Game #21: Monday, January 29, 7 p.m. CST
Valpo (11-9, 4-2 Mid-Con) at UMKC (7-14, 3-3 Mid-Con)
Swinney Recreation Center (1,500) - Kansas City, Mo.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso looks to quickly rebound from Saturday's loss at Southern Utah as the Crusaders close out their four-game road trip in Kansas City, Mo. on Monday evening when the Brown and Gold battle UMKC. The Crusaders have still won seven of their last nine games and, following the contest against the Kangaroos, will return home for six of their last eight regular season games this year.
On the Air: Monday's game against UMKC will be carried live by WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. 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 Ron Castor will call all the action live from Swinney Recreation Center.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and UMKC are meeting for the 29th time overall with the Crusaders holding a 19-9 series advantage. Each team has won six meetings on the Kangaroos' home court, but UMKC has won the last four meetings in Kansas City. Valpo and UMKC have met four times in Mid-Continent Conference Tournament play, including each of the last three years, with the Crusaders holding a 3-1 edge, including a victory in Kansas City (at Kemper Arena) during the 2003-2004 season. Last year, Valpo downed the Kangaroos 65-31 at the Athletics-Recreation Center, dropped a 69-63 decision at Swinney Recreation Center, and won the rubber match, 69-48, in the Mid-Con quarterfinals held in Tulsa, Okla.
Wrapping Up Southern Utah: Tamra Braun tied Valpo's career rebounding record but the Thunderbirds held the Crusaders without scoring for more than eight minutes in the second half as Southern Utah defeated Valparaiso 56-49 on Saturday evening in Cedar City, Utah. Valpo led by three at the break, and saw its lead grow to six on the first possession of the second half, before a 12-0 run by the hosts gave the Thunderbirds the lead for good. Aimee Litka led Valpo with 11 points, the only Crusader in double figures.
Scouting UMKC: The Kangaroos are at .500 in the Mid-Con, having alternated wins and losses of their last six games following a 50-38 defeat on Saturday afternoon at the hands of Western Illinois. Alysa Klein leads the way for UMKC averaging 11.7 points per game after scoring 15 against the Westerwinds. The junior center is shooting 51.2% from the floor. Stephanie Brown leads the team on the glass grabbing 7.2 boards per night.
Braun Ties School Rebounding Record: Tamra Braun has moved into a tie for the top spot all-time on Valpo's career rebounding list with 772 boards after grabbing an offensive rebound, her 10th board of the night, midway through the second half at Southern Utah. She has equalled Sarrah Stricklett's total set from 1996-2000, and with her first board at UMKC will own first place all to herself.
Freeman Looking for Career Victory #350: Head coach Keith Freeman's next win will be the 350th of his career on the sidelines. In his 19th season overall coaching, he has posted a 349-196 record. Of the 349 victories, 220 have come on the Valpo bench.
Road Warriors: Valpo is wrapping up a four-game road trip which has seen the Crusaders spend the night in six different cities in all four time zones during the 10 day span. The Brown and Gold won the first two games of the trip at Western Illinois and IPFW before falling at Southern Utah.
Litka Shines at Southern Utah: Aimee Litka was one of the lone offensive bright spots for the Crusaders in Saturday's loss to the Thunderbirds. She racked up 11 points, the third double-figure scoring night of her career. Earlier this year she posted a career high 14 points at Indiana.
Rietema Acts Like a Thief: Senior Betsy Rietema recorded three steals on Saturday against the Thunderbirds, and has moved within three swipes of moving into the top-10 on Valpo's career steals list. Lisa Diefenthaler (1992-1996) currently ranks 10th with 151 steals.
Myers Among Best Triple Shooters in Mid-Con History: Carrie Myers' 185 career three-pointers ranks as the ninth most makes in Mid-Continent Conference laurels. The senior needs three more threes to match Katie Wolfe (Oakland, 1999-2003) for eighth place on the league's charts. Krista Ragan (Oral Roberts, 1997-2002) ranks seventh with 200 treys.
Valpo Plays Close Games: The Crusaders have played 12 games decided by 10 points or less this season, winning eight of them. Five of the six conference games have been decided by seven points or less in a league where two games separates first place from sixth place.
Myers Continues to Drain Three-Pointers: Carrie Myers had made at least one three-point field goal in all 20 games thus far this season. In fact, the senior guard has made two or more triples in 16 games, highlighted by five triples against both Bradley and Indiana State. Myers leads the Mid-Con with 2.8 threes made per game.
