Game #26: Saturday, February 17, 1:35 p.m. CST
Western Illinois (9-16, 5-6 Mid-Con) at Valpo (15-10, 8-3 Mid-Con)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso returns to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Saturday afternoon to begin a regular season-ending four game homestand. The Crusaders, looking to lock up the second seed in the upcoming Mid-Continent Conference Tournament, will battle longtime conference foe Western Illinois in a 1:35 p.m. contest.
On the Air: Saturday's game against Western Illinois will be carried live online at www.sportsjuice.com. The broadcast will be produced by Valpo's student-run radio station WVUR, but due to station obligations will not be carried over the air. Andrew Hansen and Ron Castor will call all the action live from the Athletics-Recreation Center. The game will also be videocast at www.valpo.edu/athletics with audio coming being produced as a simulcast of the WVUR feed.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Western Illinois, two original members of the Mid-Continent Conference, are meeting for the 34th time on the hardwood with the Crusaders holding a 18-15 edge in the all-time series. Valpo holds a 10-4 lead all-time at the ARC, but the Westerwinds posted a 53-42 win over the Crusaders in Valparaiso last season. Earlier this season, on January 20, the Crusaders ended a four-game losing skid in Macomb, Ill. with a 57-51 victory over Western Illinois. Betsy Rietema led the Crusaders with 14 points while Tamra Braun added 13 more. Amanda Walker led the Westerwinds with 13 points in the loss.
Wrapping Up IUPUI: Four players scored in double figures on Monday evening as the Crusaders wrapped up the road portion of the 2006-2007 regular season with a 65-54 victory over the Jaguars in Indianapolis, Ind. Valpo scored the game's first six points and used first half runs of 12-4 and 10-2 to break open the game on the way to the victory. Betsy Rietema led the way for the Crusaders with 17 points while Carrie Myers finished with 15 on five three-pointers. Tamra Braun added 14 points and seven rebounds while Agnieszka Kulaga tallied 11 points, six rebounds, four assists, and four steals in the win.
Scouting Western Illinois: The Westerwinds have dropped four of their last five games following a 55-52 defeat at Oakland on Monday evening. A balanced offensive team, Amanda Walker leads the way averaging 9.8 points per contest. A 42.7% shooter from three-point range, Walker also shoots 78.8% from the free throw line. Stephanie Lovingood adds 8.8 points per contest while grabbing a team high 7.2 rebounds. As a team, Western Illinois leads the Mid-Con allowing just 57.3 points per game.
A Winning Tradition at Valpo: With Valpo's victory at IUPUI on Monday, the Crusaders have now assured themselves of at least a .500 season. The next victory will give the Crusaders their 16th winning season in the last 17 years. Valpo has also already assured itself of a winning conference mark for the 14th time in the 15 years the Crusaders have been in the Mid-Con for women's basketball.
Indiana Governor Watches Valpo Down IUPUI: Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was on hand Monday night 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.
Kulaga Has All-Around Solid Game: Agnieszka Kulaga had one of her best all-around games of her career Monday against the Jaguars. The sophomore point guard scored 11 points, tied a career high with six rebounds, dished out four assists, and recorded a career best four steals.
Rietema Perfect from the Line: 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.
Valpo League's Top Free Throw Shooting Team: The Crusaders have moved into the league lead from the free throw line making 72.5% of their attempts on the season. Valpo has been even better in Mid-Con play, connecting on 78.0% from the charity stripe. Launa Hochstetler is the team's top shooter on the season, making 83.8% overall and 90.9% in league action.
Rietema Registers 20th Double Figure Game: With her 17-point performance at IUPUI, Betsy Rietema scored in double figures for a team high 20th time this season.
Braun Has Played Lots of Games: Tamra Braun has moved into a tie with four others for ninth place on Valpo's all-time games played list with her 114th appearance Monday at IUPUI. When she takes to the floor against Western Illinois, she will register game number 115, tying Cheryl Wilbrandt (1989-1993) for eighth place on the all-time list. Byt the time the regular season ends, Braun should be fifth all-time.
