VALPARAISO (15-10, 9-5 Mid-Con) at UMKC (8-17, 6-8 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Saturday, February 25, 2006, 2 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Swinney Recreation Center (1,500), Kansas City, Mo.
RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and on the internet at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Ken LaVicka and Andrew Hansen will call all of the action.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is led by Keith Freeman, who is in his 18th season of coaching, and 12th with the Crusaders. He is 337-185 overall and 208-138 at Valpo. UMKC is led by Bo Overton, who is 18-37 in his 2nd season overall and with the Kangaroos.
SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso holds an 18-8 all-time advantage against UMKC. The Crusaders hold a 6-5 edge in Kansas City, but the Kangaroos have won the last three at home.
LAST MEETING: Valparaiso set a new school record allowing just 31 points as the Crusaders defeated UMKC 65-31 on December 30, 2005 at the ARC in the Mid-Continent Conference opener for both schools. Valpo held the Kangaroos to just 20.4% shooting for the game and 11 first half points in the victory. Tamra Braun led the Crusaders with 17 points and seven rebounds while Aimee Litka added eight more off of the bench. Brittny Picconi led UMKC with eight points but was just 3-of-20 shooting from the field.
Valparaiso enters the final weekend of the regular season looking to rebound from Monday night's loss to IUPUI as the Crusaders head to Kansas City, Mo. on Saturday afternoon to take on UMKC. Valpo is looking to remain in third place in the Mid-Con standings.
RIETEMA LIKES SHOOTING FREE THROWS AT IUPUI: Betsy Rietema connected on 13-of-14 free throws on Monday night at IUPUI, tying for the fifth best shooting night in school history (minimum ten attempts). Ironically, Rietema tied her own mark for fifth place, as she also made 13-of-14 from the line last year at IUPUI.
KUIKHOVEN SETS SOME CAREER HIGHS: Mayella Kuikhoven tied her career high with nine rebounds, including seven on the offensive end, Monday night at IUPUI. The senior forward also blocked a pair of shots, the first time in her four years she has had more than one rejection. Kuikhoven also scored eight points in the game.
GRABBING THE OFFENSIVE BOARDS: Even though Valparaiso struggled shooting from the floor Monday at IUPUI (29.3%), the Crusaders did give themselves extra opportunities. Valpo grabbed 21 offensive rebounds, seven more than the Brown and Gold had grabbed in any game prior this season. Unfortunately for the Crusaders, Valpo managed just 13 second chance points with the 21 opportunities.
A WINNING TRADITION: Valpo has assured itself of its 15th winning season in the last 16 years. The Crusaders also have clinched their 13th winning Mid-Con season in the 14 years of conference play.
DISHING THE ROCK: Lauren Bechtold has dished out nine assists while committing just one turnover in the last two games for the Crusaders, including 45 minutes of action against Chicago State in a double-overtime contest. The senior guard has moved into a sixth place on Valpo's career assist list with 281. Bechtold is averaging 3.04 assists per contest this year and has a 1.73 assist-to-turnover ratio, a mark that ranks fourth in the Mid-Con. Her assist per game average is tied for tenth best in the league.
DOWN THE ROAD: The Crusaders will close out the regular season in Tulsa, Okla. on Monday night with a 7:05 p.m. contest against Oral Roberts. The game will be televised live on WYIN-56. Valpo then returns to Tulsa for the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament next weekend. This year's event takes place March 4-7.
UMKC NOTES: UMKC snapped a five-game losing skid on Monday evening as the Kangaroos defeated Southern Utah 69-54 at home to move into a tie for sixth place in the Mid-Con standings.
The Kangaroos are 4-5 at home on the season, including 3-4 in league play. UMKC is wrapping up its home season on Saturday before finishing the year on the road.
Brittny Picconi leads the Kangaroos scoring 13.4 points per contest. The transfer became eligible at UMKC nine games into the season and is shooting 27.7% from the floor.
Stephanie Brown is also averaging in double figures for the Kangaroos. She is tallying 12.4 points per game on the season, but has improved that mark to 14.0 per league game. Brown also leads the Kangaroos in rebounding, grabbing 8.9 boards per game.