Valpo Set to Face Austin Peay in WNIT Action
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Valpo Set to Face Austin Peay in WNIT Action
Stefanie Lang scored 10 points in her collegiate debut. (Ray Acevedo)

Valparaiso (0-1,0-0 Horizon)
Game #2: Friday, Nov. 19, 5 p.m. CST
vs. Austin Peay (0-2, 0-0 OVC)
Montagne Center (10,080) - Beaumont, Texas
Preseason WNIT Consolation Round

Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso returns to the hardwood in Preseason WNIT action on Friday evening as the Crusaders travel to Beaumont, Texas for consolation round action.  The Brown and Gold will take on Austin Peay on the campus of Lamar University.

On the Air:
Friday’s game will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) as well as online at  Chris Kleinhans-Schulz and Renee’ Turpa will be calling all of the action live from Montagne Center.  Live stats will be available through for the game as well.

Head Coach Keith Freeman:
In his 17th season on the Valparaiso bench, Keith Freeman has a 269-203 (.570) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold.  In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 398-250 (.614) career mark.  He is Valpo’s all-time winningest coach and has amassed more than half of the victories in the program’s history.

Series Notes: Valparaiso and Austin Peay are meeting for just the third time ever and the first time in 17 seasons.  The Crusaders have won both of the previous meetings between the two schools but they have never met on a neutral floor.  Valpo posted a 90-70 win in Clarksville, Tenn. on November 27, 1993 in the latest contest while earning an 81-69 win at the Athletics-Recreation Center on December 14, 1991.

Wrapping Up DePaul:
Valpo turned the ball over 31 times leading to 38 Blue Demon points last Friday evening as DePaul defeated the Crusaders 84-53 in Chicago in the opening round of the Preseason WNIT.  After falling behind 25-8 midway through the first half, the Crusaders rallied to cut the deficit to six before trailing by 12 at the break.  A late run by DePaul broke the game open though.  Betsy Adams led Valpo with 15 points and six rebounds, making 5-of-9 from three-point range, while Tabitha Gerardot and Stefanie Lang each added 10 points in their collegiate debuts.  Skyler Gick had seven assists.  Keisha Hampton led DePaul with 27 points, six rebounds and five steals.

Scouting Austin Peay: The Lady Govs have dropped their first two games of the season, including a 93-53 loss at Purdue in the opening round of the WNIT.  Austin Peay opened its home slate on Tuesday with a 74-60 setback to Middle Tennessee.  Whitney Hanley leads the Lady Govs averaging 13.5 points and 5.0 assists per game after scoring 18 points against Middle Tennessee.  Brooke Faulkner has added 11.0 points and Jasmine Rayner 10.0 points per game thus far for Austin Peay.  The Lady Govs are picked third in the Ohio Valley Conference this season after winning the OVC Tournament a year ago and earning a NCAA Tournament berth.

Valpo in the WNIT: The Crusaders have played in the Preseason WNIT just one other time in school history, losing at Colorado State 94-71 on Nov. 13, 1998.  In Valpo’s last appearance, the tournament was just a single elimination event whereas today the WNIT guarantees every school at least three games.  Valpo is still looking for its first win ever in the event.

About the WNIT: The Preseason WNIT features 16 schools from 16 different conferences with every game being played on campus sites.  Each school is guaranteed three games, with the Crusaders opening tournament play last Friday at DePaul.  The winner of the Valpo-Austin Peay game will face the winner of Friday’s second game in Beaumont, Texas between host Lamar and Utah Valley on Saturday afternoon.  The two losers will also face one another in the first game on Saturday.

Starting Freshmen Becoming a Trend: Tabitha Gerardot became the third freshman in four seasons to start her collegiate debut for the Brown and Gold.  She joined teammates Ashley Varner (2007) and Laura Richards (2009) as other Crusaders in recent years to start the first game of their freshman season.

Lange Breaks into Starting Lineup:
Gina Lange made her first collegiate start for the Crusaders in the opener at DePaul.  The sophomore appeared in just 16 games during her rookie season, playing a total of 130 minutes.  She saw 13 minutes of action in her first career start last Friday.

From Downtown: Betsy Adams drained five three-pointers in the first half on Friday evening on her way to a team-high 15 points.  Adams is the team’s active scoring leader with 396 career points, averaging 7.8 points per contest.  For her career the junior is shooting 35.0% from long range as well.

Making the Extra Pass:  Skyler Gick tallied a career-high seven assists against DePaul in the season opener in addition to scoring seven points.  Gick’s previous high was five helpers set three times during her rookie campaign.  The sophomore averaged just 1.7 assists per contest one year ago.

Miscues Haunt Crusaders:
Valpo committed 31 turnovers in the season opener against DePaul, leading to 38 Blue Demon points.  The 31 miscues were the most for a Crusader team since committing 33 against Ohio State on Nov. 21, 2000.

Freshmen Post Double Digits: A pair of freshmen poured in double figures in their collegiate debuts for the Brown and Gold.  Tabitha Gerardot made 5-of-7 shots from the floor against DePaul for a total of 10 points while Stefanie Lang also tallied 10 points against the Blue Demons, including a three-pointer.

Newcomers Account for Major Minutes:
Valparaiso’s newcomers saw action for 86 out of 200 minutes in the season opener, including 70 minutes from freshmen.  Tabitha Gerardot led the way playing 30 minutes, sharing team-high honors with Betsy Adams, while Stefanie Lang was on the floor for 22 minutes against DePaul.

Crusaders to Have Tri-Captains: Head coach Keith Freeman has announced that the Crusaders will have tri-captains for the 2010-2011 season.  Serving in that role are seniors Ashley Varner and Rashida Ray along with junior Betsy Adams.

No Relation Here: Despite having three Lang(e)’s on the roster, none of the three players are related to one another.  Gina Lange returns for her sophomore season after arriving from Wyoming, Minn. and averaging 1.9 points and 1.5 rebounds per game while appearing 16 times as a freshman last year.  Freshman Stefanie Lang is a local product from Valparaiso High School who earned Honorable Mention All-State accolades for the Vikings.  Erika Lang joined the Crusader roster this fall as a walk-on.  The freshman hails from Las Vegas, Nev.

Valpo Tabbed Ninth in Preseason Poll: Valparaiso was picked to finish in ninth place in the Horizon League preseason poll conducted of the league’s coaches, sports information directors, and media members.  Finishing with 82 points, the Crusaders were just two points behind eighth place Wright State.  Green Bay was picked to win the league followed by Butler and Detroit.  Cleveland State and UIC shared the fourth spot with Milwaukee predicted to finish sixth and Loyola seventh.   Youngstown State was picked last in this year’s preseason balloting. 

Varner to Miss Season with ACL Injury: Valpo senior Ashley Varner will miss the 2010-2011 season due to an ACL injury she suffered during the fall.  Varner would have been one the Crusaders’ top returning post players, but plans to use the season as a redshirt year now and return to the court for 2011-2012.  Varner averaged 7.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Crusaders last year with a team-leading 17 blocked shots.

Freeman Among Winningest Active Coaches: Keith Freeman entered the 2010-2011 season tied for 43rd 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 and holds every one of Valpo’s coaching records.  He is just two victories shy of reaching 400 for his career.

This and That: Junior Betsy Adams, who led Valpo with 15 points in the opener, led the Crusaders in scoring 10 times as a sophomore ... Adams also led the Crusaders for the first time in her career with six rebounds, sharing the honor with freshman Tabitha Gerardot ... the Crusaders currently lead the Horizon League shooting 43.8% from three-point range as a team.