Wednesday, February 23, 2005
VALPARAISO (16-9, 10-4 Mid-Con) at ORAL ROBERTS (18-7, 9-5 Mid-Con)

WHEN: Saturday, February 26, 2005, 2:05 p.m. CST.

WHERE: Mabee Center (10,575), Tulsa, Okla.

RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM) and on the internet at Andy Viano and Mike Hasse 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 2 at 7 p.m. and March 3 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 320-174 overall and 191-127 at Valpo. Oral Roberts is led by Jerry Finkbeiner, who is 334-154 in his 16th season overall and 135-120 in his 9th season with the Golden Eagles.

SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with Oral Roberts 14-5. The Crusaders hold a 5-2 advantage over the Golden Eagles all-time at the Mabee Center.

LAST MEETING: Valparaiso shot 63.3% from the floor in the first half on the way to a 72-55 victory over Oral Roberts at the ARC back on January 8. Betsy Rietema led the Crusaders with 19 points while Jenna Stangler added 16 for the Brown and Gold. Elisha Turek led Oral Roberts with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Valparaiso takes its three-game winning streak on the road for the final time during the regular season on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders head to Oral Roberts for a key Mid-Continent Conference tilt. Valpo is coming off of a 58-38 victory over Southern Utah last Saturday at home.

PLAYING DEFENSE IN LEAGUE PLAY: Valpo is allowing just 49.6 points per game during Mid-Continent Conference play. Opponents are shooting just 35.3% 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 NEARS TWO MORE MILESTONES: Katie Boone is nearing both the 500 rebound mark for her career and the 450 assist mark for her four years at Valpo. The senior point guard has grabbed 496 rebounds, and looks to become just the 12th Crusader in school history to grab 500 boards. She also has 445 assists, and 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 seven straight games. During the stretch, she has had two double-doubles and has averaged 14.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3.3 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 11-0 when outrebounding the opposition.

TOP TEN IN WINS: The Crusaders' 16 wins this season tie for the eighth most in school history.

ORAL ROBERTS NOTES: Oral Roberts enters the game having won six of its last seven games after posting a 72-68 victory at UMKC on Monday night. The Golden Eagles lone loss during the stretch came last Saturday at first place Western Illinois.

The Golden Eagles are led by the Mid-Continent Conference's leading scorer and rebounder Elisha Turek. The sophomore ranks 25th in the country averaging 19.1 points per game and is 23rd in the nation pulling down 9.8 boards per contest. She has recorded 13 double-doubles already this year.

Claudia Louis is the only other player averaging in double-figures for Oral Roberts. Her 10.7 points per game on the year have increased to 11.3 during conference play. Louis ranks second on the team in rebounding, grabbing 6.2 boards per night.

The Golden Eagles lead the Mid-Con in steals per game (11.12) and turnover margin (+4.00). Oral Roberts closes the regular season Monday at Southern Utah.