Braun Sets Valpo's Career Block Record: Tamra Braun rejected three Centenary shots on January 8, moving past Michelle Mader (1988-1992) to become the school's blocked shot leader. She currently has 178 career blocks, while Mader finished her career with 166. Braun ranks among Valpo's single season leaders in each of her four seasons with the Brown and Gold. This year she currently ranks eighth on the single season charts with 35 swats.
Home Sweet Home: Valparaiso continues to have success at home in recent years. The Brown and Gold has a 180-101 (.641) record all-time at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Since the 2001-2002 season, Valpo has posted a 58-16 (.784) mark at the ARC.
Myers Among Top Outside Shooters in the Country: Senior guard Carrie Myers currently ranks 14th in all of NCAA Division I in three-point field goals per game. Her 2.7 makes per contest lead the Mid-Continent Conference as well. In addition, her 43.3% accuracy beyond the arc ranks 19th best in the country through January 25.
Among the Nation's Best: Valpo ranks among the top-30 in the country in three statistical categories as a team. The Crusaders are 28th in three-point field goals per game, making 6.5 per night. In addition, Valpo's 38.6% shooting from beyond the arc ranks 16th in NCAA Division I through January 25. Finally, Valpo has committed just 14.6 fouls per game, 20th fewest among all schools.
Crusaders Against the Mid-Con: As the Brown and Gold plays in its final season of Mid-Con competition, Valpo has posted a 147-82 (.642) record all-time in conference play. The 147 victories are a conference record, and Valpo is assured of leaving the league with the most wins ever in the Mid-Con. The Crusaders have won a pair of conference regular season crowns while finishing runner-up four times.
Triple Double for Rietema: Betsy Rietema turned in a rare triple-double for the Crusaders in the loss to Indiana State. The senior forward scored 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out a career-best 10 assists. In addition, she committed just one turnover on the day.
Bombs Away from Three: Valpo's assault from three-point range against Bradley was nearly one for the record books. The 14 made triples tie for the third most by any Crusader team in a game all-time. The school record is 17, set against Central Michigan on December 8, 2004. Valpo made 15 threes last year against UMKC. The 14 triples are tied for fifth most among any team in the country this season.
Rietema Player of the Week: Betsy Rietema was named the Mid-Con's Player of the Week on December 5 after averaging 15.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 2.7 steals for Valpo during a five-day stretch. She had 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds against Bradley and added 12 points and eight boards at Loyola (Chicago). She posted a triple-double, 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, against Indiana State.
Rietema and Braun Become 11th and 12th Members of Valpo's 1,000 Point Club: Betsy Rietema became the 11th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark in her career with her jumper midway through the first half against Saint Francis (Ind.). Teammate Tamra Braun equalled the feat with a free throw midway through the second half at IPFW.
Rietema Up to 8th in School History in Scoring: Betsy Rietema has moved into eighth place all-time in school history in scoring. The senior forward has tallied 1,129 points, passing Lynda Kukla's (1988-1992) total of 1,081 points. Rietema is 65 points shy of Aimee Forsman (1988-1992) for seventh place all-time.
Braun Moves into 12th in Scoring at Valpo: Senior Tamra Braun has also moved into the top-15 on Valpo's career scoring list. The Valpo center currently has scored 1,004 points over her career passing Shari Toelke (1990-1994) for 12th place all-time. She now needs 11 more points to match Carrie Forsman (1992-1996) for 11th place all-time.
Rietema Finds the Rebounding Charts: Betsy Rietema has moved into 13th place on Valparaiso's career rebounding list. The senior forward has brought down 513 rebounds to date. With 24 more boards she will match Jill Otto (1985-1989) for 12th all-time in a Crusader uniform.
Braun Among Mid-Con Best in Blocks: Tamra Braun's 178 career blocks are sixth best in Mid-Continent Conference history. Kim Wood (UW-Green Bay, 1992-1994) is fifth with 191 blocks.
Dishing the Rock: Betsy Rietema has also cracked the top-15 all-time at Valparaiso in assists. The senior has moved into 15th place with her 204 career helpers, passing Amy Cole's (1987-1991) and Heidi Diefenthaler's (1992-1996) total of 202. She needs four more to equal Lynda Kukla (1988-1992) for 14th place.
Myers Deadly from Long Range: Carrie Myers enters play in third place on the career three-point list with 185 triples. Myers trails Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) by 51 threes for second all-time.
Rietema Likes Freebies: Betsy Rietema's 303 career free throws are third most in school history. She is nearly 200 behind second place Sarrah Stricklett's (1996-2000) total of 494.
Freeman Winningest Coach in Mid-Con History: Head coach Keith Freeman's 220 victories are not only most in Valpo history, but also rank tops in Mid-Continent Conference history for career wins.
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.).