Valpo Begins Final Weekend at Loyola (Chicago)
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Valpo Begins Final Weekend at Loyola (Chicago)
Rashida Ray is coming off of a season-high 10 points against Milwaukee. (Ray Acevedo)

Game #28: Mar. 4, 2010, 7 p.m. CST
Valparaiso (8-19, 5-11 Horizon)
at Loyola (Chicago) (14-13, 8-8 Horizon)
Gentile Center (5,200) - Chicago, Ill.

Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso begins its final road trip of the 2009-2010 regular season on Thursday evening when the Crusaders travel to the Windy City to battle Loyola (Chicago).  Valpo’s final two games of the regular season will have a large impact in the Crusaders’ seed in the Horizon League Championships, which begin on Monday.

On the Air:
Thursday’s game against Loyola will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at Keaton Gillogly and Nick Garling will call all the action from the Athletics-Recreation Center.  The game can also be viewed live online through the Horizon League Network.  Live stats will be available through as well.

Series Notes: Valparaiso and Loyola are meeting on the hardwood for the 17th time in a series which dates back to 1994.  The Crusaders are 15-1 all-time against the Ramblers, including 7-1 against Loyola in Chicago.  Valpo has won four straight meetings between the two schools, including a 48-39 triumph at the Athletics-Recreation Center back on January 4 of this year.  Loyola’s only win in the series came in Chicago, 64-60 on January 12, 2008.

Head Coach Keith Freeman:
In his 16th season on the Valparaiso bench, Keith Freeman has a 268-200 record at the helm of the Brown and Gold.  In his 22nd season overall, Freeman has a 397-247 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 Milwaukee: Valpo had five players score in double figures on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders earned a 70-58 victory over the Panthers on Senior Day.  Valpo shot 50% from the floor in the first half, and committed just nine turnovers while forcing 22 on the afternoon.  Raegan Moore led Valpo with 16 points and six rebounds while Ashley Varner added 13 points and seven boards.

Scouting Loyola: The Ramblers snapped a two-game losing skid with a 67-64 victory at crosstown rival UIC on Saturday.  Keisha Collins leads the Loyola attack, scoring 11.8 points and dishing out 4.7 assists per contest.  Maggie McCloskey adds 11.1 points per game, and is shooting 44.0% from three-point range.  Loyola is shooting 42.4% from the floor as a team, and is 8-4 at the Gentile Center this season.

The First Time Around: Valpo held Loyola to just 12 first half points on the way to a 48-39 victory over the Ramblers at the ARC on January 4.  Neither team shot 30% from the floor on the day (Loyola - 25.8%, Valpo - 28.0%), but the Ramblers committed just five total turnovers.  Betsy Adams led Valpo with 16 points while Kelly Watts pulled down 16 rebounds.  Monica Albano led Loyola with 11 points off of the bench.

In Search of a Home Tournament Game:
  While Valpo cannot finish any higher than seventh place this season, the Crusaders are still battling for a home first round Horizon League Championship game.  Valpo is tied with Milwaukee for eighth place and is just one-half game behind Wright State for seventh.  The seventh and eighth place teams will host seeds nine and 10 on Monday night to kickoff the tournament.

Continuing the Winning Ways at the ARC: With the victory over Milwaukee, Valparaiso is guaranteed of finishing at least .500 at home for the ninth consecutive season.  In fact, the Crusaders have had a winning record at the ARC for 19 of the last 20 years.

A Balanced Bench Attack: Valpo had five players score in double figures in the victory over Milwaukee for the first time this season.  Four of the five came off of the bench, led by 16 points from Raegan Moore and 13 more by Ashley Varner.  The Crusader bench accounted for 51 of Valpo’s 70 points in the contest.

Ray Has Season High: Rashida Ray contributed to the bench production on Saturday, scoring 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting against the Panthers.  Her season-high effort was just two points shy of her career best, as Ray scored 12 at Cincinnati in 2007.

Taking Care of the Basketball: Valpo committed just nine turnovers against Milwaukee, its second lowest total of the season.  The Brown and Gold had just six miscues in its near upset of Auburn back in December.

Moore Big in February: Including the final game of January (Jan. 30), Raegan Moore has averaged 10.8 points per game in February.  The freshman tallied three double figure efforts in the six games she played.

Who’s Starting Tonight?: Valpo has seen 10 of its 13 players draw at least two starting assignments on the season, with no one starting more than 25 of the 27 games this year for the Brown and Gold.  In fact, only Ashley Varner, Whitney Farris, and Laura Richards have seen action in all 27 games on the season.

Kenney Makes Shots: Lauren Kenney ranks third in the Horizon League shooting 54.7% from the floor this season.  Her shooting percentage currently ranks sixth on Valpo’s single season charts, behind Sarrah Stricklett’s fifth place mark of 56.3%.  Kenney’s 2008-2009 percentage of 54.4% is seventh on the all-time list as well. 

Farris Picks the Pocket: Whitney Farris notched a career-high six steals against Milwaukee in her final regular season game at the ARC.  The senior’s previous career best was three swipes, and she helped Valpo match a season high as a team with 15 steals.

Adams in Single Season Top-10: Betsy Adams has moved into 10th place on Valpo’s single season three-point list with 60 triples this season.  The sophomore guard has passed Michelle Russell (1993-1994) and is five treys behind Suzie Hammel (2001-2002) for ninth place on the single season list.

A Record-Setting Afternoon: Valparaiso held Youngstown State to a record-low for points allowed in a game, surrendering just 28 points against the Penguins on February 13.  Earlier this season, on January 4, Valpo matched what is now the seventh fewest points ever allowed by a Crusader team, 39, against Loyola (Chicago).

Nearly a Record Victory Margin as Well: The 52-point margin of victory against Youngstown State on February 13 was the second largest in school history.  On February 1, 1978 Valpo defeated Grace on the road by 54 points, 88-34.

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.

Horizon League Player of the Weeks: 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.  Ashley Varner then earned the honor on December 28 after scoring a career-high 23 points against Cincinnati. 

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.  Green Bay was selected to win the Horizon League title for the 12th consecutive season.

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.