Crusader Women Visit the Windy City Wednesday
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Crusader Women Visit the Windy City Wednesday
Laura Richards defense has led the way for Valpo. (Ray Acevedo)

Game #5: Dec. 2, 2009, 7 p.m. CST
Valparaiso (3-1, 0-0 Horizon)
at Chicago State (2-5, 0-0 GWC)
Jones Convocation Center (7,000) - Chicago, Ill.

Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: After an eight-day layoff for Thanksgiving, Valparaiso returns to the hardwood on Wednesday evening in the Windy City as the Crusaders battle Chicago State.  Valpo is looking to continue the best start in program history.

On the Air: Wednesday’s game against Chicago State will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at Keaton Gillogly and David Schroeder will call all the action live from the Jones Convocation Center.  Live stats will not be available for this week’s game.

Series Notes: Valparaiso and Chicago State are meeting for the 39th time, the most games the Crusaders have ever played against a single opponent.  In a series dating back to 1988, Valpo leads 34-4 all-time against the Cougars, and has won three straight following a 69-60 victory at the ARC last season.  The Crusaders hold a 13-4 advantage all-time in Chicago, but the Cougars have won the last three meetings in the Windy City, the most recent a 53-50 decision in 2006.

Head Coach Keith Freeman: In his 16th season on the Valparaiso bench, Keith Freeman has a 263-182 record at the helm of the Brown and Gold.  In his 22nd season overall, Freeman has a 392-229 career mark.

Upcoming Promotion: Fans can receive four tickets for just $20 to the Saturday’s (December 5) home game against Central Michigan. 

Wrapping Up Ball State: The Cardinals built a 16-point second half lead last Tuesday evening (Nov. 24) before Valpo rallied late, only to come up on the short end of a 71-64 decision in Muncie, Ind.  Lauren Kenney led Valpo with 16 points while Ashley Varner tied a career-high with 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds.  Betsy Adams and Skyler Gick also tallied double figures for the Crusaders in the loss.

Scouting Chicago State: The Cougars are wrapping up a four-game homestand against Valpo while looking to snap a two-game losing skid following a 74-71 setback against Western Michigan on Monday evening.  Courtney Waldon leads Chicago State in scoring, averaging 11.4 points per game while Alyssa Waldon adds 10.1 points per night.  Elana Wroten leads the team on the boards, pulling down 5.0 rebounds per contest.  As a team, Chicago State is shooting just 59.4% from the free throw line.

Best Start Ever Matched: Valpo’s 3-1 record to start the season matches the 1974-1975 team, coached by Ruth Brown, for the best four-game start in program history.  The 1974-1975 team started the year 5-1 before finishing 5-6.

Varner Consistent Each Night: Ashley Varner tied her career high with 14 points against Ball State, matching her total against Youngstown State last season.  The junior has tallied 13 or 14 points in three of the four games this year, and is averaging 12 points per night.  She also is pulling down 8.5 rebounds per contest, tallying nine or more in three of four contests as well.

Doing the Little Things: Laura Richards may not be filling the stat sheet offensively, but she is leading the way for the Crusaders on the defensive end of the floor.  The freshman point guard has 12 assists and leads the Horizon League with a 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio while averaging 1.3 steals per contest on the other end of the floor.

Figure Them for at Least Ten: Betsy Adams and Lauren Kenney have tallied double figures in scoring in all four games for the Crusaders this year.  Each is averaging 17.0 points per contest on the year, tied for second in the conference in scoring.  Kenney has done her damage inside shooting 53.2% from the floor while Adams has hit 11 triples on the year.  Both have season highs of 21 points this year.

Accepting Charity: In three games this season Valparaiso has already made three more free throw attempts that its opponents have even attempted.  Valpo has shot 103 free throws (and made 76, 73.8%) while Crusader opponents have attempted just 73 charity tosses all season.

Adams Makes Them Pay for Fouling: Betsy Adams is 23-for-25 (92.0%) from the free throw line this year including a 10-of-10 effort against Colorado State.  Her performance against the Rams marked the fourth most makes without a miss ever at Valpo.  Ironically, Adams went  just 6-of-10 at the line last year.

Making the Most of Minutes Played: Sylwia Zabielewicz has played just 25 minutes this season and has already grabbed 16 rebounds.  The 6-foot-6 center had 10 boards in the season opener against Indiana Tech and had four caroms in four minutes last week at Ball State.

Peller Lends a Helping Hand: Kelly Peller has dished out four assists on two different occasions this season, matching her career high.  She had four helpers in 16 minutes without a turnover at Ball State last Tuesday.  She ranks 10th in the league with a 1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Getting to the Offensive Glass: Lauren Kenney leads the Horizon League averaging 4.8 offensive rebounds per game.  Of her 36 total boards this season, more than half (19) have given the Crusaders a second chance opportunity.

Kenney Named Horizon League Player of the Week: Lauren Kenney was named the Horizon League’s Player of the Week on November 23 after leading Valpo to wins over SIU Edwardsville and Colorado State.  The senior forward averaged 20.0 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game while registering double-doubles in both contests for the Crusaders.

Kenney Earns Preseason Honors: Lauren Kenney was named to the Horizon League’s Preseason Second Team in the voting by the league’s head coaches, media, and sports information directors.  The senior forward averaged 10.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per game for Valpo 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 16-14 overall and 10-8 during the league campaign, finishing fourth.  Green Bay was selected to win the Horizon League title for the 12th consecutive season.

Home Sweet Home: Valpo has had consistent success at the ARC over the past nine years, including three straight wins to start this year.  Last season the Crusaders were 9-5 at home and since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Valpo has posted a 83-25 (.783) record at the ARC.

Freeman Among Winningest Active Coaches:
Keith Freeman entered the 2009-2010 season ranked 42nd among all active Division I coaches for career victories.  He has guided the Crusaders to more than 50% of the program’s victories all-time at Valpo.

Valpo Adds Four for Next Year’s Class: Head coach Keith Freeman has signed four players to National Letters of Intent for next year.  Joining the Crusaders for the 2010-2011 season are: Maegan Callaway, a 6’0” center from Mooresville High School in Mooresville, Ind.;  Tabitha Gerardot, a 6’0” forward from  Canterbury High School in Fort Wayne, Ind.; Liz Horton, a 6’1” forward from Barr-Reeve High School in Cannelburg, Ind.; and Stefanie Lang, a 6’4” center from Valparaiso High School in Valparaiso, Ind.