Thursday, January 13, 2005
VALPARAISO (9-5, 3-0 Mid-Con) at UMKC (5-9, 2-2 Mid-Con)

WHEN: Saturday, January 15, 2005, 2 p.m. CST.

WHERE: Swinney Recreation Center (1,500), Kansas City, Mo.

RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM) and on the internet at Brent Whitlock and Andrew Hansen 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 313-170 overall and 184-123 at Valpo. UMKC is led by Bo Overton, who is 5-9 in his 1st season overall and with the Kangaroos.

SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with UMKC 16-6. Valpo holds a 6-4 edge against the Kangaroos at Swinney Recreation Center.

LAST SEASON: Valpo won two of the three meetings. UMKC was a 70-54 winner in Kansas City in the first meeting of the year. Betsy Rietema led the Crusaders with 15 points in the loss. Valpo rebounded with a 50-48 victory at the ARC, and then repeated the result in the Mid-Con Tournament semifinals by a score of 66-54. Rietema again scored 15 points in the first win, while Jamie Gutowski led Valpo with 14 points in the final meeting.

After a week off, the first place Valparaiso Crusaders will put their perfect 5-0 road record to the test on Saturday afternoon as the Brown and Gold travels to Kansas City to battle the UMKC Kangaroos. Valpo is coming off of a 72-55 win over Oral Roberts last Saturday.

STANGLER NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Jenna Stangler was named the Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Week after averaging 19.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 2.0 assists in a pair of wins last week. Stangler shot 72.7% from the floor (16-of-22). She had 23 points against Oakland and 16 points against Oral Roberts.

CRUSADERS AMONG NATION'S BEST: The Crusaders' 13.3 turnovers per game through January 10 ranked fifth in the country in that category. Valpo also was 16th in fewest personal fouls committed at 13.9 per game, while Tamra Braun's 2.2 blocks per contest ranked her 39th individually. Jenna Stangler is 43rd in free throw shooting, making 85.1% from the charity stripe.

SUPER WOMAN: Lauren Bechtold has played all 40 minutes in four games already this season. She saw every minute of action against Central Michigan, Loyola (Ill.), Oakland and Oral Roberts.

STANGLER CAN'T MISS: Jenna Stangler has been unstoppable shooting the basketball over the last three games. The senior is shooting 73.1% (19-of-26) from the floor during this most recent stretch of Mid-Con games. Her 15.8 points per game lead the team, and she has posted double-figures in 13 of the 14 games this year.

AS EASY AS SHOOTING AND REBOUNDING WELL: Valpo is 6-0 when outrebounding opponents and 8-0 when shooting better than the opposition this season.

RIETEMA/BECHTOLD HAVE CAREER DAYS: Betsy Rietema scored a career-high 19 points while Lauren Bechtold grabbed a career-best seven rebounds in Valpo's in over Oral Roberts last Saturday.

UMKC NOTES: UMKC had its two game winning streak snapped on Tuesday evening as the Kangaroos dropped a 58-40 decision at Western Illinois. The Kangaroos are 3-3 at home this season, including a perfect 2-0 mark in Mid-Continent Conference play with wins against Southern Utah and Centenary.

Katie Houlehan leads UMKC offensively. Her 16.1 points per game has been aided by five 20-point performances this season. The 89.7% free throw shooter ranked 22nd in the nation entering the week.

Jowan Ortega added 11.0 points per game for the Kangaroos, and she also leads the way defensively. Her 3.5 steals per game were 17th best in the country at the beginning of the week.

Liz Obrecht chips in 9.4 points and a team-leading 5.2 rebounds per game. The junior is shooting 53.9% from the floor.

UMKC heads to Oakland on Monday night before returning Wednesday to host Western Illinois.