Game #18: January 26, 2008, 12:30 p.m. CST
Valpo (8-9, 3-3 Horizon)
at Detroit (3-14, 0-6 Horizon)
Calihan Hall (8,295) - Detroit, Mich.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso looks to return to winning ways on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders head to Detroit to battle the Titans in Horizon League action. Valpo is coming off of a disappointing 51-50 defeat on Thursday evening at Wright State, and looks to move back to the .500 mark overall on the season.
On the Air: Saturday’s game against Detroit will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Nick Kovatch and Maggie Foley will call all the action live from Calihan Hall. 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 Detroit are meeting for just the fifth time, and the first since November 28, 2000, a 76-70 Titan victory in Detroit. Detroit holds a 3-1 series edge all-time, dating back to the first meeting between the two schools on February 20, 1989. The series is even 1-1 in the Motor City, with Valpo’s lone win against the Titans coming on January 25, 1990 by the score of 71-69.
Wrapping Up Wright State: Sheylani Peddy’s jumper with 5.5 seconds remaining rallied the Raiders from a 10-point second half deficit and gave Wright State a 51-50 victory over the Crusaders on Thursday evening in Dayton, Ohio. Valpo was held without a field goal the final 7:04 of the contest, and had just two buckets in the final 13:41. Agnieszka Kulaga led Valpo with her second consecutive double-double, tallying 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Sarah Ott and Leah Hochstetler added seven points a piece for the Brown and Gold.
Scouting Detroit: The Titans are still looking for their first Horizon League victory of the season and are trying to snap a four-game losing streak overall after a 72-62 loss to Butler on Thursday night. Detroit is led offensively by Sandi Brown, who is averaging 10.4 points per contest, but is slated to miss the Valpo game. Zemora Davis adds 7.7 points for Detroit, which is averaging just 52.6 points per game as a team. India Bruster is Detroit’s leading rebounder with 6.1 boards per night. The Titans are shooting 35.3% from the floor and 22.0% from three-point range. Detroit is a 62.2% shooting team from the free throw line.
Kulaga Earns Third League Honor: Agnieszka Kulaga has earned her third Horizon League Player of the Week honor after averaging 17.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.0 assists last week. Kulaga was also named Player of the Week 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.
Double Trouble: Agnieszka Kulaga made her first double-double extra special, turning it into a triple-double performance against Green Bay. The junior guard had 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists, and became the first Crusader since Betsy Rietema to record the feat. Rietema had 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists on December 2, 2006 against Indiana State. She added her second career double-double Thursday night against Wright State with 18 points and 10 boards.
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.
Kulaga Among Nation’s Best at the Line: Agnieszka Kulaga ranks 12th in the country, minimum of 2.5 makes per game, from the free throw line. The junior guard is 62-of-70 (88.6%) from the charity stripe and has made 15 straight over the past three games.
Peller Makes Season’s First Two Starts: Kelly Peller drew her first starting assignment of the season on Saturday against Green Bay and followed it up with another start at Wright State. The sophomore tied her career high with four boards Thursday against the Raiders.
Lighting Up the Scoreboard: The 90-point effort in the victory against Green Bay marked the most points Valpo have scored in a game since a 91-44 win over Centenary on February 6, 2006.
Free Throw and Three-Point Shooting Among Nation’s Best: Valpo is currently ranked 11th in NCAA Division I shooting 38.9% from beyond the arc. The Crusaders also are ninth in the nation making 7.6 triples per game. Valpo is just as proficient from the free throw line, ranking 11th in the country shooting 77.3% from the charity stripe.
A Solid Night from the Line: Valpo made 25-of-27 free throw attempts on January 5 against Butler, with the 92.6% shooting ranking as the seventh best night from the charity stripe in school history. It was Valpo’s highest shooting percentage ever when the team took 20 or more attempts.
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 86.4% (51-of-59) 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.
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.