VALPARAISO (4-2, 0-0 Mid-Con) at CENTRAL MICHIGAN (5-0, 0-0 MAC)
WHEN: Friday, December 9, 2005, 6 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Rose Arena (5,200), Mount Pleasant, Mich.
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 326-177 overall and 197-130 at Valpo. Central Michigan is led by Eileen Kleinfelter, who is 263-157 in her 15th season overall and 41-76 in her 5th season with the Chippewas.
SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with Central Michigan 2-0. The Crusaders won the only meeting between the two schools at Rose Arena 66-46 on November 30, 2003.
LAST MEETING: Valparaiso made a school-record 17 three-pointers on the way to an 81-60 victory over Central Michigan on December 8, 2004 at the ARC. An early 16-2 run helped Valpo jump in front and the Crusaders never looked back. Carrie Myers made seven threes on the way to a game-high 23 points for Valpo. Stacey Verhoff led Central Michigan with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.
Valparaiso is set to take on its third Mid-American Conference opponent of the season on Friday evening as the Crusaders head to Mount Pleasant, Mich. to battle Central Michigan. The Brown and Gold is coming off of a 61-49 victory at Ball State on Sunday afternoon, and is looking for its third straight victory.
QUEENS OF THE MAC?: Valparaiso will look to run its record to 3-0 against the Mid-American Conference this season at Central Michigan. The Crusaders have already downed MAC foes Kent State (66-62, ot) at the Xavier Invitational and Ball State (61-49) on the road in the Hoosier State Classic. The Golden Flashes are 4-1 and the Cardinals are 5-1, with the lone losses coming against the Brown and Gold. The Chippewas enter the game undefeated with a perfect 5-0 mark.
DIFFICULT SCHEDULE PAYS OFF: Valparaiso's difficult schedule has helped the Crusaders in the latest collegerpi.com poll. Valpo ranks 11th overall in RPI and has the third toughest strength of schedule in the nation at this point. Crusader opponents, including Central Michigan, are a combined 29-11 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 57.8 points per game, holding four 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.
KUIKHOVEN HAS BIG GAME: Mayella Kuikhoven played one of her best games as a Crusader at Ball State. She scored 13 points off of the bench, two shy of her career high, while grabbing a career-best nine rebounds, including seven on the offensive end, in 30 minutes of action.
MYERS ON FIRE FROM DOWNTOWN: Carrie Myers has been deadly from long range. Over the last four games, the junior has made 16 three-pointers, including six against Kent State and four against both Xavier (Ohio) and Ball State.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN NOTES: Central Michigan enters the contest a perfect 5-0 after defeating Cleveland State 66-44 on the road Tuesday night. The Chippewas are returning home for the first time since November 26, and posted a victory over Michigan on their most recent road trip.
The Chippewas have three players averaging in double-figures in the scoring column. Ann Skufca leads the way with 14.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per night. The 6'2" junior is shooting 79.3% from the free throw line as well.
Senior Chasidy Myers adds 12.8 points per night for Central Michigan. A 65.0% shooter from the floor and 85.7% free throw shooter, she is also grabbing 5.8 boards per night.
Sharonda Hurd is the other player in double figures on the season. The junior is tallying 11.8 points per game.
As a team, Central Michigan is winning games by an average of 20.8 points per night. The team is shooting 44.3% from the floor, including 45.1% from beyond the arc.