Home Court Advantage: Valparaiso is the only team in the Mid-Continent Conference to have all of its remaining games at home this season. Centenary, on the other hand, plays its remainder on the road.
On Pace For Record-Setting Year from Outside: Valparaiso is currently on pace to break the team's single season three-point percentage record. The Crusaders are currently shooting 38.0% from beyond the arc, while the 1997-1998 squad currently holds the school mark at 37.1%.
Myers Among Best Triple Shooters in Mid-Con History: Carrie Myers' 201 career three-pointers ranks as the seventh most makes in Mid-Continent Conference laurels. The senior needs 15 more threes to match Kristin (Brady) Atkinson (Oral Roberts, 1998-2003) for sixth place in league history.
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.
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 183 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 currently tied for sixth on the single season charts with 40 swats.
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.
Home Sweet Home: Valparaiso continues to have success at home in recent years. The Brown and Gold has a 182-101 (.643) record all-time at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Since the 2001-2002 season, Valpo has posted a 60-16 (.789) mark at the ARC.
Braun Among Mid-Con Best in Blocks: Tamra Braun's 183 career blocks are sixth best in Mid-Continent Conference history. Kim Wood (UW-Green Bay, 1992-1994) is fifth with 191 blocks.
Myers Among Top Outside Shooters in the Country: Senior guard Carrie Myers currently ranks 10th in all of NCAA Division I in three-point field goals per game. Her 2.8 makes per contest lead the Mid-Continent Conference as well. In addition, her 42.3% accuracy beyond the arc ranks 19th best in the country through February 11.
Among the Nation's Best: Valpo ranks among the top-25 in the country in three statistical categories as a team. The Crusaders are 20th in three-point field goals per game, making 6.8 per night. In addition, Valpo's 37.4% shooting from beyond the arc ranks 16th in NCAA Division I through February 11. Finally, Valpo has committed just 14.7 fouls per game, 21st 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 151-83 (.645) record all-time in conference play. The 151 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.
Myers Among Single Season Best Three-Point Shooters: Carrie Myers has made 71 triples this season, ranking fourth on Valpo's single season list for most makes. Myers also holds third 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 seventh most in a game by any team in the country this season.
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.
Rietema Up to 7th in School History in Scoring: Betsy Rietema has moved into seventh place all-time in school history in scoring. The senior forward has tallied 1,198 points and is 19 points shy of Marlous Nieuwveen (1998-2002) for seventh place all-time.
Braun Moves into 11th 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 1,046 points over her career passing Carrie Forsman (1992-1996) for 11th place all-time. She needs 31 more points to match Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) for 10th 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 821 rebounds, passed Sarrah Stricklett's (1996-2000) old record total of 772. Braun's current total ranks seventh in Mid-Continent Conference history, moving past Heather Farquharson (Northeastern Illinois, 1994-1998) on that list. Next up on the Mid-Con list for Braun is Sarah Judd (1998-2002) who grabbed 854 for her career.
Rietema Finds the Rebounding Charts: Betsy Rietema has moved into 12th place on Valparaiso's career rebounding list. The senior forward has brought down 543 rebounds to date. With 28 more boards she will match Deb Lahti (1981-1984) and Carrie Forsman (1992-1996) for 10th all-time in a Crusader uniform.
Dishing the Rock: Betsy Rietema has also cracked the top-15 all-time at Valparaiso in assists. The senior has moved into 14th place with her 215 career helpers, passing Lynda Kukla's (1988-1992) total of 208. She needs nine more to equal Stephanie Greer (1987-1991) for 13th place.
Myers Deadly from Long Range: Carrie Myers enters play in third place on the career three-point list with 201 triples. Myers trails Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) by 35 threes for second all-time.
Rietema Likes Freebies: Betsy Rietema's 321 career free throws are third most in school history. She is 173 behind second place Sarrah Stricklett's (1996-2000) total of 494.
Freeman Winningest Coach in Mid-Con History: Head coach Keith Freeman's 224 victories are not only most in Valpo history, but also rank tops in Mid-Continent Conference history for career wins.
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 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. Hammonds Arena in Tulsa, Okla.