Wednesday, February 15, 2006
CHICAGO STATE (11-12, 6-6 Mid-Con) at VALPARAISO (14-9, 8-4 Mid-Con)

Saturday, February 18, 2006, 2:05 p.m. CST.

WHERE: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000), Valparaiso, Ind.

RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and on the internet at Joey Favata and Andrew Hansen will call all of the action.

TV: None.

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is led by Keith Freeman, who is in his 18th season of coaching, and 12th with the Crusaders. He is 336-184 overall and 207-137 at Valpo. Chicago State is led by Angela Jackson, who is 32-47 in her 3rd season overall and with the Cougars.

SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso holds a 31-4 all-time advantage against Chicago State but the Cougars have won the last two meetings between the two schools. The Crusaders are a perfect 16-0 against Chicago State at the ARC.

LAST MEETING: Valparaiso led by five in the final minute before a closing 8-0 run by Chicago State lifted the Cougars to a 53-50 victory over the Crusaders on January 23, 2006 in Chicago. Carrie Myers led Valpo with 16 points while Betsy Rietema added 14. Wendy Walker scored 11 to lead the Cougars while Ayesha Neasley added ten. Chicago State's bench outscored Valpo's 29-5 for the game.

Saturday afternoon will mark the final home regular season appearance in the careers of three Valparaiso Crusaders as the Brown and Gold hosts Chicago State on Senior Day at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Crusaders are looking to rebound after suffering a 53-42 setback against first place Western Illinois last Saturday afternoon.

THANK YOU SENIORS: Valparaiso's senior class enters play Saturday having won 70 games over the past four seasons. The trio of Lauren Bechtold, Jamie Gutowski, and Mayella Kuikhoven have been a part of two Mid-Continent Conference Tournament titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances during their four years on campus. In each of their first three seasons, they have helped the Crusaders finish runner-up in the Mid-Con regular season as well.

BECHTOLD PLAYS EVERY NIGHT: Senior Lauren Bechtold has played in every game of her career at Valpo. She enters play against Chicago State tied for seventh all-time having appeared in 114 contests. Her next appearance will move her into a tie with Cheryl Wilbrandt (1989-1993) for sixth all-time.

A WINNING TRADITION: Valpo has assured itself of yet another .500 season this year. With one more victory, the Crusaders will record their 15th winning season in the last 16 years. Another win would also mean that Valpo is assured of its 13th winning Mid-Con season in the 14 years of conference play.

ON RECORD SHOOTING PACE: The Crusaders three-point shooting is currently on pace to set a new mark for a season. Valpo is shooting 39.2% from beyond the arc, more than 2% better than the current school record. The 1997-1998 team finished the season shooting 37.1% from long range.

BRAUN AMONG TOP-20 SHARP SHOOTERS: Tamra Braun is currently ranked 20th in the nation in field goal shooting connecting on 56.7% of her attempts from the floor this season. The junior center has been even better in Mid-Continent Conference play, making 63.1% of her shots against league foes. Braun is shooting 53.2% for her career, second best all-time in a Crusader uniform.

DOWN THE ROAD: Valparaiso takes to the road to close out the 2005-2006 regular season beginning Monday evening when the Crusaders travel to Indianapolis, Ind. The Brown and Gold will face IUPUI at 6 p.m. CST in a pivotal Mid-Continent Conference game. The Crusaders then head south for the final two games. Next Saturday, February 25, Valpo will face UMKC in Kansas City, Mo. in a 2 p.m. matchup. The regular season then will come to a close in Tulsa, Okla. on February 27 with a 7:05 p.m. contest against Oral Roberts.

CHICAGO STATE NOTES: Chicago State has played itself back into the middle of the pack in the Mid-Continent Conference having won three straight games after picking up a 66-63 victory over second place IUPUI on Monday night at home.

The Cougars are within a game of .500 overall but have struggled a little away from the Jacoby D. Dickens Center, posting a 3-7 overall road mark.

Chicago State is a balanced team offensively, with seven players averaging between 5.4 and 10.0 points per contest. Tina Hill leads the way for the Cougars scoring 10.0 per night. She ranks third in the Mid-Con in assists dishing out 4.35 helpers per contest as well.

Chandra Timberlake has added 8.7 points per night, including 10.0 during league play. The Cougars' top rebounder, Timberlake is grabbing 5.9 boards per contest.

Chicago State has taken care of the basketball throughout the season, committing just 15.3 turnovers per game. The average has been cut to 13.5 during Mid-Con play.