VALPARAISO (5-4, 0-0 Mid-Con) vs. #18/19 DePAUL (8-2, 0-0 Conference USA)
WHAT: Dartmouth Blue Sky Classic
WHEN: Wednesday, December 29, 2004, 4 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Leede Arena (2,100), Hanover, N.H.
FIRST ROUND: Valpo vs. DePaul, Richmond (8-0, 0-0 Atlantic 10) at Dartmouth (3-4, 0-0 Ivy).
CHAMPIONSHIP: Winners meet for the Championship on Dec. 30 while the losers will play in the consolation game. Game times are set for 4 p.m. CST for the consolation game and 6 p.m. CST for the championship.
RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM) and on the internet at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Andy Viano and Baron Brendel will call all of the action.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is led by Keith Freeman, who is in his 17th season of coaching, and 11th with the Crusaders. He is 309-169 overall and 180-122 at Valpo. DePaul is led by Doug Bruno, who is 370-235 in his 21st season overall and 330-207 in his 19th season with the Blue Demons.
SERIES RECORD: DePaul leads the all-time series with the Crusaders 15-0.
LAST MEETING: DePaul defeated Valparaiso 70-47 on December 21, 2003 in Chicago. Jamie Gutowski led Valpo with ten points, while Khara Smith scored 15 points for the Blue Demons.
After back-to-back wins before Christmas, Valparaiso looks to continue its winning ways on Wednesday evening as the Crusaders battle #18/19 DePaul in the first round of the Dartmouth Blue Sky Classic. Valpo is coming off of a 56-50 victory at Washington State on December 21.
VALPO AMONG NATION'S BEST TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL: The Crusaders are averaging just 11.5 turnover per game this season, which currently ranks second best in the country in the rankings through December 20. Villanova is the nation's leader turning the ball over just 9.6 times per contest. Following the Washington State game, Valpo's turnover mark has moved up just slightly to 11.6 per game.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Jenna Stangler leads the team in scoring averaging 16.4 points per game. The senior forward has tallied double-figures in each of her first nine games this season. The double-figure streak was extended to 11 straight games including the last two in 2003-2004. She has tallied 20 or more points twice already this year and currently ranks third in the Mid-Con in scoring.
SULTAN OF SWATS: Tamra Braun is knocking about every shot she sees away in during non-conference play. She has 20 blocks on the year, and now has 51 for her career, just two rejections shy of moving onto Valpo's top-ten blocked shot list. Her 2.0 blocks per game rank 48th in Division I through games of December 20.
NEUTRAL SITES COMMON FOR VALPO: Valparaiso's game against DePaul will be the Crusaders' fifth neutral site contest of the season. Valpo is 2-2 on neutral floors, dropping games to Virginia Tech and Arkansas State at the Subway Classic in Minneapolis, Minn. to open the year. Since then, Valpo has defeated Saint Xavier in Gary, Ind. and Butler in Terre Haute, Ind.
KNOCKING THEM DOWN: Jenna Stangler's 86.7% shooting from the free throw line was 48th best in the nation through December 20. The senior ranks second in the Mid-Con at the line.
DePAUL NOTES: DePaul enters the game having won two straight after rebounding from back-to-back losses to ranked teams. The Blue Demons entered the holiday break with an 86-61 victory at Saint Peter's on December 21.
The Blue Demons have five players averaging in double-figures on the season. Khara Smith leads the team posting 20.9 points and 10.8 rebounds per night. She is shooting 62.1% from the floor.
Jenni Dant and Allie Quigley are adding 13.9 and 13.8 points per game respectively.
As a team, DePaul is averaging 88.1 points per contest and are +25.5 in scoring margin. The Blue Demons are also +13.0 on the boards.
This game marks the fifth straight game away from Chicago for DePaul.