Crusaders Host Northern Arizona Friday Night in Home Opener
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Game #3: Friday, November 17, 7:05 p.m. CST
Northern Arizona (1-1, 0-0 Big Sky) at Valpo (0-2, 0-0 Mid-Con)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000), Valparaiso, Ind.

Coming Up in Crusader Hoops:
Valparaiso looks to pick up its first victory of the season on Friday evening as the Crusaders return to the Athletics-Recreation Center for the first time in 2006-2007 when the Brown and Gold entertain Northern Arizona. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m.

On the Air: Friday's game against Northern Arizona will be carried live by WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at The student-run radio station plans on carrying all Crusader women's basketball games this season live both over the air and online. Andrew Hansen and Josh Weinhold will call all the action live from the Athletics-Recreation Center.

Series Notes: Valparaiso and Northern Arizona are meeting for just the second time ever and the first time at the Athletics-Recreation Center. In the first meeting between the two schools, December 30, 1992 in Flagstaff, Ariz., the Crusaders defeated the Lumberjacks 101-79.

Wrapping Up Indiana: The Crusaders hung tough with their second straight Big Ten foe for the first half, but cold shooting doomed Valpo in the second 20 minutes as the Hoosiers defeated the Brown and Gold 85-51 in Bloomington, Ind. on Wednesday. Aimee Litka scored a career-high 14 points, including four three-pointers, while Carrie Myers added 11 points of her own to pace the Crusaders. Indiana limited Valpo to just 11 second half points, as the Crusaders shot just 2-of-30 from the field while committing 13 turnovers during the stanza. Leah Enterline paced the Hoosiers with 17 points.

Scouting Northern Arizona: The Lumberjacks enter the contest 1-1 following a 72-32 victory over Western New Mexico on Tuesday evening. Northern Arizona has gotten a pair of 20-point performances from Alyssa Wahl in the opening two games, as she currently is averaging 24.5 points per contest. Laura Dinkins is also scoring in double figures at 10.0 points per game, while Ashley Ingle has pulled down 9.0 rebounds per contest, including 14 against Western New Mexico. The Lumberjacks held Western New Mexico to just 20.8% shooting from the field for the game a 56-25 advantage on the glass, including a 23-9 edge on the offensive boards.

Hochstetler Makes First Career Start at Indiana: After coming off of the bench for the first 28 games of her career, sophomore point guard Launa Hochstetler earned her first collegiate start on Wednesday at Indiana. Hochstetler dished out five assists and grabbed two rebounds to go along with two points in 24 minutes of action.

Litka Has Career Night: Aimee Litka poured in a career high 14 points for the Brown and Gold at Indiana. The sophomore kept Valpo close throughout the first half with four three-pointers, also a career best. She finished the game 4-of-8 from long range and also grabbed five rebounds.

Ott Ties Career High at Indiana: Sarah Ott made the most of her 13 minutes of action, tying her career high with six points against the Hoosiers. The redshirt-sophomore knocked down her first collegiate triple and also grabbed a pair of rebounds in the contest.

Rietema and Helenius Make the Freebies: Senior Betsy Rietema and sophomore Sanna Helenius have both had good starts for the Crusaders from the charity stripe. Combined the duo has made 16-of-19 free throws. Rietema went 5-for-6 at Indiana while Helenius was 6-of-7 at Northwestern from the stripe.

Being Productive: Evva Comans made the most of her five minutes of action against the Hoosiers on Wednesday night. The redshirt-sophomore grabbed four rebounds in the short time she was on the floor.

Home Sweet Home: Valparaiso opens the home campaign against Northern Arizona at the Athletics-Recreation Center, a place the Crusaders are 175-98 (.641) all-time. In the last five seasons, Valpo has posted a 53-13 (.803) mark at the ARC.

Home Openers: The Crusaders have won four of their last five home openers after defeating Northern Iowa 62-48 to open the 2005-2006 season last year. Valpo's lone defeat during the span came to nationally-ranked Notre Dame to open up the 2004-2005 season at the ARC.

Big Sky Rare Air for Valpo: Valparaiso is 1-0 all-time against the Big Sky Conference, with Northern Arizona being the only foe the Crusaders have ever faced from the league.

Valpo Picked Second in Mid-Con Race: Valparaiso had been tabbed to finish in second place in the Mid-Continent Conference this season according to the preseason poll conducted of the league's head coaches, sports information directors, and selected media outlets. The Crusaders trailed only Oral Roberts in the balloting. Ironically, Valpo and the Golden Eagles will open Mid-Con play against each other on January 6.

Three Crusaders Tabbed to League's Preseason Teams: Valparaiso had three Crusaders selected to the Mid-Continent Conference's Preseason All-Conference Teams. Tamra Braun and Betsy Rietema were named to the First Team while Carrie Myers was selected to the Second Team. Braun averaged 12.0 points and a team-high 8.3 boards per game last season on her way to First Team All Mid-Con honors. Rietema, a Second Team All Mid-Con selection last year, led Valpo with 13.0 points per game while grabbing 6.0 rebounds per night. Myers earned Honorable Mention accolades last season posting 10.6 points per game while shooting 40.2% from three-point range.

Rietema Moves Into 15th in School History in Scoring: Betsy Rietema has moved into 15th all-time in school history in scoring. The senior forward has tallied 877 moving past Michelle Russell (1991-1994). Rietema also needs just 19 points to match Heidi Diefenthaler (1992-1996) for 14th all-time in scoring.

Braun Nearing Top-20 in Scoring: Senior Tamra Braun is on the verge of Valpo's career scoring list. The Valpo center currently has scored 809 points over her career. She trails current Crusader graduate assistant Jamie Gutowski (2002-2006) by 13 points for 20th place all-time.

Freeman Winningest Coach in Mid-Con History: Head coach Keith Freeman's 209 victories are not only most in Valpo history, but also rank top in Mid-Continent Conference history for career wins.

Braun Continues to Move Up Rebounding Charts: Tamra Braun is currently ninth all-time in school history with 617 career rebounds. The senior center is 25 shy of Carie Wickham's (1996-2001) eighth place total of 642 boards.

Braun Also Swats Shots: Tamra Braun also ranks second all-time with 143 career blocked shots. She trails Michelle Mader's (1988-1992) school record by 23 rejections.

Braun Among Mid-Con Best in Blocks: Tamra Braun's 143 career blocks also are eighth best in Mid-Continent Conference history. She needs one more swat to tie Lauren Powers (UMKC, 1997-2001) for seventh place in the league's record book.

Myers Deadly from Long Range: Carrie Myers enters play in seventh place on the career three-point list with 134 triples. The senior is six triples behind Heidi Diefenthaler (1992-1996) for the sixth spot all-time and trails Megan Newcomer (1996-2000) by 11 for fifth place in Valpo laurels.

Rietema Likes Freebies: Betsy Rietema's 240 career free throws are fifth most in school history. She trails Paige Freeman (1985-1989) by 33 for fourth place in the all-time record book.

Freeman Adds Five Hoosiers for 2007-2008: Keith Freeman has signed five Indiana prep players to National Letters of Intent for the 2007-2008 season. Joining the Crusader roster next year are forward LaTice Jones (Gary, Ind./Roosevelt H.S.), guard Rashida Ray (Fort Wayne, Ind./Harding H.S.), guard Stephanie Thomas (Avon, Ind./Avon H.S.), Jasmine Ussery (Newburg, Ind./Castle H.S.), and Ashley Varner (South Bend, Ind./Washington H.S.).