UMKC (8-18, 5-10 Mid-Con) at VALPARAISO (17-9, 11-4 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Monday, February 28, 2005, 7:05 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000), Valparaiso, Ind.
RADIO: On the internet at www.sportsjuice.com. Ken LaVicka and Brandon Alexander will call all of the action.
TV: Tape Delay. Comcast Cablevision Local Access. Dick Harlan and Paul Curtis broadcasting. The game will air on March 3 at 7 p.m. and March 4 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 321-174 overall and 192-127 at Valpo. UMKC is led by Bo Overton, who is 8-18 in his 1st season overall and with the Kangaroos.
SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with UMKC 16-7. The Crusaders hold an 8-2 advantage over the Kangaroos all-time at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
LAST MEETING: Valparaiso shot just 16.1% for the game including 3-of-32 (9.4%) in the first half as UMKC registered a 47-35 win over the Crusaders on January 15 in Kansas City, Mo. Lauren Bechtold led Valpo with 15 points while Tamra Braun grabbed 12 rebounds. Liz Obrecht led UMKC with 14 points while Alysa Klein added 13 for the Kangaroos.
Valparaiso returns to the ARC to conclude the regular season on Monday evening against UMKC. The Crusaders need a win against the Kangaroos to secure the second seed in the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament which begins on Saturday in Tulsa, Okla.
PLAYING DEFENSE IN LEAGUE PLAY: Valpo is allowing just 50.2 points per game during Mid-Continent Conference play. Opponents are shooting just 36.2% from the floor against the Crusaders. Only one league foe (Oakland, 63) has scored more than 58 points against Valpo in conference action and three opponents have failed to score 40 points.
CRUSADERS AMONG NATION'S BEST: The Crusaders' 13.5 turnovers per game through February 21 ranks as the fifth fewest in the country. Valpo is also eighth in fewest personal fouls committed at 13.7 per contest. Valpo has moved up to 20th in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 54.9 points per game. Individually, Tamra Braun's 2.4 blocks per contest rank her 20th in the country in rejections.
BOONE REACHES ONE MILESTONE, NEARS ANOTHER: Katie Boone reached the 500 rebound mark for her career on Saturday and has moved within two of the 450 assist mark for her four years at Valpo. The senior became just the 12th Crusader in school history to grab 500 boards. She also would be just the second player ever to reach 450 helpers in four years.
BRAUN ON FIRE: Tamra Braun has scored in double-figures in eight straight games. During the stretch, she has had two double-doubles and has averaged 14.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per contest.
SHOOTING AND REBOUNDING LEAD TO WINS: Valpo is 14-1 on the season when shooting better than their opponents from the floor this season. The Crusaders are also a perfect 12-0 when outrebounding the opposition.
TOP TEN IN WINS: The Crusaders' 17 wins this season rank as the eighth most in school history.
UMKC NOTES: UMKC enters the final night of the regular season having dropped three straight games and nine of their last 11 after falling 77-66 at Southern Utah on Saturday night.
Katie Houlehan leads the Kangaroos in scoring and ranks fourth in the Mid-Continent Conference averaging 14.7 points per game. The senior is also the league's top free throw shooter, making 91.3% of her attempts from the charity stripe. She is 15th all-time in Mid-Con history having scored 1,406 career points.
Jowan Ortega is the only other UMKC player averaging in double-figures on the season. She tallies 10.0 points per game and leads the Mid-Con in steals with 2.62 per night. She tallied 22 points on Saturday at Southern Utah.
Sammi Knapic leads the Kangaroos and the Mid-Con in assists, dishing out 5.13 helpers per game. She had eight against the Thunderbirds in the loss.
Defensively, UMKC leads the Mid-Con allowing opponents to shoot just 36.9% from the floor against them.