Game #19: January 31, 2008, 7:05 p.m. CST
Youngstown State (9-9, 4-3 Horizon)
at Valpo (9-9, 4-3 Horizon)
Athletic-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso begins a key four-game homestand against Horizon League foes on Thursday evening as the Crusaders welcome Youngstown State to the ARC. The Crusaders have won two of their last three games following a 71-50 victory at Detroit on Saturday afternoon.
On the Air: Thursday’s game against Youngstown State will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Adam Amin and Dave Schroeder 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 Youngstown State are meeting on the hardwood for the 22nd time in a series that dates back to January 29, 1993. The Penguins hold a 12-9 all-time advantage, but the Crusaders snapped a three-game losing skid against Youngstown State in their last meeting on December 10, 2001 winning by the score of 77-55. Valpo is 7-3 against the Penguins at the ARC.
Wrapping Up Detroit: Aimee Litka scored 17 of her 25 points in the second half and Valparaiso connected on 11 three-pointers in the contest as the Crusaders defeated the Titans 71-50 on Saturday afternoon in Detroit. Litka finished 7-of-15 from three-point range and tied her career high with nine rebounds. Agnieszka Kulaga added 16 points and tied her career best with six steals. Katie Emig grabbed a career high nine rebounds in the victory. A 19-2 run in the first half broke the game open for the Crusaders.
Scouting Youngstown State: The Penguins had their two-game winning streak end on Saturday afternoon with a 77-64 setback at Cleveland State. Youngstown State is still looking for its first road win in Horizon League action, but is a perfect 4-0 against league foes at home. Heather Karner leads the Penguins in scoring, averaging 13.4 points per game. Tiara Scott adds 12.3 points per night while grabbing 6.6 rebounds per contest. Scott is averaging 16.4 points in Horizon League action. Lauren Branson is 28th in the country averaging 5.2 assists per game and is 12th with a 2.24 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Litka Continues to Roll: Aimee Litka just missed her first career double-double on Saturday with 25 points and nine rebounds at Detroit. Earlier this year, she just missed as well with 28 points and nine boards at UIC. The junior is sixth in the league in scoring averaging 14.6 points per night, and is tallying 17.4 points per game against Horizon League foes.
Number 400 for Freeman: Thursday’s game against Youngstown State will mark the 400th contest Keith Freeman will have coached on the Valparaiso bench.
Emig Pulls Down the Boards: Katie Emig grabbed a career high nine rebounds Saturday against Detroit. The redshirt-freshman’s previous best night on the glass was five boards against Ball State.
Four in Doubles in League Play: Four Crusaders are averaging in double figures in Horizon League action this season. Aimee Litka leads the way scoring 17.4 points against league foes while Agnieszka Kulaga adds 16.1 points per night. Sarah Ott and Launa Hochstetler are scoring 10.7 and 10.4 points per game against the Horizon League.
Constant Starters: Launa Hochstetler, Agnieszka Kulaga, Aimee Litka, and Sarah Ott have started all 18 games for the Brown and Gold this season. Kulaga has started 34 straight games dating back to last season while Ott has a 21-game streak going.
Kulaga Among Nation’s Best at the Line: Agnieszka Kulaga ranks 10th in the country from the free throw line. To qualify one has to average 2.5 makes per game. The junior guard is 64-of-72 (88.9%) from the charity stripe and has made 17 straight over the past four games.
Overtime Success: Valparaiso’s overtime win against Green Bay was the Crusaders’ fourth straight when playing extra sessions. The Crusaders have not dropped an overtime contest since November 21, 2005, a double-overtime affair against Bradley.
Sisterly Heroics: With Launa Hochstetler’s game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer of overtime against Green Bay, she matched the accomplished of her sister Leah from earlier this season. Leah hit her game-winning triple with 48 seconds remaining against South Dakota State.
From Long Range: The 36 three-point attempts Valpo took against Detroit were the second most taken by the Crusaders ever in a game. The school record for attempts is 41 against Wright State back in 1992. Aimee Litka’s seven triples made in the same game tie her for fourth on the Crusaders’ single game list for makes in a contest individually.
Free Throw and Three-Point Shooting Among Nation’s Best: Valpo is currently ranked 17th in NCAA Division I shooting 38.0% from beyond the arc. The Crusaders also are 7th in the nation making 7.8 triples per game. Valpo is just as proficient from the free throw line, ranking 10th in the country shooting 77.4% from the charity stripe.
Kulaga Earns Three League Honors: Agnieszka Kulaga earned her third Horizon League Player of the Week honor on January 21 after averaging 17.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.0 assists in two games. Kulaga first earned the award on December 10 after turning in a then career-best 26 points against North Texas in a Crusader victory. She then earned the honor again on January 7 after pouring in a career-high 29 points while adding six steals, six rebounds, and four steals in a victory over Butler.
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 86.9% (53-of-61) 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 24-of-25 tosses (96.0%) with the clock winding down. She proved her ability in the clutch against Green Bay, sinking three free throws with 0.2 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.
Home Sweet Home: Valpo has had constant success at the ARC over the past seven years. This season the Crusaders are 6-1 at home and since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Valpo has posted a 68-17 (.800) record at the ARC.
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.
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.