VALPARAISO (1-1, 0-0 Mid-Con) vs. KENT STATE (2-0, 0-0 MAC)
WHAT: National City Bank Xavier Invitational First Round.
WHEN: Friday, November 25, 2005, 2 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Cintas Center (10,250), Cincinnati, Ohio.
RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM-Valparaiso) and on the internet at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Mike Haase and Jesse Shale 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 323-176 overall and 194-129 at Valpo. Kent State is led by Bob Lindsay, who is 310-161 in his 17th season overall and with the Golden Flashes.
SERIES RECORD: Valpo and Kent State have split their two previous meetings 1-1. Both were played at neutral sites with the Golden Flashes winning at the Canisius Tournament in 1987 and Valpo winning at the Kentucky Tournament in 1990.
LAST MEETING: Points were plentiful in the last meeting between Valpo and Kent State as the Crusaders downed the Golden Flashes 122-112 on November 24, 1990 in the consolation game of the Kentucky Tournament in Lexington, Ky.
Valparaiso gets a chance to rebound from its heartbreaking double-overtime loss at Bradley when the Crusaders head to Cincinnati, Ohio on Friday afternoon for the first round of the National City Bank Xavier Invitational to face Kent State.
RIETEMA EARNS MID-CON HONORS: Forward Betsy Rietema has been named the Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Week after exploding in the first two games for the Crusaders. The junior averaged 23.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 5.5 steals per game against Northern Iowa and Bradley. In the win over the Panthers, she scored 24 points, one off of her career high, while adding career-bests in rebounds (nine) and steals (six). At Bradley, she played 48 minutes scoring 22 points and adding eight rebounds and five steals.
BRAUN MOVES UP THE MID-CON CHARTS IN BLOCKED SHOTS: Tamra Braun has moved into the top-ten on the Mid-Con's career blocked shots list with 103 swats during her career. She moved passed Missy Beck (Eastern Illinois, 1992-1996, 100) with her three blocks against Northern Iowa in the season opener. Braun is also second all-time at Valpo behind Michelle Mader (1988-1992), who had 166 rejections.
BRAUN IS DOUBLE-TROUBLE: Tamra Braun posted her ninth career double-double on Monday night in the Crusaders' double-overtime loss at Bradley. She registered 14 points and grabbed ten rebounds while shooting 6-of-10 from the floor.
SHE'S ONLY A FRESHMAN: Launa Hochstetler made a big impact for the Crusaders at Bradley. Coming off of the bench, the freshman scored eight points, dished out seven assists against just one turnover, and tied for game-high honors with five steals.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE TURNOVERS MAKE: Valpo committed just 12 turnovers in the win against Northern Iowa but had 14 in the first half at Bradley while falling behind by nine. The Crusaders turned it around while rallying, committing just three over in the second half and both overtimes combined.
DOWN THE ROAD: Valparaiso will stay at the National City Bank Xavier Invitational on Saturday for the championship or consolation game against either the host Musketeers of Xavier (Ohio) or Elon. The consolation begins at 12 p.m. CST with the championship slated for 2 p.m. CST. The Crusaders return home on Wednesday, November 30 to host Northwestern at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m.
KENT STATE NOTES: Kent State enters the National City Bank Xavier Invitational 2-0 after posting a pair of home victories last weekend. The Golden Flashes opened the year with a 35-point win over Lipscomb then followed with a 68-64 overtime triumph against Auburn on Sunday.
Lindsay Shearer leads the way for Kent State averaging 21.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game while making 13-of-14 (92.9%) from the free throw line. The senior forward scored 38 points in the victory over Auburn.
Rachel Bennett has added 9.5 points per game while La'kia Stewart has chipped in 8.5 for the Golden Flashes.
Kent State's defense has limited opponents to just 26.2% shooting from the floor and 13.0% from three-point range. The Golden Flashes have also forced an average of 22.0 turnovers per game during the first two contests.
The Golden Flashes are picked to finish in second place in the Mid-American Conference East Division.