First Place at Stake Saturday as Valpo Travels to Oakland
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Game #24: Saturday, February 10, 2:30 p.m. CST
Valpo (14-9, 7-2 Mid-Con) at Oakland (12-10, 7-1 Mid-Con)
Athletics Center ?O'Rena (4,000) - Rochester, Mich.

Coming Up in Crusader Hoops:
First place is on the line in the Mid-Continent Conference on Saturday afternoon as Valparaiso travels north to battle Oakland. The Crusaders, winners of 10 of their last 12, are just one-half game behind the Golden Grizzlies in the league standings. Oakland enters the contest riding an eight-game winning streak.

On the Air: Saturday's game against Oakland will be carried live by WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at The student-run radio station plans on carrying all Crusader women's basketball games this season live both over the air and online. Eric Brooks and Becky Malewitz will call all the action live from the Athletics Center ?O'rena.

Series Notes: Valparaiso and Oakland are meeting for the 22nd time in a series dating back to January 7, 1999. The Golden Grizzlies lead all-time 12-9 in a series which has seen the road team win each of the last seven meetings between the two schools. The Crusaders and Oakland have each won four of the eight meetings in Rochester, Mich. with Valpo posting a 69-55 victory there last year. Earlier this season, the Golden Grizzlies notched a 63-57 win over the Crusaders at the Athletics-Recreation Center on January 15. In that game, Jessica Pike led the Golden Grizzlies with 16 points and seven rebounds while Tamra Braun led the Brown and Gold with 12 points.

Wrapping Up Oral Roberts: Valparaiso jumped out to a quick start with four three-pointers in the game's first eight minutes and held off several Golden Eagle runs to register a 66-56 victory at home on Monday evening. The Crusaders took a 20-6 lead and held off several Oral Roberts spurts that closed the visitors to within one. Betsy Rietema led Valpo with 16 points and seven rebounds while Launa Hochstetler came off of the bench to added 10 points. Tamra Braun grabbed a team high nine rebounds.

Scouting Oakland: The Golden Grizzlies are the Mid-Continent Conference's hottest team after posting eight straight victories following their 81-57 win over Youngstown State on Tuesday night. Oakland dropped their league opener, but has been perfect ever since. Jessica Pike leads the Golden Grizzlies' offense averaging 14.5 points per game while shooting a team best 83.6% from the free throw line. In league play Pike is tallying 16.1 points per night. Nicole Piggott has added 13.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game on the season.

Braun Reaches 800 Boards: Tamra Braun, Valpo's career rebounding leader, became just the seventh player in Mid-Continent Conference history to reach the 800 board mark on Monday evening. Her nine rebounds on the night give her exactly 800 during her four year career.

Playing Well Under the Bright Lights: Monday night's victory over Oral Roberts marked Valpo's second victory of the year when the Crusaders played on television. The Brown and Gold also defeated the Golden Eagles in Tulsa earlier this year in a television game while dropping a one-point heartbreaker to Notre Dame.

Rietema Continues to Lead Scoring Parade: Betsy Rietema continues to lead the Crusaders in scoring averaging 13.7 points per game after posting 16 against Oral Roberts. The senior forward has scored in double figures a team high 18 times on the year, giving her 62 double digit games in her career.

Braun Gets to the Glass: Tamra Braun continues to get rebounds for the Crusaders. The senior center is averaging 11.0 boards over the last five games. Braun had a career high 17 rebounds at IPFW to begin the string of games.

Hochstetler Quietly Steps Up: Launa Hochstetler contributed offensively in a big way last weekend scoring nine points against Centenary and adding 10 more against Oral Roberts. The sophomore point guard also had three assists against the Ladies.

Triple Time: Valpo is averaging 9.0 three-point makes per game over the last four contests. The top shooting long range team in the Mid-Con, the Crusaders made 12 triples last Saturday against Centenary. Valpo has made eight or more threes in a game eight times this season.

Double Trouble: Ten of Valpo's 13 players have scored in double figures now this season after Sanna Helenius joined the group on Saturday. Seven players have reached double digits more than once this year.

Blocking Streak: Tamra Braun has registered at least one block in each of Valpo's last 21 games. The senior center blocked a season high four shot attempts at IPFW.

Free Throw Shooting Key in the Mid-Con: Valpo is shooting 77.3% from the stripe in league games, best among all Mid-Con schools. This is significantly up from the season average of 71.7% overall. Sarah Ott is the team's leader from the line, shooting 83.3% for the season and against league foes. Launa Hochstetler is a 82.9% shooter on the year and 89.5% in the Mid-Con.

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 38.7% 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' 196 career three-pointers ranks as the eighth most makes in Mid-Continent Conference laurels. The senior needs four more threes to match Krista Ragan (Oral Roberts, 1997-2002) for seventh place in league history.

Myers Continues to Drain Three-Pointers: Carrie Myers had made at least one three-point field goal in all 23 games thus far this season. In fact, the senior guard has made two or more triples in 18 games, highlighted by five treys against Bradley, Indiana State, and at UMKC. Myers leads the Mid-Con with 2.9 threes made per game.

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 181 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 seventh on the single season charts with 38 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 181 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 8th in all of NCAA Division I in three-point field goals per game. Her 2.9 makes per contest lead the Mid-Continent Conference as well. In addition, her 42.9% accuracy beyond the arc ranks 17th best in the country through February 1.

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 38.8% shooting from beyond the arc ranks 9th in NCAA Division I through January 28. 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 150-82 (.647) record all-time in conference play. The 150 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 66 triples this season, ranking sixth on Valpo's single season list for most makes. She is two threes away from moving into a tie with Lynda Kukla's 1989-1990 and Suzie Hammel's 2003-2004 total of 68 for fourth place. Myers also holds third place on the single season charts after making 76 last season. Lynda Kukla holds the single season record with 101 treys in the 1991-1992 campaign.

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 fifth most among any team in the country this season.

Rietema Player of the Week: 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 8th in School History in Scoring: Betsy Rietema has moved into eighth place all-time in school history in scoring. The senior forward has tallied 1,169 points and is 26 points shy of Aimee Forsman (1988-1992) 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 1,023 points over her career passing Carrie Forsman (1992-1996) for 11th place all-time. She needs 54 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 know has 800 rebounds, passed Sarrah Stricklett's (1996-2000) 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 13th place on Valparaiso's career rebounding list. The senior forward has brought down 528 rebounds to date. With nine more boards she will match Jill Otto (1985-1989) for 12th 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 213 career helpers, passing Lynda Kukla's (1988-1992) total of 208. She needs 11 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 196 triples. Myers trails Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) by 40 threes for second all-time.

Rietema Likes Freebies: Betsy Rietema's 310 career free throws are third most in school history. She is 184 behind second place Sarrah Stricklett's (1996-2000) total of 494.

Freeman Winningest Coach in Mid-Con History: Head coach Keith Freeman's 223 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.).