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).
STANGLER NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK JANUARY 11: Jenna Stangler was named the Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Week on January 11 after averaging 19.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 2.0 assists in a pair of wins against Oakland and Oral Roberts. Stangler shot 72.7% from the floor (16-of-22) in the two games. She had 23 points against Oakland and 16 points against Oral Roberts.
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.
FREEMAN RANKS AT TOP OF MID-CON'S COACHING LISTS: Keith Freeman is the Mid-Continent Conference's winningest coach of all-time in both overall and conference games. Freeman has posted 190 victories overall, 27 more than any other coach in the league's history. His 112 Mid-Con wins are also 14 more than any other coach in conference history.
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.
BOONE SECOND ALL-TIME ON VALPO ASSIST CHARTS: Katie Boone has moved into second place on Valpo's career assist list. The senior point guard now has 438 helpers, trailing just Debbie Bolen's (1989-1993) total of 651.
BECHTOLD JOINS BOONE ON ASSIST LIST: Lauren Bechtold has moved into 18th place on the school's all-time assist list. The junior has 189 for her career, five shy of 17th place on the rankings.
BOONE ALSO MOVES UP STEAL AND FREE THROW LISTS: Katie Boone has also moved into fifth place on Valpo's career steals chart, while moving into eighth on the free throws made list. Boone now has 183 career thefts and 226 all-time free throws. She is 17 steals shy of fourth place on the steals list and four free throws away from moving up to seventh on that list.
BUZZER BEATERS: Tamra Braun's basket with 0.5 seconds left to give Valpo the win at Southern Utah marked the third time Valpo had beaten the horn this season. Jenna Stangler tied the game and forced overtime against Butler, a game the Crusaders went on to win. Carrie Myers also tied the game and forced an extra session with a three-pointer with just four seconds remaining against Western Illinois. Valpo fell in overtime. Miami (Ohio) also hit a shot with 1.8 seconds left to beat Valpo earlier this year.
BOONE AND STANGLER ON CAREER REBOUNDING LISTS: Katie Boone and Jenna Stangler both rank among the all-time best rebounders in school history. Boone has 487 career boards, ranking 13th in school history. She is eight rebounds shy of 12th place. Stangler currently occupies 18th place on the school's rebounding list with 423 all-time rebounds. She is five shy of moving into 17th place.
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.
SULTAN OF SWATS: Tamra Braun is knocking about every shot she sees away. She now has 90 for her career, moving into third place on Valpo's all-time blocked shot list. She is eight rejections shy of second place. In addition, her 59 blocks this year are second most on the Crusaders' single season list. Only Michelle Mader's 110 blocks in 1991-1992 rank ahead of the sophomore.
BOONE AMONG MID-CON'S BEST IN ASSISTS: Katie Boone's 438 career assists have moved her into a tie for seventh place on the Mid-Continent Conference's career assist list with Sally Johnson (Southern Utah, 1998-2002). She is nine helpers shy of Catherine Jacob (Buffalo, 1995-1998) for sixth place.
KEEPING THEM OFF THE SCOREBOARD: Valpo just missed holding IUPUI to a record-low on the scoreboard January 24. The Jaguars scored 36 points, two more than the Crusader record of 34 set against Manchester back on November 22, 1985. Valpo also allowed just 39 points against Centenary on February 5, tying for the fourth fewest allowed in a game in school history.
UNABLE TO MISS: Valpo shot 62.2% from the floor against IUPUI, the second best shooting night in school history. The Crusaders were a blistering 77.3% from the field in the second half.
MIXING UP THE LINE-UP: Valparaiso has had eight different players draw starting assignments this season, and not one player has started more than 20 games due to various injuries throughout the season. The Crusaders have had 14 different starting combinations in 24 games this season.
SOUTHERN UTAH NOTES: Southern Utah snapped a two-game losing skid on Monday evening with a 68-58 victory at home against Centenary. The Thunderbirds have identical 3-3 records in conference play at home and on the road.
Janis Beal leads the Thunderbirds in scoring, averaging 11.8 points per game. The senior has tallied 13.2 points per contest in Mid-Continent Conference play. On the year, Beal is shooting 80.0% from the free throw line.
Cassie Warburton adds 9.6 points per contest for Southern Utah. The junior college transfer scored a career-high 19 points Monday against Centenary, one game after tallying her first career double-double, with 12 points and ten rebounds against Oakland.
As a team, Southern Utah ranks second in the Mid-Con in steals per game (10.39) and three-point field goals per contest (6.17).
Southern Utah closes out the road portion of its schedule on Monday night traveling to Western Illinois.