Game #14: January 12, 2008, 2 p.m. CST
Valpo (7-6, 2-0 Horizon)
at Loyola (Chicago) (2-12, 0-3 Horizon)
Gentile Center (5,500) - Chicago, Ill.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: After earning its first road victory of the season on Thursday night, Valparaiso returns to Chicago on Saturday afternoon looking to keep its unbeaten Horizon League record in tact as the Crusaders face Loyola. Valpo has won four straight games overall and seven of its last eight contests dating back to the end of November.
On the Air: Saturday’s game at Loyola will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Eric Brooks and Adam Tein will call all the action live from the Gentile Center. 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 Loyola are meeting for the 12th time in a series that dates back to an 88-85 Crusader victory over the Ramblers on February 22, 1994. Valpo is a perfect 11-0 all-time against Loyola following a 77-74 victory over the Ramblers at the Gentile Center last season. The Crusaders have posted a 6-0 against Loyola mark all-time in Chicago.
Wrapping Up UIC: Aimee Litka scored a career-high 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds and the Crusaders hit 13-of-23 three-point attempts to defeat the Flames 72-63 on Thursday evening in Chicago. With Valpo leading by one at intermission, the Crusaders hit four straight triples to open the second half and build a 17-point advantage. After UIC fought back to within two in the final minute, Litka’s triple with 37.1 seconds left added insurance for the Crusaders. Launa Hochstetler added 15 points while Whitney Farris and Sarah Ott scored 11 and 10 points respectively.
Scouting Loyola: The Ramblers are still looking for their first Horizon League victory and have dropped three straight overall following a 61-50 setback against Butler on Thursday. Loyola is led offensively by Elyse VanBogaert and Maggie McCloskey. VanBogaert is scoring 12.9 points per game while shooting 53.4% from the floor. McCloskey adds 12.7 points per night, and is shooting 46.5% from three-point range, while leading the league making 3.3 triples per night.
Kulaga Earns Horizon League Player of the Week Accolades for Second Time: For the second time this season, Agnieszka Kulaga has been named the Horizon League’s Player of the Week. The junior guard poured in a career-high 29 points while adding six steals, six rebounds, and four steals in Saturday’s victory over Butler.
Home Court Win Streak Among Nation’s Best: Valparaiso’s 11-game winning streak at the Athletics-Recreation Center is the eighth longest streak in Division I. Valpo is 5-0 this season and won its final six home contests last year. The last Crusader loss at the ARC came on January 15, 2007, a 63-57 setback against Oakland. Duke currently holds the nation’s longest home court winning streak, having won 22 consecutive games in Durham, N.C.
Litka Has Career Night: Aimee Litka had her best game as a Crusader at UIC. She scored a career-high 28 points, bettering her previous best of 19 set against Saint Xavier. She made 6-of-8 three-pointers and finished the night shooting 9-of-13 from the floor. Litka also grabbed a career-high nine rebounds against the Flames.
Farris Keeps Matching Season High: Whitney Farris has matched her season high of 11 points in each of the last two ball games. The junior forward now has three double figure efforts this year.
Hochstetler Dishes the Rock: Launa Hochstetler registered seven assists on Thursday against UIC, one off of her career high. She is fourth in the Horizon League with a 1.41 assist-to-turnover ratio, and is averaging just over five assists per game during the last three contests.
Free Throw Shooting Continues to Shine for Crusaders...: Valpo made 25-of-27 free throw attempts last Saturday afternoon against Butler, with the 92.6% shooting ranking as the seventh best night from the charity stripe in school history. Valpo is shooting 78.7% from the line overall this season, the eighth best mark in the country.
... as Does Three-Point Shooting: Valpo is currently ranked fifth in NCAA Division I shooting 41.2% from beyond the arc. The Crusaders also are eighth in the nation making 7.8 triples per game. Five different players are currently ranked in the Horizon League’s top-12 in three-point shooting percentage individually.
Kulaga Shows All-Around Game: Agnieszka Kulaga showed she can do more than just score on Thursday. Despite tallying just six points, the junior guard tied a career high with eight rebounds and registered six assists.
For Three: Valpo’s 13 three-pointers made against UIC are tied for the sixth most by a Crusader team in a single game. Valpo’s school record is 17, set against Central Michigan in 2004.
Making Free Throws in Crunch Time: With the game on the line in the closing minutes, Valparaiso has been solid from the free throw stripe this season. Valpo is shooting 90.2% (46-of-51) as a team from the charity stripe in the game’s final two minutes. Agnieszka Kulaga has been virtually automatic in pressure situations, connecting on 21-of-22 tosses (95.5%) with the clock winding down.
Home Sweet Home: Valpo has had constant success at the ARC over the past seven years. With wins in the first five home games of 2007-2008, the Crusaders have pushed their home court winning streak to 11 consecutive games. Valpo has not dropped a home game since January 15, 2007 against Oakland. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Valpo has posted a 67-16 (.807) record at the ARC.
Kulaga Earns Valpo’s First Player of the Week Honor: Agnieszka Kulaga was named Valpo’s first-ever Horizon League Player of the Week on December 10 after turning in a then career-best 26 points against North Texas in a Crusader victory.
Hochstetler Named Scholar-Athlete of the Week: Leah Hochstetler was the Horizon League Scholar-Athlete of the Week on December 18. The junior scored all five of her points in the final minute, including the game-winning three-pointer against South Dakota State. In the classroom, Hochstetler has a 3.87 grade point average in nursing.
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.
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.