VALPARAISO (11-6, 5-1 Mid-Con) at CHICAGO STATE (7-10, 2-4 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Monday, January 23, 2006, 7 p.m. CST.
WHERE: Jacoby D. Dickens Center (2,500), Chicago, Ill.
RADIO: WVUR (95.1-FM-Valparaiso) and on the internet at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Ron Castor and Andrew Hansen 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 333-181 overall and 204-134 at Valpo. Chicago State is led by Angela Jackson, who is 28-45 in her 3rd season overall and with the Cougars.
SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso holds a 31-3 advantage all-time in the series with Chicago State. The Crusaders are 13-3 against the Cougars in the Windy City.
LAST MEETING: Tamra Braun scored a career-high 27 points but Faith Buchanan made two free throws with 15.8 seconds remaining to give Chicago State a 58-56 victory over the Crusaders in Chicago on February 10, 2005. Braun made 13-of-20 shots from the floor and grabbed nine rebounds while blocking four shots but the rest of the Crusaders combined to shoot just 28.9% from the floor and 35.7% from the line in the loss. Tina Hill led Chicago State with 14 points while Betsy Rietema added 12 for Valpo.
Having won six of their last seven games overall, the Valparaiso Crusaders look to keep pace near the top of the tight Mid-Continent Conference standings on Monday evening as the Brown and Gold head to the Windy City to battle Chicago State. Valpo is coming off of a 77-58 victory over Southern Utah on Saturday afternoon.
BRAUN NEARING 500 BOARDS: Tamra Braun enters play just seven rebounds shy of becoming the 13th player in Valpo history to reach the 500 rebound plateau. The junior center's 493 career boards currently rank her 14th all-time in a Crusader uniform.
FROM DOWNTOWN: Valparaiso is shooting 40.1% (101-of-252) from three-point range on the season as a team and is on record-setting pace. The Crusader school mark for outside shooting in a season is 37.1% set by the 1997-1998 team.
ALL-AROUND PLAYER: Over the last six games Betsy Rietema has done a little of everything. The junior is averaging 13.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game during the span. She has scored in double-figures five times and grabbed six or more boards three times in the six contests.
TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL IN LEAGUE PLAY: Valparaiso has given opponents very few opportunities for easy baskets in Mid-Con action. The Crusaders are committing just 12.2 miscues per game in league play. Valpo has a 1.19 assist-to-turnover ratio in Mid-Con action as well as leading in turnover margin at +4.5. Lauren Bechtold has a 2.30 assist-to-turnover ratio in conference action to lead the Crusaders.
AMONG THE NATION'S BEST: Valparaiso ranks in the top-25 in the nation in four statistical categories through January 16. The Crusaders have committed the fifth fewest fouls of any team in the country (13.3 per game), rank 13th in three-point field goal percentage shooting 39.6%, 22nd in scoring defense allowing just 55.0 points per game, and are 19th committing just 14.3 turnovers per contest. Individually, Carrie Myers ranks 24th in the country making 2.7 three-pointers per game.
DOWN THE ROAD: Valparaiso begins a stretch where the Crusaders will play five out of the next six games at the Athletics-Recreation Center beginning on Saturday afternoon as the Brown and Gold welcomes Oakland to town. Tip-off with the Golden Grizzlies is set for 2:05 p.m. The Crusaders then will host IUPUI on Monday, January 30 at 7:05 p.m. The Jaguars are the last team Valpo will have not seen in the Mid-Continent Conference this season.
CHICAGO STATE NOTES: Chicago State has dropped four of its last five contests after falling 62-49 at home against Western Illinois on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars started the season 5-1 and are 4-5 at the Dickens Center.
Tina Hill is the only Cougar that is averaging in double-figures. Her 10.2 points per game compliment her 4.4 assists per contest. Brandi-Janai Carter adds 9.1 points per contest for Chicago State.
On the glass, Renada Blackburn leads the way clearing 7.2 rebounds per night.
The Cougars do most of their scoring from inside the arc, as Chicago State has made just 35 three-pointers this season while shooting 23.6% from long range. They are forcing 17.8 turnovers per contest from their opponents, 8.1 of which come via steals.
Following the game with Valparaiso, Chicago State will head out on the road for its next three contests.