Game #8: Saturday, December 8, 1:35 p.m. CST
North Texas (5-5, 0-0 Sun Belt)
at Valpo (2-5, 0-0 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso concludes its brief two-game homestand on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders entertain North Texas at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Brown and Gold is looking for its third straight victory following its triumph against Ball State last weekend in the State Farm Hoosier Classic.
On the Air: Saturday’s game against North Texas will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Matt Engelbrecht and Miles Janssen will call all the action live from the ARC. All 29 regular season games will be broadcast live over the internet in addition to many games on the radio. In addition, the game can be viewed live online as part of the Horizon League Network at www.horizonleaguenetwork.tv.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and North Texas are meeting on the hardwood for the first time ever on Saturday afternoon. The two schools are tentatively slated to meet again next season in Denton, Texas. This is not the first time a Crusader squad has met the Mean Green though, as both Valpo’s volleyball and women’s soccer teams have played North Texas in the past.
Wrapping Up Ball State: Four players scored in double figures for the Crusaders and Valpo overcame an early 8-0 deficit to defeat the Cardinals 64-55 last Saturday afternoon at the Athletics-Recreation Center as part of the State Farm Hoosier Classic. The Crusaders used runs of 15-3 and 10-0 during the first half to build an 11-point halftime lead and withstood a Ball State run which cut the lead to two midway through the second half. Agnieszka Kulaga led Valpo with 18 points while Launa Hochstetler added 11 more. Jasmine Ussery also had a career-high 11 points to go along with a career-best six rebounds.
Scouting North Texas: The Mean Green enter the contest looking to snap a three-game losing streak following an 82-70 defeat at home against Marshall on Tuesday evening. North Texas had won five straight prior to the recent skid. Amber Jackson leads the way for the Mean Green averaging 14.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Brittney James adds 11.8 points while Jo Hall has scored 10.9 points and grabbed a team-leading 5.8 boards per night. As a team, North Texas is shooting just 21.4% from three-point range and 61.3% from the free throw line.
Valpo Continues Success in Home Openers: Valpo has now won six of its last seven home openers after defeating Ball State 64-55 last weekend in the Crusaders’ first game at the ARC this season. The Crusaders’ lone defeat during the span came to nationally-ranked Notre Dame to open up the 2004-2005 season at the ARC.
Crusaders in the Hoosier Classic: With the win against Ball State, Valparaiso has now posted a 6-2 record all-time in the Hoosier Classic, tying Indiana State for the best mark among the four schools that have competed in the annual event over the past eight years. With Valpo and Butler now members of the Horizon League together, the 2007 edition was the final chapter in this Indiana event.
Kulaga Miss Automatic at the Charity Stripe: After missing her first free throw attempt of the season at Cincinnati, Agnieszka Kulaga has been perfect since, making her last 16 in a row. In each of the last two games (Central Connecticut State and Ball State), the junior has gone a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. Her 94.1% shooting mark leads the Horizon League this season.
Ussery Breaks Out against Ball State: Jasmine Ussery had the finest game of her young career last Saturday afternoon against Ball State. The freshman forward was a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor on her way to a season-high 11 points. She also grabbed a career-best six rebounds, while also recording her first collegiate blocked shot.
Emig Earns First Career Start: Redshirt-freshman Katie Emig made her first collegiate start against the Cardinals last Saturday afternoon. She responded by scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds, three of which were on the offensive end. Both outputs were season highs for Emig.
Super Women: Not many breathers were give last Saturday by coach Keith Freeman. Both Agnieszka Kulaga and Launa Hochstetler played all 40 minutes for the first time in their careers. In addition, Aimee Litka was given less than 30 seconds of rest during the contest.
Brief Interruption in the Homestand: Valpo is in the midst of five out of six games at home at the ARC. The Crusaders will head to Notre Dame Wednesday before returning for three straight home contests.
For Three: Valpo currently leads the Horizon League and ranks 15th in the nation averaging 7.71 three-pointers per contest. Six different Crusaders are averaging at least one triple per night. Leah and Launa Hochstetler lead the way connecting on 50.0% and 45.8% from long range respectively. As a team, Valpo is shooting 37.2% from beyond the arc, comparable to last year’s 37.4% pace, which was best in school history.
Balanced Scoring Thus Far for Valpo: With Valpo graduating more than 50% of its offense from last season, the Crusaders have spread the points around this year. Agnieszka Kulaga leads Valpo scoring 12.0 points per game this season while Aimee Litka is posting 11.3 points per contest. Two more Crusaders are averaging 9.1 and 9.0 points per game thus far this year.
Solid Season From the Charity Stripe: Valpo currently leads the Horizon League shooting 77.6% from the free throw line. Eight different Crusaders are currently shooting better than 70% on the season. In Valpo’s win against Central Connecticut State turned in a 90% shooting performance from the free throw line, making 27-of-30 attempts on the game.
Freeman Winningest Coach in Valpo History: Head coach Keith Freeman’s 231 victories are the most Valpo history. In fact, he has been at the helm of the program for more than 50% of the school’s total wins all-time.
A Three-rific Performance against Purdue: The Crusaders made their first five triples at Purdue on the way to making 11-of-17 (64.7%) three-pointers on the night. It was the fourth best shooting percentage for the team in a single game in school history (minimum 10 attempts).
Valpo Picked Fifth in Horizon League Race: Valparaiso has been tabbed to finish in fifth place in the Horizon League in its inaugural season according to the preseason poll conducted of the league’s head coaches, sports information directors, and selected media outlets. Milwaukee was picked to win the league followed by nine-time defending regular season champion Green Bay.
Who Made This Schedule?: Valparaiso is playing 10 of its 29 regular season games against teams that participated in either the 2007 NCAA Tournament or the WNIT. In the preseason polls (USA Today and Associated Press), seven of Valpo’s opponents were either ranked or receiving votes in at least one of the two. On Wednesday, Valpo will head to nationally-ranked Notre Dame after already having faced three teams that were receiving votes when the Crusaders played them.
Valpo Adds Two for Next Year’s Class: Head coach Keith Freeman has signed two players to National Letters of Intent. Lauren Kenney is a 6’0" forward from Moorsville, Ind. who is currently playing at Lincoln Trail College. Sylwia Zabielewicz is a 6’6" center from Warsaw, Poland who is currently playing at Midland College. Both players will have two years of eligibility remaining.