Crusaders Set to Face Second Straight Big Ten Opponent as Valpo Travels to Indiana Wednesday
Monday, November 13, 2006
Game #2: Wednesday, November 15, 6 p.m. CST
Valpo (0-1, 0-0 Mid-Con) at Indiana (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Assembly Hall (17,357) - Bloomington, Ind.

Coming Up in Crusader Hoops:
Valparaiso will continue its season-opening road trip against the Big Ten on Wednesday evening as the Crusaders head down state to battle Indiana. Tipoff against the Hoosiers is set for 6 p.m. CST.

On the Air: Wednesday's game at Indiana 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 Eric Brooks will call all the action live from Assembly Hall.

Series Notes: Valparaiso and Indiana are meeting for the sixth time overall but just the first time since the 1999-2000 season. The Hoosiers hold a 4-1 series advantage but the Crusaders won the last meeting between the schools, 64-60, on December 7, 1999 at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The series began during the 1989-1990 campaign. Indiana holds a 3-0 edge against Valpo at Assembly Hall.

Wrapping Up Northwestern: The Crusaders started slowly in the season opener at Northwestern on Friday night, falling to the Wildcats 64-45. Northwestern jumped in front 19-2 as Valpo struggled shooting the ball over the first 12 minutes, going just 1-of-12 from the floor and committing eight turnovers during the span. The Crusaders cut the deficit to single digits with under nine minutes to play, but could get no closer to Northwestern. Betsy Rietema led Valpo with 13 points while Tamra Braun had a team-high eight rebounds.

Scouting Indiana: The Hoosiers are off to a 2-0 start after winning the Women's Sports Foundation title over the weekend. Indiana topped Wake Forest 75-53 in the season opener before downing #15/16 Kentucky 54-51 on Sunday in the championship. Jamie Braun has come off of the bench to average 14.0 points per game for the Hoosiers, including an 18-point, nine-rebound performance against the Wildcats. Kim Roberson has added 12.5 points per contest thus far for the Hoosiers while Nikki Smith is also averaging in double figures at 10.5 points per game. Indiana has limited its opponents to just 26.7% shooting in the early going while forcing 18.5 turnovers per game.

Kulaga and Ott Start for First Time in Their Careers: Agnieszka Kulaga and Sarah Ott both drew starting nods in the season opener for the Crusaders at Northwestern. The duo combined to appear in just 29 games total for the Brown and Gold during their rookie season of 2005-2006.

Peller and Farris Made Collegiate Debuts: Freshmen Kelly Peller and Whitney Farris each made their Valparaiso debut on Friday at Northwestern. Peller saw nine minutes of action, scoring two points and grabbing a pair of offensive rebounds. Farris played three minutes but did not figure into the statistical records.

Helenius Has Career Day at the Stripe: Sanna Helenius made the most of her trips to the free throw line at Northwestern. The junior made a career-best six charity tosses in seven attempts for the Brown and Gold on her way to eight points on the night.

Rietema Finds Double Figures Again: Senior Betsy Rietema led Valpo in scoring in the season opener with 13 points. It was the forward's 45th game during her career in which she posted double figures in the scoring column.

Crusaders Face the Big Ten Regularly: Valpo is set to battle its second Big Ten team of the season, something that seems to be a regular occurrence for the Brown and Gold. The Crusaders played both Purdue and Northwestern last season and has faced at least one Big Ten foe in 11 out of the last 12 seasons including this one. Valparaiso has three wins all-time against the conference, including one against Northwestern last year.

Threes Better Than Twos: Valpo shot better from three-point range (35.7%) in the season opener at Northwestern than the Crusaders did inside of the arc. From two-point territory, the Brown and Gold struggled shooting just 26.7%.

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 Tied for 16th in School History in Scoring: Betsy Rietema has moved into a tie for 16th all-time in school history in scoring. The senior forward has tallied 868 career points tying Kathryn Knoester (2000-2004) on the all-time list. She needs just eight more to move into 15th place on the all-time list, a spot currently occupied by Michelle Russell (1991-1994). Rietema also needs just 28 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 612 career rebounds. The senior center is 30 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 eighth place on the career three-point list with 131 triples. The senior is one three behind Kathryn Knoester (2000-2004) for seventh place and nine behind Heidi Diefenthaler (1992-1996) for the sixth spot.

Rietema Likes Freebies: Betsy Rietema's 235 career free throws are fifth most in school history. She passed Stephanie Greer (1987-1991) with her three makes at Northwestern. She trails Paige Freeman (1985-1989) by 37 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.).