Game #1: Friday, November 10, 6 p.m. CST
Valpo (0-0, 0-0 Mid-Con) at Northwestern (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117), Evanston, Ill.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso will open the 2006-2007 campaign on Friday evening as the Crusaders travel to Evanston, Ill. to battle the Wildcats of Northwestern beginning at 6 p.m. CST. The contest will be the first of two straight to open the season for the Brown and Gold against Big Ten foes.
On the Air: Friday's game at Northwestern 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 Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Series Notes: Valparaiso won the first meeting ever between the two schools last season with a 57-51 victory over the Wildcats on November 30, 2005 at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Valpo limited Northwestern to just 19.5% shooting in the second half and Tamra Braun scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the win for Valpo. Betsy Rietema added 12 points and Carrie Myers had 11 for the Crusaders. This is the first meeting between the two schools in Evanston, Ill.
Wrapping Up Exhibition Play: The Crusaders went 2-0 in exhibition play posting a 50-45 victory over Grand Valley State and a 71-56 win against Saint Joseph's (Ind.). Against the defending NCAA Division II national champions, Valpo got balanced scoring and forced Grand Valley State to commit 20 turnovers. Kelly Peller led Valpo with nine points on three three-pointers. In the win against Saint Joseph's, Carrie Myers drained six triples on her way to a game-high 20 points while Valpo held the Pumas to just 23.1% shooting in the first half while jumping out to a 41-20 lead at the break.
Scouting Northwestern: The Wildcats return all five starters from last year's squad which finished 6-22 overall and 2-14 in the Big Ten. Northwestern posted a 59-55 victory over the Chicago Challengers in the Wildcats' lone exhibition game. Melissa Miller led Northwestern with 15 points and eight rebounds while Kristin Cartwright added 13 more. A.J. Glasauer is Northwestern's top returning scorer from last season, averaging 11.1 points per game for the Wildcats. Northwestern is picked to finish 11th in the Big Ten this season.
Crusaders in Season Openers: Valpo is 10-23 all-time in season openers, with results from the 1971-1972 and 1973-1974 seasons unknown. Last year, the Crusaders snapped a five-game season-opening losing streak with a 62-48 victory over Northern Iowa at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The last time Valpo opened with a true road game was in 2003 when the Crusaders dropped a 60-47 decision at Oregon.
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 Ranks 17th in School History in Scoring: Betsy Rietema enters the 2006-2007 season 17th all-time in school history in scoring. The senior forward has tallied 855 career points. She needs just 13 more to move into 16th place on the all-time list, a spot currently occupied by Kathryn Knoester (2000-2004). Rietema also needs just 21 points to match Michelle Russell (1991-1994) for 15th 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 enters the season with 803 points over her first three seasons. She trails current Crusader graduate assistant Jamie Gutowski (2002-2006) by 19 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 604 career rebounds. The senior center is 38 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 the year in eighth place on the career three-point list with 130 triples. The senior is two behind Kathryn Knoester (2000-2004) for seventh place and 10 behind Heidi Diefenthaler (1992-1996) for the sixth spot.
Myers Also Accurate from Outside: Carrie Myers is deadly shooting from beyond the arc. Her 39.0% career three-point percentage entering the season is second best all-time in a Valpo uniform. Sarah Lenschow (1996-2000) leads the way shooting 44.3%.
Rietema Likes Freebies: Betsy Rietema's 232 career free throws are sixth most in school history. With two more makes from the charity stripe, the senior forward will tie Stephanie Greer (1987-1991) for fifth place in the all-time record book.
Taylor Back for Fifth Season: Krystal Taylor returns for her fifth season with the Crusader program after receiving a medical redshirt during her sophomore season with a foot injury. She is the first fifth year player in the Valpo program since Carie Wickham (1996-2001).
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.).