Game #25: February 21, 2009, 1:35 p.m. CST
Butler (16-8, 11-2 Horizon)
Valparaiso (13-11, 7-6 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso continues its final homestand of the season on Saturday afternoon, as the Crusaders battle instate rival Butler at the ARC in a “WBCA Pink Zone” game. The Crusaders are looking to carry the momentum over from Tuesday’s non-conference win against Chicago State while the Bulldogs have won four straight and 12 of their last 14 games overall.
On the Air: Saturday’s game against Butler will be carried live on the Horizon League Network at horizonleaguenetwork.tv or through the link at valpoathletics.com. In addition, the game can be heard live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and through the Valpo athletics website. David Schroeder and Adam Tein will call all of the action live from the ARC. Live stats are also available via Gametracker through valpoathletics.com.
Series Notes: Butler leads the all-time series against Valpo 16-4 and has won the last two meetings between the two Hoosier State schools following a 77-44 victory over the Crusaders in Indianapolis on January 23. The Bulldogs are 7-2 against Valpo at the ARC, with the Brown and Gold’s last win in the series coming on January 5, 2008 at home, 77-69. In the first meeting this year, Susan Lester came off of the bench to score 31 points and the Bulldogs built a 29-point halftime lead that Valpo could not recover from. Betsy Adams led Valpo with 12 points.
Wrapping Up Chicago State: Leah Hochstetler scored a career-high 23 points, making 7-of-14 three-pointers, and grabbed a career-best six rebounds as Valparaiso closed out non-conference play with a 69-60 victory over the Cougars at the ARC on Tuesday night. Launa Hochstetler added her first career double-double, 11 points and a career-high 11 assists, while Agnieszka Kulaga scored 12 for the Brown and Gold. Jasmin Dixon led Chicago State with 17 points.
Scouting Butler: The Bulldogs enter the game having won four straight following a 71-63 win at Loyola (Chicago) last Saturday afternoon. Lade Akande leads four Butler players averaging in double figures with 10.9 points per game, while grabbing 6.0 rebounds per night. Melanie Thornton adds 10.8 points per contest and a team-high 7.8 rebounds. Butler ranks second in the Horizon League in scoring margin (+8.9), rebounding margin (+3.3), and turnover margin (+3.6).
Think Pink: Saturday’s game against Butler has been designated as “WBCA Pink Zone” to raise awareness against breast cancer. Prior to the game, breast cancer survivors will be honored and the first 200 fans will be given pink t-shirts.
A Double Threat: Launa Hochstetler recorded her first collegiate double-double on Tuesday evening, scoring 11 points and dishing out 11 assists. For the senior point guard, the 11 helpers marked a career high, bettering her previous best by two assists. Hochstetler leads the Horizon League in assists averaging 4.6 per game.
Talk About a Break Out Game: Leah Hochstetler had her most explosive offensive performance of her career on Tuesday evening, making seven three-pointers on her way to a career-high 23 points. The senior guard’s seven triples tie her for fourth place on Valpo’s single game list all-time from downtown.
Speaking of Downtown: Valpo made 14 three-point field goals on Tuesday evening as a team against Chicago State, tying for the third most makes ever in a game by a Crusader team. The Brown and Gold also made 13 just a week-and-a-half ago as well at Loyola (Chicago), ranking that effort eighth on the all-time charts for the team.
A Winning Non-League Mark: With the win against Chicago State on Tuesday, the Crusaders finish the year 6-5 in non-conference action despite a difficult schedule. Valpo has defeated the top team in the Atlantic Coast Conference (Florida State) and Mid-American Conference (Bowling Green) as well as the third place team in the Big Ten (Purdue). Valpo also battled top-25 foes Notre Dame and South Dakota State.
Kulaga Regaining Scoring Stroke: After struggling through a stretch of games in which she scored in double figures just three times in 12 games, Agnieszka Kulaga is back pouring in points like she did to start the year when she tallied double digits in the first seven games of the year. The senior guard has scored 10 or more points in four straight contests after tallying 12 against Chicago State on Tuesday night.
A Tight Race: With five games remaining in the regular season, Valpo is tied for fourth place with UIC in the race to host the final quarterfinal in the Horizon League Tournament.
What Lineup Tonight?: With Aimee Litka missing her first game of the season on Tuesday evening, head coach Keith Freeman started his ninth different lineup of the season against Chicago State.
Among the Nation’s Best at the Free Throw Line This Year...: Agnieszka Kulaga and Launa Hochstetler rank 3rd and 27th respectively in all of NCAA Division I at the free throw line this season through games of February 15. Kulaga also leads the Horizon League shooting 89.6% (60-of-67) from the line this year while Hochstetler is an 85.3% (81-of-95) shooter this year.
... and Also All-time at Valpo: Launa Hochstetler and Agnieszka Kulaga both have surpassed the 225 attempt minimum from the free throw line to qualify on the all-time free throw percentage charts at Valpo. Hochstetler enters the game tops all-time as an 84.3% career free throw shooter while Kulaga ranks second making 83.8% of her attempts. Entering this season, Mo Drabicki (1994-1998) was at the top of the list shooting 83.0% for her career.
Kulaga and Litka Move Into Top-20 All-Time at Valpo in Scoring: Agnieszka Kulaga and Aimee Litka continue to leap frog one another on the all-time scoring charts. Kulaga has into 17th place passing Michelle Russell (1991-1994) with 888 career points after scoring 12 against Chicago State on Tuesday. Litka has moved into 19th place all-time at Valpo with 873 career points, three behind Kulaga. Kulaga needs eight more points while Litka needs 23 more to reach Heidi Diefenthaler’s (1992-1996) 16th place total of 896 career points.
Nearing Top-Five in Assists: Launa Hochstetler’s feed to Whitney Farris with 13:53 to play in the second half against Loyola made the senior just the sixth Crusader in school history to reach the 300 assist mark for a career. Hochstetler currently has 336 career assists and needs just four more helpers to move into the top-five all-time wearing the Brown and Gold, matching Shari Toelke’s (1990-1994) total of 340 assists.
Kulaga Moves Into Top-15 in Assists: Agnieszka Kulaga had two assists against Chicago State and now has 242 career assists to move past rank Jeanette Gray (1999-2003) into 12th place all-time wearing the Brown and Gold. She now trails Megan Newcomer (1996-2000) by just five helpers for 11th on the all-time list.
Litka Moves Into Top-5 All-Time in Triples: Aimee Litka made one more three-pointer against UIC last Saturday evening and has moved into fifth place all-time at Valpo for triples made in a career. Litka now has 159 treys in four seasons, and is 12 triples shy of Sarah Lenschow’s fourth place total of 171 threes.
Playing Overtime: Valparaiso’s overtime win against Detroit was the Crusaders’ fifth straight when playing extra sessions. The Crusaders have not dropped an overtime contest since November 21, 2005, a double-overtime affair against Bradley.
First Win Ever Against a Ranked Foe: The victory against Purdue was the first ever for a Crusader squad against a team ranked in the top-25. Valpo has played three top-25 programs this season, going 1-2 in those games.
Dialing Long Distance: Valpo’s 13 three-point field goals at Loyola on February 12 tied for the eighth most in school history for a single game. The Crusaders made 11-of-15 triples in the first 20 minutes, and shot 59.1% for the game, tied for the 10th best long range percentage all-time (minimum 10 attempts).