Valpo Closes Homestand Hosting #17/16 Notre Dame Monday
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Valpo Closes Homestand Hosting #17/16 Notre Dame Monday
Rashida Ray had a career high three steals on Saturday against Chicago State. (Ray Acevedo)

Valparaiso (2-8, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #11: Monday, December 20, 7:05 p.m. CST
vs. #17/16 Notre Dame (8-3, 1-0 Big East)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.

Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso will wrap up its three-game homestand on Monday evening with its final game before the Christmas holiday when the Crusaders host #17/16 Notre Dame at the ARC.  Monday’s game is also Pack the House night, with the first 500 fans receiving a free Valpo beanie hat.

On the Air: Monday’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 271-210 (.563) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold.  In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 400-257 (.609) 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 Notre Dame are meeting for the 24th time in a series that dates back to Dec. 3, 1977.  The Fighting Irish have won all 23 of the previous meetings, including an 88-47 victory over the Crusaders on Dec. 12 of last season in South Bend.  The last time Notre Dame visited the ARC, on  Dec. 13, 2008, the Fighting Irish defeated Valpo 63-55.  This is the 12th straight season the two schools, separated by just 58 miles, have met on the hardwood.

Wrapping Up Chicago State: Valpo started the second half with a 19-6 run to build a 13-point lead with 14 minutes to play, but the Cougars fought back and scored the game’s final eight points to defeat the Crusaders 72-67 on Saturday afternoon at the ARC.  Chicago State took an early eight point lead only to have the Crusaders tie the game at 31 at intermission.  Tabitha Gerardot led Valpo with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Betsy Adams added 16 points for the Brown and Gold.  Tressa Beckel led Chicago State with 18 points and nine rebounds while Courtney Waldon added 16 points for the Cougars.

Scouting Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish have won three straight games following a 91-54 victory over Creighton on Saturday, Dec. 11.  Notre Dame’s three losses this season have all come to ranked foes, and the Fighting Irish are averaging 84.4 points per game.  Notre Dame is also outscoring teams by an average of 28 points per night and outrebounding opponents by seven per game.  Natalie Novosel leads Notre Dame averaging 15.2 points per game while Skylar Diggins adds 13.9 points and 4.5 assists per contest.  Eight different players are averaging at least six points per night for the Fighting Irish.  Notre Dame is forcing opponents into 26.8 turnovers per contest.

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 Valpo beanies will be give to the first 500 fans in attendance.

Valpo Versus Ranked Foes: Monday evening’s game against Notre Dame will mark the 28th time the Crusaders will have faced a ranked opponent in program history.  Valpo’s lone win against a ranked foe was on Dec. 10, 2008, a 71-60 triumph over #21/23 Purdue at the ARC.  This is the 12th time the Crusaders have faced the Fighting Irish when Notre Dame was ranked.  The highest ranked team Valpo has ever played was #3/3 Notre Dame on Nov. 30, 2004 at the ARC.

Playing the Irish Close at the ARC: Even though Valpo has never defeated the Fighting Irish, the Crusaders have battled Notre Dame tight the last four times the two schools have met in Valparaiso.  Dating back to 2002, every meeting at the ARC has been decided by 10 points or less, including a one-point, 60-59, Notre Dame win in 2006.  The average margin of the Notre Dame wins during the span is just 6.3 points at the ARC.

Closing Big East Play: When Valpo faces Notre Dame on Monday night, it will mark the final of four games the Crusaders will have played against Big East Conference foes this season.  The Brown and Gold have already played at DePaul while also hosting Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.  Valpo is looking for its first win ever against the conference.

Gerardot Registers Another Double-Double: Tabitha Gerardot tallied her fourth double-double of the season in just her 10th collegiate game on Saturday against Chicago State.  The freshman matched her career high with 17 points and added 10 rebounds against the Cougars while playing a season high 38 minutes.  The rookie is second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.2 points per game, while leading the Crusaders with 7.6 rebounds per contest.

Gick Dishes the Rock: After just 10 games this season, Skyler Gick is nearly two-thirds of the way to her assist total from last year’s freshman campaign.  The sophomore has 38 helpers already this season, ranking fourth in the Horizon League averaging 3.8 per contest.  Her 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio is also fifth best in the conference.

Filling the Stat Sheet: Laura Richards did a little of everything for the Crusaders Saturday against Chicago State.  The sophomore point guard scored a season high seven points, matched her career high with eight assists, and grabbed five rebounds in 29 minutes of action.  She also added a steal and had her first blocked shot of the year, while committing three turnovers, truly filling every category in the box score.

Adams From Deep: Betsy Adams drained four more three-pointers on Saturday against Chicago State and has already made 25 triples this season.  The junior guard has made at least one trey in nine of the 10 contests this season, being shutout against just Cincinnati, when she attempted just one shot.  Adams has 103 career three-pointers, just 16 triples shy of the all-time top-10 list in Crusader history.

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 18 of her last 20 attempts beginning with the Lamar game on Nov. 20.  For the season Adams is connecting on 81.5% 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.

Raining Threes: Valparaiso ranks second the Horizon League shooting 37.7% from three-point range while making 7.0 triples per contest.  All 11 Crusaders that have seen the floor this season have already attempted at least two three-point field goals with nine of the 11 players have drained at least two shots 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 game against Notre Dame concludes the only other stretch this season in which Valpo will play three straight games on its home court.

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.

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.

This and That: Valpo has used the same starting lineup in all 10 games this season ... Liz Horton scored three points against Chicago State after having two points total this season prior to the game ... Gina Lange and Rashida Ray both had career highs with three steals against Chicago State.