Valpo Opens Mid-Con Tournament Play Saturday against Southern Utah
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Mid-Continent Conference Quarterfinals
Game #30: Saturday, March 3, 2:30 p.m. CST
#2 Valpo (19-10, 11-3 Mid-Con) -vs- #7 Southern Utah (9-19, 5-9 Mid-Con)
John Q. Hammons Arena (5,600) - Tulsa, Okla.

Coming Up in Crusader Hoops:
Valparaiso opens up play in the 2007 Mid-Continent Conference Tournament on Saturday afternoon in Tulsa, Okla. as the Crusaders battle the seventh-seeded Southern Utah Thunderbirds. The quarterfinal contest is a rematch of Monday's regular season finale between the two schools.

On the Air: Saturday's game against Southern Utah will be carried live by WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at The student-run radio station has carried all of the Crusader women's basketball games this season live both over the air and online. Andrew Hansen and Ron Castor will call all of the action live from John Q. Hammons Arena.

Series Notes: Valparaiso and Southern Utah are meeting for the 21st time overall and in a series that dates back to January 8, 1998. This is also the second time in five days the two schools will meet on the hardwood. The Crusaders hold a 14-6 lead all-time. The Thunderbirds won in Cedar City, Utah back on January 27 of this season by the score of 56-49 while the Crusaders notched a 65-47 win at the Athletics-Recreation Center on February 26. This marks the first time Valpo and Southern Utah have ever faced each other in the Mid-Con Tournament.

Wrapping Up Southern Utah: Valparaiso shook off a slow start by shooting 54% in the second half on Monday evening to post a 65-47 victory over the Thunderbirds in the regular season finale. A 10-0 run to open the second half broke open a five-point game at halftime for the Crusaders. Tamra Braun led Valpo with 13 points and seven rebounds while Betsy Rietema and Whitney Farris scored 11 points a piece.

Scouting Southern Utah: The Thunderbirds are looking for their first victory away from home while trying to stop a six-game losing streak heading into the Mid-Con Tournament. Southern Utah is 2-10 all-time in tournament action, having last won a quarterfinal game against Western Illinois in 1999. Anne Westwood leads the Thunderbirds in scoring, averaging 9.7 points per game. Seven other players are averaging between 4.3 and 8.0 points per contest in their balanced offensive attack. Westwood is also the team's leading rebounder, grabbing 6.6 boards per contest. Against Valpo, Cash Connors led the Thunderbirds in the first meeting in Cedar City with 13 points while Westwood added 10 points. Julie Stradling scored a team high 12 points and had 10 rebounds in the game at Valpo.

A Winning Tradition at Valpo: The Crusaders have assured themselves their 16th winning season in the last 17 years. Valpo also registered a winning conference record for the 14th time in the 15 years the Crusaders have been in the Mid-Con for women's basketball.

Rietema Named Academic All-American: Betsy Rietema has been selected as one of five ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America First Team selections for Division I. The honor is voted upon by members of CoSIDA. In the classroom, Rietema has a 3.97 grade point average with a double major in psychology and chemistry. Rietema is the first Crusader women's basketball player ever to be named a First Team Academic All-American.

Hochstetler Named Sixth Woman of the Year: Launa Hochstetler was named the Mid-Continent Conference Sixth Woman of the Year, marking Valpo's first major award winner since 2002 when Keith Freeman was named Coach of the Year and Katie Boone was the Newcomer of the Year. Hochstetler has come off of the bench to average 5.4 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists for the Crusaders while shooting 46.2% from three-point range and 85.1% from the free throw line.

Three Crusaders Earn All-Conference Honors: Betsy Rietema was named to the Mid-Continent Conference First Team after earning Second Team accolades last year. Tamra Braun earned Second Team All Mid-Con accolades, marking the third straight season she's received league recognition. She was a First Team pick each of the last two years. Carrie Myers earned Honorable Mention honors for the second straight year for Valpo.

Valpo as the Two Seed: This marks the fourth time the Crusaders enter the Mid-Con Tournament as the league's second seed. Twice previous Valpo has advanced to the championship game from this spot, including the victorious 2004 tournament.

Crusaders in the Mid-Con Tournament: Valpo has posted a 14-12 record all-time in 14 previous conference tournaments. The 26 tournament games are the most of any school in the league. The Brown and Gold has a 13-5 record against current Mid-Con members in this event. After facing Southern Utah in the quarterfinals, the only school the Crusaders will have never met in postseason play is Centenary.

Braun On Last Year's Mid-Con Tourney Team: Tamra Braun enters her final Mid-Con Tournament looking to return to the All-Tournament Team after earning that honor last season. In last year's event, Braun averaged 14.0 points and 14.0 rebounds in two games. She scored 18 points and had 16 boards in the quarterfinals against UMKC.

