Thursday, January 20, 2005
VALPARAISO (10-6, 4-1 Mid-Con) at WESTERN ILLINOIS (10-5, 5-0 Mid-Con)

WHEN: Saturday, January 22, 2005, 7 p.m. CST.

WHERE: Western Hall (5,139), Macomb, Ill.

RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM) and on the internet at Ken LaVicka and Brent Whitlock will call all of the action.

TV: Tape Delay. Comcast Cablevision Local Access. Dick Harlan and Paul Curtis broadcasting. The game will air on Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. and Jan. 28 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 314-171 overall and 185-124 at Valpo. Western Illinois is led by Leslie Crane, who is 108-77 in her 7th season overall and with the Westerwinds.

SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with Western Illinois 16-11. The Westerwinds hold the advantage in Macomb 8-5, though, and have won the last two meetings at Western Illinois.

LAST SEASON: The teams split a pair of meetings last year, with each school defending its home court. Valpo won 60-56 on January 17 at the ARC behind 15 points from Jamie Gutowski. Zane Teilane led the Westerwinds with 19 points. In the rematch in Macomb on February 2, Western Illinois registered a 62-59 win. Tiffany Cornelius scored 17 points for the hosts, while Gutowski again scored 15 for Valpo.

Valparaiso will have its hands full as the Crusaders take to the road on Saturday to face Western Illinois. The Westerwinds currently own the nation's longest home court win streak, having posted 33 straight victories at Western Hall. Valpo is coming off of a 52-48 win against Chicago State on Monday night.

WELCOME BACK BOONE: In just her second game back from injury, Katie Boone just missed recording a double-double against Chicago State. The senior guard tallied 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while also dishing out four assists and registering four steals.

PLAYING DEFENSE IN LEAGUE PLAY: Valpo is allowing just 53.8 points per game since Mid-Continent Conference action began on January 3. In four of the five games, the Crusaders have held opponents below 60 points, including just 47 and 48 points respectively in the last two contests against UMKC and Chicago State.

BOONE ON VERGE OF MID-CON ASSIST LIST: Katie Boone is just eight assists shy of moving into tenth place in Mid-Continent Conference history in assists. The senior guard has dished out 404 helpers during her career, and is nearing Katie Wolfe's (Oakland, 1999-2003) total of 412.

CRUSADERS AMONG NATION'S BEST: The Crusaders' 13.0 turnovers per game through January 17 ranked as the third fewest in the country. Valpo is also tenth in fewest personal fouls committed at 13.5 per contest. Individually, Tamra Braun's 2.2 blocks per contest rank her 39th in rejections, while Jenna Stangler is 48th in free throw shooting, making 84.3% of her attempts from the line.

VALPO-WESTERN MARKS BATTLE OF PRESEASON FAVORITES: Valparaiso was picked to win the Mid-Continent Conference in the preseason poll while Western Illinois was selected to finish second. The two teams are living up to their billing so far this year. The Westerwinds are the team currently leading the Mid-Con, while Valpo is just one game back in the standings.

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.

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 404 helpers, and trails Maureen Drabicki (1994-1998) by 20 for second place all-time.

BECHTOLD JOINS BOONE ON ASSIST LIST: Lauren Bechtold has moved into 18th place on the school's all-time assist list. The junior has 169 for her career, 25 shy of 17th place on the rankings.

BOONE ALSO MOVES UP STEAL AND FREE THROW LISTS: Katie Boone has also moved into a tie for seventh place on Valpo's career steals chart, while moving into a tie for ninth on the free throws made list. Boone now has 167 career thefts and 217 all-time free throws. She is two steals shy of sixth place on the steals list and three free throws away from moving up to eighth 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.

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 453 career boards, ranking 14th in school history. She is 14 rebounds shy of 13th place. Stangler currently occupies 18th place on the school's rebounding list with 419 all-time rebounds. She is nine 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.

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 now has 66 for her career, moving into seventh place on Valpo's all-time blocked shot list. She is seven rejections shy of sixth. In addition, her 35 blocks this year are sixth most on the Crusaders' single season list. She is one shy of moving into fifth place on the yearly charts.

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 185 victories overall, 22 more than any other coach in the league's history. His 107 Mid-Con wins are also nine more than any other coach in conference history.

DOWN THE ROAD: Valparaiso will return to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Monday night as the Crusaders host IUPUI. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m., 30 minutes earlier than originally scheduled. The change was necessitated due to television for the men's game against Oakland which will start at 7:30 p.m. The Brown and Gold will then head to Cedar City, Utah on Saturday, January 29 to battle Southern Utah.

WESTERN ILLINOIS NOTES: Western Illinois enters the game having won six straight contests following a 64-54 victory over UMKC on Wednesday night in Kansas City, Mo. The Westerwinds also own the nation's longest home court win streak. The 33 straight victories at Western Hall began during the 2001-2002 season.

Zane Teilane leads the Westerwinds in nearly every facet of the game. She is averaging 15.4 points per contest and 9.5 rebounds per game. She ranks third in the Mid-Continent Conference in both categories. The 6'7" junior is also averaging 3.3 blocks per game.

Jessica Cook is also averaging double figures in the scoring column for Western Illinois. The senior tallies 12.5 points per night.

As a team, the Westerwinds lead the Mid-Con in scoring defense, allowing just 56.5 points per game.

Saturday's game against Valpo marks the first of three straight home contests for Western Illinois.