Mid-Continent Conference Semifinals
Game #31: Monday, March 5, 2:30 p.m. CST
#2 Valpo (20-10, 11-3 Mid-Con) -vs- #3 Oral Roberts (20-10, 8-6 Mid-Con)
John Q. Hammons Arena (5,600) - Tulsa, Okla.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso returns to the court for the semifinals of the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament on Monday afternoon as the Crusaders battle longtime rival Oral Roberts. The Crusaders were 60-45 victors over Southern Utah in Saturday's quarterfinal while the Golden Eagles downed UMKC 52-44 on Sunday afternoon.
On the Air: Monday's game against Oral Roberts will be carried live by WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. 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 Eric Brooks will call all of the action live from John Q. Hammons Arena.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Oral Roberts are meeting for the 25th time in a series dating back to the 1997-1998 season. The Crusaders hold an 18-6 advantage all-time after posting a 57-54 victory on January 6 in Tulsa, Okla. and a 66-56 win at the Athletics-Recreation Center on February 5 of this season. The two teams have met four previous times in the Mid-Con Tournament. Oral Roberts won the first meeting in the 1999 semifinals before the Crusaders won in the next year's quarterfinals. Valpo won the 2003 quarterfinal game as well as the 2004 championship, 64-63, against the Golden Eagles.
Wrapping Up Southern Utah: Valparaiso never trailed on Saturday afternoon on the way to registering a 60-45 victory over Southern Utah in the quarterfinals of the Mid-Con Tournament in Tulsa, Okla. A 14-0 run midway through the first half, in which the Thunderbirds were held scoreless for more than eight minutes, allowed Valpo to take a 14-point halftime lead. A 13-0 second half run pushed the lead to 26 and the Crusaders coasted from there. Carrie Myers led the Crusaders with 14 points while Agnieszka Kulaga added 13 and Sarah Ott chipped in 11 more.
Scouting Oral Roberts: The Golden Eagles are the third seed in this year's Mid-Con Tournament and enter the semifinals winners of six of their last seven games. Elisha Turek leads Oral Roberts and the Mid-Con averaging 17.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per contest while Jenny Hardin, who missed 10 games with a foot injury this year, adds 16.1 points per game. As a team, the Golden Eagles lead the league averaging 68.4 points per contest and are shooting 44.4% from the floor.
20 Wins: Valpo has won 20 games for just the fifth times in the program's history. The 20 wins in a season tie for third most in school history. The school record is 26 (2001-2002). In 1997-1998, the Crusaders won 22 games.
Kulaga and Ott Step Up in Quarters: Agnieszka Kulaga scored 13 points and dished out four assists without a turnover while Sarah Ott added 11 points for Valpo against Southern Utah. Combined they were 11 points over their season average.
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.
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 15-12 record all-time in the conference tournament. The 27 tournament games are the most of any school in the league. The Brown and Gold has a 14-5 record against current Mid-Con members in this event
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 1,251 points over four years, averaging 10.9 points per game, the sixth best average in school history. The senior needs 22 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 73.7% of their attempts on the season. Valpo was even better in Mid-Con regular season 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 85.7% overall and 90.3% in league action.
Braun's Shooting Among Best Ever: Tamra Braun leads the Mid-Con shooting 57.5% 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 last five games, including the Mid-Con Tournament quarterfinals, Valpo has 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 27 games battling in the post for the Crusaders this season, and has made the most of being fouled. The redshirt-sophomore is shooting 83.3% from the line on the season, making 45-of-54 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 41.3% accuracy beyond the arc ranks 15th best in the country through March 1.
Valpo Among the Nation's Best: Valpo ranks among the top-50 in the country in four statistical categories as a team through March 1. The Crusaders are 19th in three-point field goals per game, making 6.7 per night. In addition, Valpo's 37.6% shooting from beyond the arc ranks 11th in NCAA Division I. Valpo has committed just 14.2 fouls per game, 16th fewest among all schools. Finally, the Crusaders have connected on 73.9% from the free throw line this year, the 42nd best percentage in the country while allowing just 58.9 points per game, 50th best.
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 37.5% 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 229 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, 380, than any other league coach and ranks fourth in league history with a .603 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 (229) as well as winning percentage (.603) 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 212 triples. Myers trails Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) by 24 threes for second all-time.
Myers Among Best Triple Shooters in Mid-Con History: Carrie Myers' 212 career three-pointers ranks as the seventh most makes in Mid-Continent Conference laurels. The senior needs four 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 82 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 191 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 third on the single season charts with 48 swats.
Braun Among Mid-Con Best in Blocks: Tamra Braun's 191 career blocks are tied for the fifth best in Mid-Continent Conference history. Braun has matched Kim Wood (UW-Green Bay, 1992-1994). Sarah Judd (Oakland, 1998-2002) ranks fourth in league history with 208 rejections during her career.
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 a tie for 12th place with her 228 career helpers, equalling Lina Mascarenas' (1988-1992) mark. She needs 10 more assists to move up to 11th 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 into the top-10 on Valpo's career scoring list. The Valpo center currently has scored 1,089 points over her career passing Lynda Kukla (1988-1992) for 9th place all-time. She needs six 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 864 rebounds, has now shattered Sarrah Stricklett's (1996-2000) old record total of 772. Braun's current total ranks 6th in Mid-Continent Conference history passing Sarah Judd (Oakland, 1998-2002) who grabbed 854 for her career. Braun is 10 rebounds behind Tiffany Kyser (IUPUI, 1999-2003) for a spot in the top-five in league history.
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 588 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 54 boards shy of moving up another spot on the list.
Braun and Rietema Played Lots of Games: Tamra Braun has moved past Carie Wickham (1996-2001) and Marlous Nieuwveen (1998-200) for fifth place on Valpo's all-time games played list with 119 appearances. With her appearance in the semifinals, she will tie Amber Schober (1998-2002) and Lauren Bechtold (2002-2006) for third place all-time. Betsy Rietema has appeared in 115 games, tying her for ninth place on Valpo's all-time list.
Rietema Likes Freebies: Betsy Rietema's 338 career free throws are third most in school history. She is 156 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.