Wednesday, January 18, 2006
SOUTHERN UTAH (7-10, 0-6 Mid-Con) at VALPARAISO (10-6, 4-1 Mid-Con)

WHEN: Saturday, January 21, 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 Mike Haase and Brad Spata 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 332-181 overall and 203-134 at Valpo. Southern Utah is led by Joe Hillock, who is 124-139 in his 10th season overall and with the Thunderbirds.

SERIES RECORD: Valparaiso holds an 11-5 advantage all-time in the series with Southern Utah. The Crusaders are 7-1 against the Thunderbirds at the ARC, having won four straight at home. Valpo has won the last two meetings overall between the two schools.

LAST MEETING: Valparaiso played stifling defense, holding Southern Utah to just 28.6% shooting for the game, and forced 25 turnovers on the way to a 58-38 victory over the Thunderbirds on February 19, 2005. Tamra Braun led Valpo with 14 points and ten rebounds for the Crusaders while Cassie Warburton led Southern Utah led Southern Utah with ten points.

After dropping its first Mid-Continent Conference game of the season on Monday evening, Valparaiso will look to rebound with a victory on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders entertain Southern Utah. Valpo fell 61-57 on Monday at first place Western Illinois.

STREAKING AT HOME: Valparaiso has won ten straight games at the Athletics-Recreation Center, a streak that began on February 5, 2005. The winning streak is the 14th longest home court streak in the nation in Division I. Conference foe Western Illinois holds the nation's longest streak, having won 46 straight games in Macomb, Ill.

BRAUN NEARING 500 BOARDS: Tamra Braun enters play just 12 rebounds shy of becoming the 13th player in Valpo history to reach the 500 rebound plateau. The junior center's 488 career boards currently rank her 14th all-time in a Crusader uniform.

TAYLOR HAS CAREER NIGHT: Krystal Taylor made the most of her ten minutes of action on Monday night at Western Illinois. The redshirt-junior scored a career-high eight points after being a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor. She also pulled down a pair of defensive rebounds.

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 1.20 assist-to-turnover ratio in Mid-Con action as well as leading in turnover margin at +4.60. Lauren Bechtold has a 2.20 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 heads out on the road Monday evening for a 7 p.m. game in Chicago against the Cougars of Chicago State. The Brown and Gold will then return to the ARC for a stretch of five home games in six contests overall. Oakland will begin the stretch of home contests for the Crusaders as the Golden Grizzlies visit Valparaiso on January 28 for a 2:05 p.m. contest. IUPUI visits the ARC two nights later for a 7:05 p.m. contest.

SOUTHERN UTAH NOTES: Southern Utah is looking for its first Mid-Continent Conference victory of the season as well as trying to snap a seven-game losing streak when the Thunderbirds visit Valparaiso. The Thunderbirds are coming off of a 76-67 loss at Centenary on Monday evening.

Cassie Hahl leads the Southern Utah offense averaging 13.6 points per game. Charmaine Piula and Cheryl Grant are adding 11.1 and 10.1 points per contest respectively as three Thunderbirds are averaging in double-figures. Grant is also the team's leading rebounder grabbing 6.1 boards per contest.

The Thunderbirds are shooting 39.2% from the floor on the year while opponents are connecting on 43.2% of their field goal attempts. Southern Utah is also committing 20.5 turnovers per contest.

Southern Utah is wrapping up a four-game road trip at Valpo and will have just three road contests remaining over its last nine games.