Valpo Returns from Finals to Host Chicago State
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Valpo Returns from Finals to Host Chicago State
Skyler Gick had six assists her last time out. (Ray Acevedo)

Valparaiso (2-7, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #10: Saturday, December 18, 1:35 p.m. CST
vs. Chicago State (3-6, 0-0 GWC)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.

Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: After a week off for final exams, Valparaiso returns to the hardwood on Saturday afternoon to host Chicago State at the Athletics-Recreation Center.  The Crusaders are in the midst of a three-game homestand which will conclude on Monday night against #17/16 Notre Dame.

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 Mike Targonski 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 271-209 (.565) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold.  In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 400-256 (.610) 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 Chicago State will be meeting on Saturday for the 40th time in a series which dates back to Jan. 21, 1988.  The Crusaders hold a 34-5 all-time advantage in meetings between the two schools, and are a perfect 19-0 against the Cougars at home in the ARC.  Last year Chicago State snapped a three-game losing skid against the Crusaders, downing Valpo 62-54 in Chicago.  The Crusaders have met the Cougars more than any other program in school history.

Wrapping Up Pittsburgh: The Panthers jumped on top from the opening tip and Valpo could never recover last Saturday, falling to Pittsburgh 86-51 at the ARC.  Tabitha Gerardot was the only Crusader to score in double figures, leading the way with 15 points, while Skyler Gick dished out six assists.  Leeza Burdgess led five Panthers scoring in double figures, tallying 16 points off of the bench.  She also had 11 rebounds for a double-double while Chelsea Cole also had a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards.  Pitt outrebounded Valpo 58-28 for the game.

Scouting Chicago State: The Cougars have dropped two straight games following a 71-61 setback at Loyola (Chicago) last Saturday afternoon.  Tressa Beckel leads Chicago State averaging 18.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest while Courtney Waldon adds 14.9 points per game.  Janay Dockery, a 48.1% shooter from the floor, also scores 12.4 points per night.  As a team Chicago State is shooting 39.8% from the floor and committing 18.6 turnovers per contest.  The Cougars are just 1-5 this season away from home and are wrapping up a three-game road trip in Valpo on Saturday.

Only a Freshman?: Tabitha Gerardot has not played like a freshman with her production this season.  Having started all nine games this year, the rookie is averaging 10.6 points and a team-leading 7.3 rebounds per game for the Crusaders, while also leading the team with seven blocked shots.  Gerardot led Valpo with 15 points against Pittsburgh and also led the Brown and Gold in scoring against Cincinnati this year.  She has now scored in double figures in five straight games, including three in which she registered double-doubles.

Gick Dishes the Rock:
After just nine games this season, Skyler Gick is already nearly 60% of the way to her assist total from last year’s freshman campaign.  The sophomore has 34 helpers already this season, ranking fourth in the Horizon League averaging 3.4 per contest.  Her 1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio is also fifth best in the conference. 

Who’s Leading the Way Today?: Over the last three games, Valpo has had three different players lead the Crusaders in scoring.  Betsy Adams, who led the Crusaders in six of the first seven games of the season, began the string on Dec. 4 with her 15-point effort in the win over Coastal Carolina.  Ashley Timmerman then added a team-high 19 points at IPFW before Tabitha Gerardot had her team-best 15 points against Pittsburgh.

Accepting Charity: After making just four of her first seven free throws this season, Betsy Adams has found her stroke at the charity stripe.  The junior guard has made 16 of her last 18 attempts beginning with the Lamar game on Nov. 20.  For the season Adams is connecting on 80% from the free throw line, the 10th best mark in the Horizon League.

More Free Throws: Ashley Timmerman has been just as proficient this year from the free throw line, making all 11 of her attempts this season.  She does not have enough attempts to qualify for the Horizon League leaders though.

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.

Raining Threes:
Valparaiso ranks second the Horizon League shooting 33.7% from three-point range while making 7.1 triples per contest.  All 11 Crusaders that have seen the floor this season have already attempted at least two three-point field goal with nine of the 11 players have drained at least one shot from beyond the arc.

A Long Homestand: While playing three straight games at the ARC may not seem like a long homestand for some, for the Crusaders it is.  Besides a four-game homestand Jan. 27-Feb. 5, this is the only other time Valpo will play three straight games on its home court, concluding Monday against Notre Dame.

Needing the Lead Early: Thus far this season the Crusader have not been able to overcome a halftime tie or deficit to pull out a victory.  On the other hand, when Valpo has led going into the locker room, the Brown and Gold is a perfect 2-0. 

Still Able to Rally for the Win Though: Despite needing the lead at halftime to win so far this year, the Crusaders showed they were able to come from behind in both contests.  While Valpo led the entire second half against Austin Peay after trailing early in the game, the Brown and Gold came from nine points down with less than 12 minutes to play to post the overtime triumph against Coastal Carolina.

Super Woman:
Betsy Adams never stepped off of the court on Dec. 8 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.

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.

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 nine games this season ... Betsy Adams has now surpassed the 500-point mark for her career, and now has 504 ... Rashida Ray had her career-high with three assists last season against Chicago State.