Game #7: Saturday, December 1, 3:05 p.m. CST
Ball State (3-3, 0-0 MAC)
at Valpo (1-5, 0-0 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
State Farm Hoosier Classic
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso comes home to the Athletics-Recreation Center for the first time in 2007-2008 on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders host the State Farm Hoosier Classic. The Crusaders will face Ball State in the day’s second game while Butler and Indiana State will meet in the opener beginning at 1:05 p.m.
On the Air: Saturday’s game against Ball State will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Nick Kovatch and Matt Engelbrecht 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: Ball State holds an 8-4 series advantage all-time against the Brown and Gold. The Cardinals won the first seven meetings between the two schools, beginning on January 22, 1973. Ball State also won the last meeting, December 10, 2006, 68-59 at Hoopla in Fort Wayne, Ind., snapping Valpo’s four-game winning streak in the series. The Crusaders are 0-3 against the Cardinals all-time at the ARC.
Wrapping Up Central Connecticut State: The Crusaders had four players score in double figures and shot 90.0% (27-of-30) from the free throw line last Saturday evening as Valpo defeated the Blue Devils 75-67 in the consolation game of the FGCU Thanksgiving Classic. Agnieszka Kulaga scored a career-high 21 points, while dishing out four assists to help the Crusaders earn their first victory of the season. Aimee Litka added 14 points and a career-best five helpers while Sarah Ott tallied 13 points. Leah Hochstetler came off of the bench with three triples and 11 points.
Scouting Ball State: The Cardinals enter the game at the .500 mark following a 72-48 loss at Temple on Wednesday night. Ball State trailed by just four at intermission, but the Owls shot 60% from the floor in the second half on the way to the victory. Julie DeMuth leads Ball State in scoring and rebounding, averaging 14.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest. Porchia Green adds 12.2 points per night while shooting 51.9% from the floor.
Home Openers: Valpo has won five of its last six home openers after defeating Northern Arizona 62-56 to open the 2006-2007 home season last year. 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: Valparaiso has posted a 5-2 record in the Hoosier Classic, the second best record among all four schools. Indiana State is 6-1. Valpo had won five straight games in the event prior to being defeated by Indiana State 83-71 last year in Indianapolis, Ind.
Valpo Looks Continues Tournament Success: Valparaiso has split games during in-season tournaments in eight of the last nine events the Crusaders have participated in dating back to the 1994-1995 season following their victory over Central Connecticut State at the FGCU Thanksgiving Classic last weekend.
Double-Trouble for Ott: Sarah Ott had the first double-double of her career on November 18 with her 10-point, 10-rebound performance at Xavier. She followed that up last Friday with another double-double against Eastern Kentucky. Her 14 points marked a season-high for the redshirt-junior while her 12 boards set a new career-high. Ott is the only active Crusader to have ever recorded a double-double.
Kulaga Has Career Scoring Night against CCSU: Agnieszka Kulaga scored a career-high 21 points to lead the Crusaders to their first victory of the season. The junior guard’s 21 points ties Launa Hochstetler’s total for career highs among all active Crusaders.
Varner Gets to the Offensive Glass: Rookie Ashley Varner grabbed a career-high eight rebounds for the Brown and Gold against Central Connecticut State. Among those were six of Valpo’s 11 offensive boards, helping the Crusaders to nine second chance points.
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. Aimee Litka leads Valpo scoring 11.5 points per game this season while Agnieszka Kulaga is posting 11.0 points per contest. Two more Crusaders are averaging between 9.7 and 8.8 points per game thus far this year.
Homestand Begins: After playing their first six games away from the ARC, the Crusaders will be home for five of their next six games beginning on Saturday with Ball State.
Crashing the Boards: Three different Crusaders set career highs in rebounding on Friday evening against Eastern Kentucky. Sarah Ott led the way with her 12-board performance, bettering her previous best of 10 at Xavier (Ohio). Aimee Litka added eight rebounds, bettering her previous best of seven set on two occasions. Freshman Ashley Varner also grabbed a then career-best six rebounds, nearly doubling her season’s output.
Solid Night From the Charity Stripe: Valpo’s win against Central Connecticut State was bolstered by a 90% shooting performance from the free throw line. The Crusaders made 27-of-30 attempts on the game, with Agnieszka Kulaga, Aimee Litka, and Sarah Ott all turning in perfect 6-of-6 efforts.
Litka Has Career Scoring Night: Aimee Litka scored a career-high 16 points for the Brown and Gold against Eastern Kentucky, the highest scoring output of her career. The junior’s previous best effort was a 14-point effort at Indiana last season.
Freeman Winningest Coach in Valpo History: Head coach Keith Freeman’s 230 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. In less than two weeks, 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.