VALPARAISO (4-3, 0-0 Mid-Con) vs. #23/24 PURDUE (5-2, 0-0 Big Ten)
WHAT: Hoopla: A Celebration of Women's Basketball.
WHEN: Sunday, December 11, 2005, 2 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Memorial Coliseum (11,500), Fort Wayne, Ind.
RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM-Valparaiso) and on the internet at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Ken LaVicka and Ron Castor 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 326-178 overall and 197-131 at Valpo. Purdue is led by Kristy Curry, who is 158-46 in her 7th season overall and with the Boilermakers.
SERIES RECORD: Purdue leads the all-time series with the Crusaders 9-0. This will be the first neutral site contest ever between the two schools.
LAST MEETING: Valparaiso hung close with Purdue before eventually falling to the Boilermakers 68-57 on December 3, 2003 at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Crusaders trailed by just four at intermission in the contest. Suzie Hammel led Valpo with 15 points while Sharika Wright led the Boilermakers with 18 points in the game.
With only about 40 hours of turnaround time to shake off the loss to Central Michigan, Valparaiso returns to the hardwood on Sunday afternoon to battle #23/#24 Purdue in Fort Wayne, Ind. as part of Hoopla: A Celebration of Women's Basketball. The Crusaders are looking to rebound from a 55-49 defeat on Friday evening against the Chippewas.
ANOTHER NEAR COMEBACK: Valparaiso trailed by ten points with three minutes to go against Central Michigan before closing to within one in the final minute. The Crusaders had a shot to tie in the closing seconds, but missed a lay-in attempt. Valpo has already rallied from 17-point deficit in the second half for a win against Kent State. The Crusaders also came back from nine down to force overtime against Bradley.
DIFFICULT SCHEDULE PAYS OFF: Valparaiso's difficult schedule has helped the Crusaders in the latest collegerpi.com poll. Valpo ranks 17th overall in RPI and has the 4th toughest strength of schedule in the nation at this point. Crusader opponents, including Purdue, are a combined 36-13 on the season.
HANDS OFF DEFENSE: Valparaiso has seen much success this season on the defensive end of the floor. The Crusaders are allowing just 57.4 points per game, holding five opponents below the 60-point mark. Valpo has played defense without fouling as well, as the Brown and Gold average just 12.0 fouls per game, second fewest in Division I through December 5.
COMING OUT OF NOWHERE: Aimee Litka had played six total minutes on the season, seeing action in just three contests prior to Friday's game at Central Michigan. The rookie logged 18 minutes of action against the Chippewas, draining two three-pointers and tallying six points.
MYERS ON FIRE FROM DOWNTOWN: Carrie Myers has been deadly from long range. Over the last five games, the junior has made 19 three-pointers, including six against Kent State and four against both Xavier (Ohio) and Ball State.
PURDUE NOTES: Purdue enters the game coming off of a 65-54 victory over #10 Notre Dame on Wednesday night in West Lafayette, Ind. The Boilermakers have won four of their last five contests and are ranked 23rd in the nation in the USA Today Coaches' poll and 24th in the latest Associated Press poll.
The Boilermakers have a trio of players averaging in double figures on the season. Katie Gearlds leads the way tallying 12.9 points per night. The junior is a 92% free throw shooter.
Erin Lawless adds 11.9 points per game, while grabbing more than two offensive boards per contest. Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton adds 10.4 points per game on 58.5% shooting from the floor.
Defensively, Purdue is forcing an average of 22.7 turnovers per game, while blocking 6.1 shots per contest.