Rietema Moves Into Scoring's Top-Five: Senior Betsy Rietema has passed Stephanie Greer (1987-1991) and moved into the top-five on Valparaiso's career scoring list. Rietema has tallied 1,242 points over four years, averaging 10.9 points per game, the sixth best average in school history. The senior needs 31 more points to match Amber Schober (1998-2002) for fourth place in school history.

Valpo League's Top Free Throw Shooting Team: The Crusaders lead the Mid-Con from the free throw line making 73.9% of their attempts on the season. Valpo was even better in Mid-Con play, connecting on 79.4% from the charity stripe. In league play, the Crusaders made more free throws (193) than their opponents have even attempted (181). Launa Hochstetler is the team's top shooter on the season, making 85.1% overall and 90.3% in league action.

Braun's Shooting Among Best Ever: Tamra Braun leads the Mid-Con shooting 57.8% from the floor this season. She is currently second on Valpo's single season chart in that category, trailing only Sarrah Stricklett's 60.0% shooting in 1997-1998. Braun's mark is also currently 10th best in Mid-Con history.

Playing Defense in the League: Valparaiso allowed opponents to score just 53.6 points per game in Mid-Continent Conference action. In addition, the Crusaders allowed the Mid-Con foes to make just 25.9% of their attempts from long range. In the final four games of the regular season, including three against Mid-Con teams, Valpo did not allow more than 48 points.

Farris Solid Off the Bench of Late: Whitney Farris has been productive coming off of the bench for the Brown and Gold late in the season. The freshman forward averaged 10.8 points per contest over the last four games of the regular season, including a career high 14 points against Chicago State. Three of the four games saw Farris score in double figures for the Crusaders.

Taylor Gets to the Offensive Glass: Krystal Taylor has gotten to the offensive glass for Valpo coming off of the bench. The fifth-year senior has posted 10 games with multiple offensive rebounds this season, leading to numerous second chance points for the Crusaders.

Ott Makes at the Line: Sarah Ott has started 26 games battling in the post for the Crusaders this season, and has made the most of being fouled. The redshirt-sophomore is shooting 84% from the line on the season, making 42-of-50 from the charity stripe.

Myers Among Top Outside Shooters in the Country: Senior guard Carrie Myers currently ranks 12th 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 41.7% accuracy beyond the arc ranks 13th best in the country through February 25.

Valpo Among the Nation's Best: Valpo ranks among the top-30 in the country in four statistical categories as a team through February 25. The Crusaders are 20th in three-point field goals per game, making 6.5 per night. In addition, Valpo's 37.1% shooting from beyond the arc ranks 14th in NCAA Division I. Valpo has committed just 14.4 fouls per game, 18th fewest among all schools. Finally, the Crusaders have connected on 74.5% of their attempts from the free throw line this year, the 30th best percentage in the country.

On Pace For Record-Setting Year from Outside: Valparaiso is currently on pace to equal or better the team's single season three-point percentage record. The Crusaders are currently shooting 37.6% from beyond the arc, ahead of the current single season mark of 37.1% set by the 1997-1998 squad.

Crusaders Against the Mid-Con: As Valpo closed its final regular season in the Mid-Con, the Crusaders finished with a 154-83 (.650) record all-time in conference play. The 154 victories are a conference record, 18 more than any other league school. The Crusaders have won a pair of conference regular season crowns while finishing runner-up five times in the 15 years of conference play.

Home Sweet Home: Valparaiso continues to have success at home in recent years. The Brown and Gold has a 186-101 (.648) record all-time at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Since the 2001-2002 season, Valpo has posted a 64-16 (.800) mark at the ARC.

Rietema and Myers Earn Academic All-District Honors: Betsy Rietema and Carrie Myers have each been named to ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-District V Teams. Rietema was named to the First Team for the second straight season while Myers was a Second Team pick as voted upon by members of CoSIDA.

Freeman Winningest Coach in Mid-Con History: Head coach Keith Freeman's 228 victories are not only most in Valpo history, but also rank tops in Mid-Continent Conference history for career wins. Freeman has also coached more games, 379, than any other league coach and ranks fourth in league history with a .602 winning percentage.

Freeman Earns Career Victory #350: Head coach Keith Freeman's victory over UMKC on January 29 was the 350th of his career on the sidelines. Freeman also holds school records for career victories (228) as well as winning percentage (.602) on the Valpo bench.

Myers Deadly from Long Range: Carrie Myers enters the tournament in third place on Valparaiso's career three-point list with 208 triples. Myers trails Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) by 28 threes for second all-time.

Myers Among Best Triple Shooters in Mid-Con History: Carrie Myers' 208 career three-pointers ranks as the seventh most makes in Mid-Continent Conference laurels. The senior needs eight more threes to match Kristin (Brady) Atkinson (Oral Roberts, 1998-2003) for sixth place in league history.

