WESTERN ILLINOIS (15-6, 10-1 Mid-Con) at VALPARAISO (13-9, 7-4 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Saturday, February 12, 2005, 2:05 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000), Valparaiso, Ind.
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.
TV: Tape Delay. Comcast Cablevision Local Access. Dick Harlan and Paul Curtis broadcasting. The game will air on February 17 at 7 p.m. and February 18 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 317-174 overall and 188-127 at Valpo. Western Illinois is led by Leslie Crane, who is 113-78 in her 7th season overall and with the Westerwinds.
SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with Western Illinois 16-12. The Crusaders are 9-3 against the Westerwinds at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
LAST MEETING: Carrie Myers forced overtime with a three-pointer but Western Illinois came out on top 56-52 back on January 22, 2005 in Macomb. Katie Boone led Valpo with 13 points while Jessica Cook scored 18 for the Westerwinds.
Valparaiso plays the second game of a three-game in five-day stretch on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders host first place Western Illinois. The Crusaders find themselves in a third place tie entering play.
PLAYING DEFENSE IN LEAGUE PLAY: Valpo is allowing just 51.5 points per game during Mid-Continent Conference play. Opponents are shooting just 36.3% from the floor against the Crusaders in league play and are committing 16.7 turnovers per game. Only one league foe (Oakland, 63) has scored more than 58 points against Valpo in conference action.
CRUSADERS AMONG NATION'S BEST: The Crusaders' 13.1 turnovers per game through February 7 ranked as the fourth fewest in the country. Valpo is also 12th in fewest personal fouls committed at 13.7 per contest. Individually, Tamra Braun's 2.3 blocks per contest rank her 31st in rejections, while Jenna Stangler is 34th in free throw shooting, making 84.9% of her attempts from the line.
BRAUN HAS CAREER NIGHT: Tamra Braun scored a career-high 27 points on Thursday night against Chicago State. The sophomore's previous best was 24 during her rookie season. Braun made 13-of-20 from the floor, while also grabbing nine rebounds, six offensive, and blocking four shots. Her 13 field goals tied for the sixth most in a game in school history. Valpo's school record is 15.
BOONE CONTINUES TO PROTECT THE BALL: Katie Boone dished out five more assists on Thursday night without committing a turnover. The senior point guard now has 14 assists while committing just one turnover in the last three game.
BRAUN CONTINUES BLOCKING: Tamra Braun has registered 15 blocks over the last four games (3.75 per game). The stretch includes a career-high five rejections against Oakland.
FREE THROWS NOT FALLING: Valpo shot a season-low 40% (6-of-15) in the Crusaders' loss at Chicago State on Thursday.
WESTERN ILLINOIS NOTES: Western Illinois saw its 11-game winning streak come to an end on Monday night as the Westerwinds fell 53-48 at Oral Roberts. The loss was the Westerwinds first during the 2005 calendar year and their first in Mid-Continent Conference play.
The Westerwinds lead the Mid-Con in scoring defense, allowing a stingy 54.8 points per game on the season. That number is even smaller, 48.7, during conference play.
Zane Teilane leads Western Illinois in scoring, tallying 14.9 points per game, which ranks third in the conference. She also ranks second in the league in rebounding (9.3 per night) and field goal percentage (.531).
Jessica Cook has added 11.6 points per game for the Westerwinds, while Rita Castans has added 9.2 points per contest along with a team-high 30 three-pointers on the season.
The Westerwinds will have a week off following the game, before returning to Western Hall next Saturday to entertain Oral Roberts. Western Illinois holds the nation's longest home court winning streak, having won 37 straight.