Game #28: Saturday, February 24, 1:35 p.m. CST
UMKC (9-18, 5-7 Mid-Con) at Valpo (17-10, 9-3 Mid-Con)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso begins the final weekend of the 2006-2007 regular season on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders entertain UMKC on Senior Day at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Prior to the game, seniors Krystal Taylor, Tamra Braun, Carrie Myers, and Betsy Rietema will all be honored. Following the contest each of the four seniors will then address the crowd.
On the Air: Saturday's game against UMKC 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 Nick Kovatch will call all the action live from the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and UMKC are meeting for the 30th time in a series that dates back to January 5, 1995. The Crusaders hold a 20-9 lead all-time, including a 10-2 edge at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Valpo rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit on January 29 of this year to post a 52-51 victory over the Kangaroos in Kansas City, Mo. Carrie Myers led Valpo with 15 points while Betsy Rietema added 13 more. Tamra Braun had 10 points and 11 rebounds for her double-double. Stephanie Brown led UMKC with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and six steals while Alysa Klein had 10 points.
Wrapping Up Chicago State: Valparaiso jumped out to a 20-4 lead midway through the first half and never trailed the entire contest on the way to a 57-46 non-conference victory over the Cougars on Monday night at the ARC. The Crusader defense limited Chicago State to just one field goal in its first 12 attempts while taking a 33-19 lead into the locker room. The Cougars never cut Valpo's lead below eight in the second half. Whitney Farris led the Crusaders with a career high 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting while Betsy Rietema added 10 points.
Scouting UMKC: The Kangaroos enter the final weekend of Mid-Con action in a logjam for fourth through seventh place in the league standings. UMKC has dropped five of its last seven games following an 82-55 defeat in the Kangaroos' home finale Monday against Oakland. Alysa Klein leads UMKC in scoring averaging 12.1 points per game while shooting 51.2% from the floor. She is also averaging 6.7 rebounds per game. Stephanie Brown adds 9.1 points and a team high 7.0 boards per game for the Kangaroos. On the season UMKC is 4-10 on the road, including 2-3 in league play.
A Winning Tradition at Valpo: The Crusaders have already assured themselves their 16th winning season in the last 17 years. Valpo has also clinched a winning conference mark for the 14th time in the 15 years the Crusaders have been in the Mid-Con for women's basketball.
Crusaders to Enter Mid-Con Tournament as Second Seed: Valparaiso will enter next week's Mid-Continent Conference Tournament as the second seed, having already clinched its spot with two games to play. The Crusaders can still share a regular season conference title, but Oakland owns the tie-breaker for the top seed with Valpo. Likewise, Oral Roberts can still finish in a second place tie with the Crusaders, but the Brown and Gold own that tie-breaker.
Farris Registers Career Week: Freshman Whitney Farris had her biggest two games of her relatively young career against Western Illinois and Chicago State. The rookie scored 27 points in the two games after tallying just 19 all season prior to those contests. In addition, she played 56 minutes on the weekend after having logged just 78 in her first 13 appearances.
Valpo League's Top Free Throw Shooting Team: The Crusaders have moved into the league lead from the free throw line making 73.3% of their attempts on the season. Valpo has been even better in Mid-Con play, connecting on 79.4% from the charity stripe. Launa Hochstetler is the team's top shooter on the season, making 85.7% overall and 92.3% in league action.
Rietema on Verge of Scoring's Top-Five: Senior Betsy Rietema needs just five points to tie, and six points to pass, Stephanie Greer (1987-1991) and move into the top-five on Valparaiso's career scoring list. Rietema has tallied 1,219 points over four years, averaging 10.9 points per game, sixth best in school history.
Braun's Shooting Among Best Ever: Tamra Braun leads the Mid-Con shooting 58.4% 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.
Shooting and Rebounding Well Equals Victories: Valparaiso is 14-1 this season when shooting better from the floor than their opponents. The Crusaders have also won 11 of the 13 games in which they have grabbed more boards than their opposition.
Playing Defense in the League: Valparaiso is allowing opponents to score just 54.6 points per game in Mid-Continent Conference action.
Myers Among Top Outside Shooters in the Country: Senior guard Carrie Myers currently ranks 8th 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 42.4% accuracy beyond the arc ranks 13th best in the country through February 18.
Valpo Among the Nation's Best: Valpo ranks among the top-25 in the country in three statistical categories as a team. The Crusaders are 19th in three-point field goals per game, making 6.8 per night. In addition, Valpo's 37.7% shooting from beyond the arc ranks 12th in NCAA Division I through February 18. Finally, Valpo has committed just 14.3 fouls per game, 15th fewest among all schools.
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 37.7% from beyond the arc, while the 1997-1998 squad currently holds the school mark at 37.1%.
Crusaders Against the Mid-Con: As the Brown and Gold wraps up its final season of Mid-Con competition, Valpo has posted a 153-83 (.648) record all-time in conference play. The 153 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.
Home Sweet Home: Valparaiso continues to have success at home in recent years. The Brown and Gold has a 184-101 (.646) record all-time at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Since the 2001-2002 season, Valpo has posted a 62-16 (.795) 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 226 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, 377, than any other league coach and ranks fourth in league history with a .599 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.
Myers Deadly from Long Range: Carrie Myers enters play in third place on the career three-point list with 204 triples. Myers trails Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) by 32 threes for second all-time.
Myers Among Best Triple Shooters in Mid-Con History: Carrie Myers' 204 career three-pointers ranks as the seventh most makes in Mid-Continent Conference laurels. The senior needs 12 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 74 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.
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 184 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 sixth on the single season charts with 41 swats.
Braun Among Mid-Con Best in Blocks: Tamra Braun's 184 career blocks are sixth best in Mid-Continent Conference history. Kim Wood (UW-Green Bay, 1992-1994) is fifth 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.
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 14th place with her 219 career helpers, passing Lynda Kukla's (1988-1992) total of 208. She needs five more to equal Stephanie Greer (1987-1991) for 13th 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 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 1,059 points over her career passing Carrie Forsman (1992-1996) for 11th place all-time. She needs 18 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 836 rebounds, has now shattered 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 561 rebounds to date. With 10 more boards she will match Deb Lahti (1981-1984) and Carrie Forsman (1992-1996) for 10th all-time in a Crusader uniform.
Braun Has Played Lots of Games: Tamra Braun has moved into a tie with Crusader graduate assistant Jamie Gutowski (2002-2006) for seventh place on Valpo's all-time games played list with 116 appearances. Her next game will be number 117, tying Carie Wickham (1996-2001) and Marlous Nieuwveen (1998-200) for fifth place on the all-time list.
Rietema Likes Freebies: Betsy Rietema's 330 career free throws are third most in school history. She is 164 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. Hammonds Arena in Tulsa, Okla.