Crusader Women Set to Host Pitt Saturday
Friday, December 10, 2010
Crusader Women Set to Host Pitt Saturday
Gina Lange and the Crusaders will battle yet another Big East team on Saturday. (Ray Acevedo)

Valparaiso (2-6, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #9: Saturday, December 11, 1:35 p.m. CST
vs. Pittsburgh (4-4, 0-1 Big East)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.

Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso returns home to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Saturday afternoon to begin a three-game homestand leading into the Christmas holiday.  The Crusaders will host Pittsburgh, their third Big East opponent of the season before taking a week off for final exams.

On the Air: Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) as well as online at  Chris Kleinhans-Schulz and Nick Garling will be calling all of the action live from the Athletics-Recreation Center.  The game can also be seen live online through the Horizon League Network.  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 271-208 (.566) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold.  In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 400-255 (.611) 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 Pittsburgh will be meeting for just the second time ever on Saturday and it will be the first meeting at the ARC.  Last year the Panthers, ranked 15th in the country at the time, earned a 77-52 win over the Crusaders in Pittsburgh.  Betsy Adams led Valpo with 18 points, making six three-pointers, while Taneisha Harrison paced Pitt with 27 points, including 11-of-22 shooting from the floor.

Wrapping Up IPFW: Valpo fell behind by 20 points with seven minutes to play but rallied, and closed within four in the final minute before falling to the Mastodons 73-65 on Wednesday night in Fort Wayne, Ind.  Ashley Timmerman scored 17 of her 19 points in the second half, making 5-of-6 from three-point range while Tabitha Gerardot and Betsy Adams each added 13 points to pace Valpo.  Stephanie Rosado tallied 29 points and nine boards for IPFW.  Valpo turned the ball over 14 times in the first half while falling behind by 12 points at the break.

Scouting Pittsburgh:
The Panthers have alternated wins and losses all season and are still looking for their first victory away from the Petersen Events Center.  Pitt is coming off of a 67-51 setback against DePaul on Tuesday evening to open Big East Conference play.  Brittaney Thomas leads the team in scoring averaging 15.2 points per game, but has missed the last two contests.  Jania Sims adds 13.0 points per contest while Taneisha Harrison added 11.9 points per evening.  Chelsea Cole is pulling down 10.0 rebounds per game.  Pitt is shooting 43.5% from the floor.  Saturday’s game begins a stretch where the Panthers will play seven of their next eight games away from home.

Raining Threes: Valparaiso leads the Horizon League shooting 34.7% from three-point range while making 7.4 triples per contest.  The shooting prowess was shown in the second half at IPFW as the Brown and Gold connected on 8-of-11 triples (72.7%).  All 11 Crusaders that have seen the floor this season have already attempted at least one three-point field goal with nine of the 11 players have drained at least one shot from beyond the arc.

Timmerman on Fire: Ashley Timmerman found her stroke from long range Wednesday against the Mastodons, making 5-of-6 three-pointers, all in the second half.  The junior college transfer finished with a season-high 19 points, making 7-of-8 shots overall, while playing a season-high 30 minutes.  Timmerman ranks fourth in the Horizon League shooting 42.9% from three-point range and is eighth in the conference making 1.9 triples per contest.

Super Woman: Betsy Adams never stepped off of the court on Wednesday night against IPFW, playing all 40 minutes.  It was the first time in the junior’s career she had not spent at least one minute on the bench.  Adams’ career high for minutes played is 44 in an overtime contest one year ago at Detroit.

More Double Figures for Adams:
For the seventh time in eight games this season, Betsy Adams tallied double figures for the Crusaders at IPFW.  The junior has scored at least 13 points in all but one game this year and leads the Crusaders averaging 14.8 points per game.

Double-Doubles Becoming Regular Occurrence: Freshman Tabitha Gerardot recorded three double-doubles in a seven day span for the Crusaders.  She registered her first collegiate double-double versus Cincinnati, scoring 10 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.  She followed that effort up at Evansville with a career-high 17 points and a career-best 13 rebounds.  Against Coastal Carolina, she poured in 13 more points and 13 more boards.

Making Free Throws:
After struggling from the charity stripe to start the season, the Crusaders have been very proficient from the free throw line over the past two games.  Valpo has combined to connect on 33-of-39 (84.6%) from the stripe against Coastal Carolina and IPFW.  Ashley Timmerman made all eight of her free throw attempts in the overtime victory over Coastal Carolina, and is a perfect 11-for-11 from the charity stripe this season.

Adams Earns All-Tourney Honors: Betsy Adams was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Aces Classic.  She averaged 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for the Crusaders.

Pack the House Night Set for Dec. 20: Valparaiso will take part in the NCAA’s Pack the House initiative on Monday, Dec. 20 when the Crusaders host Notre Dame.  The premise for the event is for each participating institution  to select a game at which to attempt to better the previous year’s top attendance mark or set a new all-time attendance record.  Based on the final results nationwide, conference champions as well as an overall national champion will be selected by the NCAA.  Free winter hats will be give to the first 500 fans in attendance.

Freeman Earns Win #400: Head coach Keith Freeman needed five extra minutes on Dec. 4, but they were well worth it as the Crusaders’ come-from-behind win over Coastal Carolina, 59-52, gave him his 400th career victory coaching women’s basketball.  In his 23rd season on the sidelines, he 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.

Valpo Signs Three for 2011-2012:
Coach Keith Freeman added three players for next year’s class that signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Brown and Gold beginning next fall.  Joining the Crusader roster in 2011-2012 are Jessica Carr (5-7, G, Arcadia, Ind., Hamilton Heights H.S.), Mallory Ladd (6-0, F, Evansville, Ind./Memorial H.S.), and Shaquira Scott (5-10, G, Wilmette, Ill./Loyola Academy).

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.

This and That:
Valpo has used the same starting lineup in all eight games this season ... Stefanie Lang had a career-high three assists at IPFW ... Tabitha Gerardot is now averaging 10.0 points per game after four straight double figure efforts ... Betsy Adams’ next point will be the 500th of her career ... Valpo shot a team-best 47.8% from the floor at IPFW on Wednesday.