Valpo Closes 2009 Facing Wake Forest at Surf 'n Slam
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Valpo Closes 2009 Facing Wake Forest at Surf 'n Slam
Laura Richards had a solid game on both ends of the floor against Auburn. (Ray Acevedo)

Game #11: Dec. 30, 2009, 7 p.m. CST
Valparaiso (3-7, 0-0 Horizon)
vs. Wake Forest (8-4, 0-0 ACC)
Viejas Arena (12,414) - San Diego, Calif.
San Diego Surf ‘n Slam Consolation Game

Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso closes out the non-conference portion of the schedule as well as the 2009 calendar year on Wednesday evening as the Crusaders face Wake Forest in the consolation game of the San Diego Surf ‘n Slam.  This will be Valpo’s fifth straight game against teams from power conferences.

On the Air: Wednesday’s game against Auburn will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at David Schroeder and Keaton Gillogly will call all the action live from Viejas Arena.  Live stats will be available through as well.

Series Notes: Valparaiso and Wake Forest are meeting for just the second time ever.  The Crusaders won the only other meeting against the Demon Deacons, 74-46 on December 22, 2001 at the ARC.

Head Coach Keith Freeman: In his 16th season on the Valparaiso bench, Keith Freeman has a 263-188 record at the helm of the Brown and Gold.  In his 22nd season overall, Freeman has a 392-235 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 Auburn: The Crusaders erased an eight-point deficit and took a six-point lead late in the second  half, but a game-tying free throw rolled out with 0.2 seconds to play as the Tigers defeated Valpo 51-50 on Monday evening in the first round  of the San Diego Surf ‘n Slam.  Whitney Farris and Betsy Adams led Valpo offensively with 12 points each.  KeKe Carrier led Auburn with 20 points and 19 rebounds, but the Crusader defense stifled the rest of the Tigers, holding the defending Southeastern Conference champion to just 33.3% shooting for the game.

Scouting Wake Forest:
The Demon Deacons opened the season with six straight victories, but have dropped four of their last six contests following a 63-62 setback to tournament host San Diego State in the opening round on Monday night.  Brittany Waters leads Wake Forest in scoring, averaging 16.9 points per game while grabbing 6.3 boards per night.  Secily Ray adds 10.5 points per game after scoring 24 on Monday against the Aztecs while Sandra Garcia has a team-leading 8.2 rebounds per night.  Wake Forest forces 22.8 turnovers per game but shoots just 37.4% from the field.

Valpo vs. the ACC: Valparaiso is 2-2 all-time against teams currently in the Atlantic Coast Conference following a victory over Florida State last year.  The Crusaders have won two of their last three against the conference, having downed Wake Forest in 2001 as well.  Valpo’s two losses came against Miami (Fla.) and Virginia Tech.

Varner League’s Player of the Week:
Ashley Varner had the best game of her Crusader career a week ago Monday at Cincinnati, scoring a career-high 23 points to lead the Brown and Gold, and for her efforts was named this week’s Horizon League Player of the Week.  The junior made five three-pointers, three more than she had made in any previous game during her three years at Valpo, and also grabbed seven rebounds, a team high. 

Richards Has Career Night on the Stat Sheet...: Laura Richards tallied career highs with eight points, seven rebounds, and five assists on Monday evening against Auburn in the first round of the Surf ‘n Slam.  The freshman point guard grabbed a huge loose ball rebound after Valpo had a desperation shot as the shot clock expired to keep the play alive and drew a foul, with her free throws giving Valpo its first lead of the game with eight minutes to play.

... and Also Does it on Defense: Not only did Laura Richards perform well on the offensive end of the floor, but played stellar defense throughout the 39 minutes she was on the floor.  The rookie hounded Auburn’s leading scorer, and one of the top shooters in the SEC, Alli Smalley, holding her to just 1-of-12 shooting for the game and just eight points.

Taking Care of the Basketball: Valpo had a season low six turnovers against Auburn, despite the tough defensive pressure by the Tigers.  One of the six miscues was a five-second violation trying to get the ball in bounds.  The Crusaders got back after the few turnovers though, and did not allow them to result in a single point for the game.

Lending a Helping Hand:
Valpo had 13 assists on its 18 baskets against the Tigers on Monday night.  Laura Richards dished out five helpers while Whitney Farris and Ashley Varner both registered three each.  With just six turnovers committed, Valpo had more than a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio for the game.

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 she has played in this year, posting a season-best 21 points against both SIU Edwardsville and Central Michigan.  Betsy Adams ranks sixth in the conference in scoring, averaging 13.9 points per night.  The sophomore guard had posted double figures in the seven of nine games this year.
Farris Has Season Scoring High:
Whitney Farris tallied double figures for the first time this season against Auburn, scoring 12 points to share team-high honors.  The senior also grabbed five rebounds and had three assists while blocking her first shot of the year.

Ho Hum, Another Day in Double Figures: Lauren Kenney has tallied double figures in scoring in all eight games she has played for the Crusaders this year.  Kenney’s string of double figure contests has reached 13 straight overall, dating back to last season.  The senior has posted 21 double figure contests in her 32 collegiate games at Valpo.

Block Party: Ashley Varner registered three more blocked shots against Auburn, matching a career high, on Monday night.  Her 12 blocks this year have already surpassed her entire total from 2008-2009 and are just two shy of her career total entering this year.  As a team, Valpo has already blocked 30 shots in just 10 games, two-thirds of the team’s total from all of 2008-2009.  Last year the Crusaders finished with just 45 blocks in 30 contests.

Freshmen Duo Among Assist/Turnover Leaders:
Valpo’s freshman point guards Skyler Gick and Laura Richards rank third and fourth in the Horizon League in assist-to-turnover ratio.  Gick has dished out 31 assists while turning the ball over just 16 times for a 1.9 assist-to-turnover mark while Richards has 21 assists and just 12 turnovers for a 1.8 ratio.

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.