Game #2: November 25, 2008, 11 a.m. CST
Valparaiso (1-0, 0-0 Horizon)
at Central Michigan (2-1, 0-0 MAC)
Rose Arena (5,200) - Mount Pleasant, Mich.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: After a season-opening victory against Bowling Green on Wednesday evening, Valparaiso will take to the road for the first time in the 2008-2009 season on Tuesday afternoon as the Crusaders travel to Mount Pleasant, Mich. to battle the Chippewas of Central Michigan. The Chippewas opened the season with two straight wins before falling by five points at Georgetown on Saturday.
On the Air: Tuesday’s game against Central Michigan will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at valpoathletics.com. Michelle Niehus and Adam Tein will call all the action live from the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Central Michigan are meeting for the fourth time ever in a series that began with a Valpo victory 66-46 on November 30, 2003. Each team is 1-1 on the other’s home floor. The Crusaders won the first two meetings between the two schools, while the Chippewas have won the last two contests, including a 62-45 win in Valparaiso on December 21, 2006 the last time the two teams met.
Wrapping Up Bowling Green: Agnieszka Kulaga scored 22 points and Aimee Litka had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds as Valparaiso opened the season with a 69-58 victory over the Falcons on Wednesday evening at the ARC. Valpo had a seven-point lead at halftime before Bowling Green cut the lead to three with 13 minutes to play. A 24-5 run in the second half by the Crusaders put the game out of reach.
Scouting Central Michigan: The Chippewas opened the season with wins over Indiana State and Howard before losing 82-77 at Georgetown Saturday. Britni Houghton is averaging 20.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for Central Michigan and is shooting 66.7% (22-of-33) from the field. Kaihla Szunko adds 13.0 points and 5.7 boards per night after scoring a team-high 20 points against the Hoyas. Angel Chan (11.7 ppg) and Brandie Baker (10.7 ppg) are both averaging double figures as well for the Chippewas, who are scoring 78.3 points as a team.
Sell Out Expected Tuesday: The game at Central Michigan has been sold out as part of a “Recess in Rose” promotion by the Chippewas. School children from around the area are expected to pack Rose Arena.
Valpo Looks for Rare 2-0 Start: After defeating Bowling Green for just its second season-opening victory in the last nine years, Valparaiso will look to open the season 2-0 for just the third time in program history when the Brown and Gold faces CMU. The Crusaders have not won two straight to begin a season since Dick Briars’ squad defeated Manchester and Michigan-Dearborn to open the 1985-1986 campaign. The only other time Valpo won the first two games of a season was in 1974-1975.
Litka Continues to Cause Double Trouble: Aimee Litka opened the season with her third career double-double against Bowling Green. The senior scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, one off of her career high, to post her 28th double-figure scoring game in her last 31 contests. Litka also dished out four assists without a turnover in 29 minutes of action.
Raining Three’s: Aimee Litka made her first five three-pointers of the game against the Falcons, finishing 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. Agnieszka Kulaga tied her career high with three triples, as Valpo made 10-of-19 in the opener. Freshman Betsy Adams also made her first collegiate shot, a three-pointer from deep in the right corner while sophomore Ashley Varner drained her first collegiate triple as well in the contest.
Farris Dishes the Rock: Whitney Farris had a career high six assists to open the season against Bowling Green. The junior post found Lauren Kenney open on three different occasions inside. Five of her six assists came in the second half for Farris.
Getting to the Glass: After outrebounding just four opponents the entire 2007-2008 season, Valpo hauled down four more boards than Bowling Green in the season opener. The Crusaders held a 36-32 advantage on the glass, led by 12 from Aimee Litka and five more from both Whitney Farris and Katie Emig. Eight of the 36 boards were offensive, leading to nine second chance points for Valpo.
Hochstetler Ranks Among Career Assist Leaders: Launa Hochstetler continues to climb Valpo’s career assist list. With seven assists against Bowling Green, the senior moved past Lina Mascarenas (1988-1992) and Betsy Rietema (2003-2007) into 12th place all-time wearing for the Crusaders. She now has 232 assists, trailing Jeanette Gray (1999-2003) by just six for 11th place on the all-time list.
Starting in Their Valpo Debuts: Junior college transfers Lauren Kenney and Sylwia Zabielewicz both started the opener in their first appearances wearing the Brown and Gold. Kenney played 24 minutes while scoring eight points and blocking two shots while Zabielewicz had two points and a rebound in 10 minutes of action.
Kulaga Earns Preseason Honors: Agnieszka Kulaga was named to the Preseason All-Horizon League Second Team after averaging 14.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last year for the Crusaders. She had a triple-double last season and earned Second Team All-League honors as a junior.
Valpo Tabbed Sixth in Horizon League: The Crusaders were picked to finish in sixth place this season in the Horizon League according to the conference’s preseason poll. Last year the Crusaders finished 14-16 overall and 9-9 in their inaugural league campaign to finish sixth. Green Bay was selected to win the Horizon League title for the 11th consecutive season.
Home Sweet Home: Valpo has had constant success at the ARC over the past seven years. Last season the Crusaders were 9-4 at home and are already 1-0 this year. Since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Valpo has posted a 72-20 (.783) record at the ARC.
Valpo Adds Two for Next Year’s Class: Head coach Keith Freeman has signed two players to National Letters of Intent for the 2009-2010 season. Skyler Gick is a 5’7” guard from Otterbein, Ind. who averaged 15.1 points per game as a junior at Benton Central High School. Laura Richards is a 5’9” guard from Connersville, Ind and averaged 16.0 points an 5.2 rebounds per game a year ago at Connersville High School.