ORAL ROBERTS (8-6, 2-1 Mid-Con) at VALPARAISO (8-5, 3-0 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Monday, January 9, 2006, 5:15 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000), Valparaiso, 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.
TV: WYIN-56 (Merrillville) and WHME-46 (South Bend). Dick Harlan and Joe Arredondo 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 330-180 overall and 201-133 at Valpo. Oral Roberts is led by Jerry Finkbeiner, who is 346-162 in his 17th season overall and 147-128 in his 10th season with the Golden Eagles.
SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso leads the all-time series with the Golden Eagles 15-5. The Crusaders have won four straight meetings and ten of the last 11 contests between the two schools. Valpo leads the series 6-2 at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
LAST MEETING: Carrie Myers made six first half three-pointers as Valpo shot 60.7% in the opening stanza on the way to a 69-58 victory over Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Okla. on February 26, 2005. Valpo's defense held Oral Roberts without a field goal for 10:16 in the second half to help secure the victory. Myers led Valpo with 21 points while Tamra Braun and Betsy Rietema each added 15 points. Claudia Louis led Oral Roberts with 13 points while Elisha Turek and Leah Cannon added 12 each.
Having won three straight games to open Mid-Continent Conference play, Valparaiso returns home on Monday night to host Oral Roberts in a game that can be seen live on WYIN-56 and WHME-46. The Crusaders are coming off of a 66-47 victory at Centenary on Wednesday evening.
BRAUN NAMED MID-CON PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Tamra Braun has been named the Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Week after turning in three solid outings last week. The junior center averaged 14.0 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 64.0% against Notre Dame, UMKC, and Oakland. She turned in her fifth double-double of the season with 15 points and ten rebounds at Oakland.
BRAUN POSTS BIG NUMBERS OVER LAST SIX GAMES: Tamra Braun has been solid in the low post for Valpo over the last six games. Starting with the Purdue contest, the junior center is averaging 15.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting an incredible 69.6% from the field. She has scored in double-figures in seven straight games now.
STINGY DEFENSE IN THE MID-CON: Mid-Continent Conference opponents have struggled to score against the Brown and Gold in the first three games of league play. Valpo is allowing just 44.3 points per contest over the span , holding conference foes to just 30.8% shooting from the floor (including 27.6% from three-point range), and forcing 18.0 turnovers per contest.
RIETEMA RACKS UP SECOND DOUBLE-DOUBLE AT CENTENARY: Betsy Rietema recorded her second double-double of the season on Wednesday at Centenary. The junior forward scored 14 points and added a career-high 11 rebounds in the win. She also doubled up at Central Michigan earlier this season.
POINT GUARDS TAKE CARE OF THE BALL: Valpo's two point guards both have positive assist-to-turnover ratios this season. Lauren Bechtold (1.6) has dished out 36 helpers while committing just 23 turnovers while Launa Hochstetler (2.3) has recorded 30 assists and turned the ball over just 13 times.
DOWN THE ROAD: The Brown and Gold will remain at home on Thursday evening for Valpo's final non-conference game of the season. The Crusaders will battle IPFW in a 7:05 p.m. tip-off. Valparaiso then heads back out on the road next Monday when the Crusaders travel to Macomb, Ill. to battle Western Illinois. The Westerwinds currently hold the nation's longest homecourt win streak, 44. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.
ORAL ROBERTS NOTES: Oral Roberts had its three-game winning streak snapped on Saturday afternoon at home as the Golden Eagles fell 68-56 to Western Illinois.
The Golden Eagles are the top-scoring team in the Mid-Continent Conference, averaging 78.4 points per night. They also lead the league forcing 25.1 turnovers from their opponents each game.
Elisha Turek leads Oral Roberts offensively averaging 16.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per contest. She posted a double-double, 13 points and 11 rebounds, against Western Illinois.
Jenny Hardin also tallies double-figures for the Golden Eagles. The freshman is averaging 10.6 points per game.