VALPARAISO (4-4, 0-0 Mid-Con) at WASHINGTON STATE (4-4, 0-0 Pacific-10)
WHEN: Tuesday, December 21, 2004, 9 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Friel Court (11,566), Pullman, Wash.
RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso). Andrew Stem and Ken LaVicka broadcasting. Also available on the web at www.valpo.edu/athletics.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is led by Keith Freeman, who is in his 17th season of coaching, and 11th with the Crusaders. He is 308-169 overall and 179-122 at Valpo. Washington State is led by Sherri Murrell, who is 132-131 in her 10th season overall and 12-52 in her 3rd season with the Cougars.
SERIES RECORD: This will be the first meeting all-time between Valparaiso and Washington State.
LAST MEETING: None.
Fresh off of a 72-61 victory over Loyola (Ill.) on Saturday, the Valparaiso Crusaders continue their six-game road trip on Tuesday night as the Brown and Gold travel to the Pacific Northwest to battle the Washington State Cougars.
VALPO AMONG NATION'S BEST TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL: The Crusaders are averaging just 11.4 turnover per game this season, which currently ranks third best in the country in the rankings through December 13. Villanova is the nation's leader turning the ball over just 9.6 times per contest. Following the Loyola (Ill.) game, Valpo's turnover mark has moved up just slightly to 11.5 per game.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Jenna Stangler leads the team in scoring averaging 16.5 points per game. The senior forward has tallied double-figures in each of her first eight games this season. The double-figure streak was extended to ten straight games including the last two in 2003-2004. She has tallied 20 or more points twice already this year.
SUPER SUB: Lauren Bechtold has filled in well at the starting point guard position the last three games for the Crusaders. The junior has averaged 6.7 assists per game, including a career-high nine against Loyola (Ill.) on Saturday. In addition, she has averaged 9.7 points per game during the span.
SULTAN OF SWATS: Tamra Braun is knocking about every shot she sees away in the early going. She has 16 blocks on the year, and now has 47 for her career, just five rejections shy of moving onto Valpo's top-ten blocked shot list. Her 2.1 blocks per game rank 41st in Division I through games of December 13.
SUPER WOMEN: Four Crusaders logged 37 or minutes of playing time against Loyola (Ill.) on Saturday. Lauren Bechtold (40), Jenna Stangler (39), Jamie Gutowski (38), and Carrie Myers (37) were all called upon to help carry the load as the Brown and Gold had just eight players dressed for the game due to injuries.
WASHINGTON STATE NOTES: Washington State saw its record drop to the .500 mark after a tough 54-53 loss at home to Eastern Washington on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars have alternated wins and losses throughout the first eight games of the season.
Adriane Ferguson leads the way offensively for the Cougars. The sophomore is averaging 13.6 points per game. Kate Benz has added 11.3 points, while Keisha Moore scored 11 points on Saturday in her first action of the season.
Benz is the team's leading rebounder, grabbing 8.5 boards per game. The sophomore is shooting 51.4% from the floor as well.
Washington State is holding teams to just 59.5 points per contest on the season, and have not allowed more than 65 in their last four games. As a team, the Cougars are shooting 36.4% from the floor and 31.8% from outside the arc. They are proficient from the free throw line though, making 73.6% of their attempts on the season.
Washington State is playing its final non-conference tilt of the year, as the Cougars open Pac-10 play on December 27 at home against Arizona State.