Myers Among Single Season Best Three-Point Shooters: Carrie Myers has made 78 triples this season, ranking third on Valpo's single season list for most makes. Myers also holds fourth place on the single season charts after making 76 threes last season. Lynda Kukla holds the single season record with 101 treys in the 1991-1992 campaign, while Kukla's 1990-1991 total of 91 ranks second all-time for a season.

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 8th most in a game by any team in the country this season.

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 189 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 is tied for third on the single season charts with 46 swats.

Braun Among Mid-Con Best in Blocks: Tamra Braun's 189 career blocks are sixth best in Mid-Continent Conference history. With two more rejections, Braun can match Kim Wood (UW-Green Bay, 1992-1994) for fifth in league history with 191 blocks.

A Record Setting Night from the Stripe: When the Crusaders made all 10 free throws against Oakland on January 15, Valpo set a new single game record for free throw percentage (minimum 10 attempts). The previous best free throw shooting night in school history was 94.4% (17-of-18) against Evansville on February 13, 1988.

Valpo Registers 10th Best Free Throw Shooting Game Against UMKC: Valparaiso went 29-of-32 (90.9%) from the free throw line at home against the Kangaroos, the tenth best single game performance by a Crusader team in school history.

Rietema Perfect from the Line at IUPUI: Betsy Rietema was a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe at IUPUI, becoming just the fifth player in Crusader history to register a perfect night with a minimum of 10 attempts. Lisa Diefenthaler made 12-of-12 against Western Illinois back in 1994 while Debbie Bolen was 11-for-11 against UW-Green Bay in 1991. Amber Schober ( 1998) and Katie Boone (2002) both went 10-for-10 as well while wearing a Crusader uniform.

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.

Dishing the Rock: Betsy Rietema has also cracked the top-15 all-time at Valparaiso in assists. The senior has moved into 13th place with her 225 career helpers, passing Stephanie Greer (1987-1991). She needs three more to equal Lina Mascarenas (1988-1992) for 12th place.

Rietema Player of the Week on December 5: 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. The duo is the first to reach the mark in the same season since Amber Schober and Marlous Nieuwveen both did it during the 2001-2002 season.

Braun Moves into Top-10 in Scoring at Valpo: Senior Tamra Braun has also moved near the top-10 on Valpo's career scoring list. The Valpo center currently has scored 1,082 points over her career passing Lynda Kukla (1988-1992) for 9th place all-time. She needs 13 more points to match Aimee Forsman (1988-1992) for 8th place all-time.

Braun Sets School Rebounding Record, Among Mid-Con's Best All-Time: Tamra Braun set a new Valpo career rebounding record with her 773rd career board at UMKC. The senior, who now has 852 rebounds, has now shattered Sarrah Stricklett's (1996-2000) old record total of 772. Braun's current total ranks 7th in Mid-Continent Conference history. She is two boards shy of Sarah Judd (Oakland, 1998-2002) who grabbed 854 for her career for 6th place and 22 rebounds behind Tiffany Kyser (IUPUI, 1999-2003) for a spot in the top-five.

Rietema Moves Up the Rebounding Charts: Betsy Rietema has moved into 10th place on Valparaiso's career rebounding list. The senior forward has brought down 576 rebounds to date to pass Deb Lahti (1981-1984) and Carrie Forsman (1992-1996) for a spot in the top-10 all-time in a Crusader uniform. Rietema is 66 boards shy of moving up another spot on the list.

Braun and Rietema Played Lots of Games: Tamra Braun has moved into a tie past Carie Wickham (1996-2001) and Marlous Nieuwveen (1998-200) for fifth place on Valpo's all-time games played list with 118 appearances. She needs to play in two more games to tie Amber Schober (1998-2002) and Lauren Bechtold (2002-2006) for third place all-time. Betsy Rietema has appeared in 114 games, tying her for tenth place on Valpo's all-time list.

Rietema Likes Freebies: Betsy Rietema's 334 career free throws are third most in school history. She is 160 behind second place Sarrah Stricklett's (1996-2000) total of 494.

Indiana Governor Watches Valpo Down IUPUI: Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was on hand in Indianapolis, Ind. February 12 to watch the Crusaders down IUPUI in a battle of instate foes. Governor Daniels then made a brief appearance in the Valpo locker room following the victory.

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.).

Mid-Con Championship to be Shown Live on ESPNU: The 2007 Mid-Continent Conference Women's Basketball Tournament's championship game will be carried live nationally on ESPNU for the second straight season. Tip-off is set for 12:30 p.m. on March 6 from John Q. Hammons Arena in Tulsa, Okla.