Game #9: Dec. 21, 2009, 6 p.m. CST
Valparaiso (3-5, 0-0 Horizon)
at Cincinnati (5-5, 0-0 Big East)
Fifth Third Bank Arena (13,176) - Cincinnati, Ohio
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: After a nine-day layoff for final exams, Valparaiso returns to the hardwood for the final time before Christmas on Monday evening as the Crusaders head to Cincinnati to face the Bearcats. The game wraps up a three-game road swing against Big East foes for the Crusaders.
On the Air: Monday’s game against Cincinnati will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at valpoathletics.com. Mike Targonski and Nick Garling will call all the action live from Fifth Third Bank Arena. Live stats will be available through www.valpoathletics.com as well.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Cincinnati are meeting for the second time, with the first meeting also coming in the Buckeye State. In that first meeting, on November 16, 2007, the Bearcats posted a 96-69 victory over the Crusaders. Rashida Ray shared high point honors for the Crusaders with 12 while Whitney Farris added 11 for the Brown and Gold.
Head Coach Keith Freeman: In his 16th season on the Valparaiso bench, Keith Freeman has a 263-186 record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 22nd season overall, Freeman has a 392-233 career mark. He is Valpo’s all-time winningest coach and has amassed more than half of the victories in the program’s history.
Wrapping Up Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish scored the game’s first nine points and built a 45-22 halftime lead before going on to defeat the Crusaders 88-47 on Saturday, December 12 in Notre Dame, Ind. Raegan Moore led the Crusaders with 16 points off of the bench while Lauren Kenney added 12 for the Brown and Gold. Notre Dame held Valpo to just 29.3% shooting from the floor and forced 29 turnovers, resulting in 36 Irish points.
Scouting Cincinnati: The Bearcats posted a 62-49 victory against Eastern Kentucky on Friday evening to snap a three-game losing streak. Cincinnati is 4-2 at home this year while still looking for its first road victory of the season. Shareese Ulis leads the Bearcats in scoring averaging 11.9 points per game while shooting 43.9% from the floor. Carla Jacobs adds 10.7 points per night for Cincinnati while Michelle Jones leads the team on the boards pulling down 7.0 rebounds per night. As a team Cincinnati is outrebounding opponents by 4.3 boards per contest.
Joining a New Conference?: Playing Cincinnati, the Crusaders are facing the final of three straight opponents from the Big East Conference before Christmas. Valpo lost to Pittsburgh and Notre Dame already during the road trip, both of which were nationally ranked. The Crusaders are looking for their first win ever against a Big East foe in their 50th game against the conference’s current members.
Moore Breaks Out in a Big Way: Raegan Moore entered the game against Notre Dame with four career points in her first six games as a Crusader. She stepped up big against the Fighting Irish, scoring a team-high 16 points, including a 5-for-5 effort from the free throw line. Moore also grabbed a season-high four rebounds, more than doubling her previous season total of three, and registered her first two blocked shots of the year.
Among the Nation’s Best from the Stripe: Valpo is ranked 14th in the country shooting 77.4% as a team from the free throw line this season, a figure which is second best in the Horizon League. Seven different Crusaders are shooting at least 73% from the charity stripe, led by Betsy Adams who is connecting at 90.6% (29-of-32). Adams ranks 21st individually in Division I in free throw shooting.
The League’s Top Scorers: Lauren Kenney leads the Horizon League in scoring, averaging 15.5 points per game this season. The senior forward has tallied 11 or more points in all eight contests this year, posting a season-best 21 points against both SIU Edwardsville and Central Michigan. Betsy Adams ranks third in the conference in scoring, averaging 15.0 points per night. The sophomore guard had posted double figures in the first seven games this year before being held scoreless at Notre Dame.
Ho Hum, Another Day in Double Figures: Lauren Kenney have tallied double figures in scoring in all eight games for the Crusaders this year. Kenney’s string of double figure contests has stretched to 13 straight overall, dating back to last season. The senior has posted 21 double figure contests in her 32 collegiate games at Valpo after arriving prior to last year.
Freeman Set for #450: Monday’s game at Cincinnati will mark the 450th game Keith Freeman has coached at the helm of the Crusaders. He has coached nearly half of all of the program’s games in the history of Valpo women’s basketball.
60 and 70 Appear to be Magic Numbers: All three of Valpo’s victories this year have come when the Crusaders have scored 70 or more points offensively. In addition, in the three wins, the Crusaders have held the opposition to less than 60 points.
Block Party: Ashley Varner registered three blocked shots against Pittsburgh, a career high, part of a season-high five by the Crusaders in the game. Her eight blocks this year match her total from 2008-2009. Raegan Moore added her first two collegiate blocks at Notre Dame, part of four rejections by the Brown and Gold in the game. As a team, Valpo has already blocked 24 shots in just eight games, more than half of the team’s total from all of 2008-2009. Last year the Crusaders finished with just 45 blocks in 30 contests.
Freshman Among Assist/Turnover Leaders: Valpo’s freshman point guard Skylar Gick ranks third in the Horizon League in assist-to-turnover ratio. She has dished out 26 assists while turning the ball over just 16 times for a 1.6 assist-to-turnover mark.
Brrr.... It’s Cold Inside: Valpo has struggled shooting the basketball against Pittsburgh and Notre Dame, connecting for less than 30% from the floor in each game. The Crusaders have made just 31-of-109 shots from the field (.284) during the first two games of the current road trip.
Wrapping Up the Year: With three games left in the 2009 calendar year, the Crusaders have posted a 14-14 record since January 1. Valpo finished 10-5 at home in the ARC during the year.
A Perfect Effort: Betsy Adams went a perfect 10-for-10 against Colorado State from the free throw line. Her performance against the Rams marked the fourth most makes without a miss ever at Valpo. Ironically, Adams went just 6-of-10 for the season at the line last year as a freshman.
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.
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.