Crusader Women Close Non-Conference Action Thursday
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Crusader Women Close Non-Conference Action Thursday
Ashley Timmerman and Valpo look to close 2010 on a high note Thursday. (Ray Acevedo)

Valparaiso (2-9, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #12: Thursday, December 30, 7 p.m. CST
at Eastern Illinois (6-6, 3-1 OVC)
Lantz Arena (5,400) - Charleston, Ill.

Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: After a 10-day layoff for the Christmas holiday, Valparaiso returns to the hardwood on Thursday evening to close out non-conference action in Charleston, Ill. against Eastern Illinois.  The contest against the Panthers begins a season-long four-game road trip heading into the 2011 calendar year.

On the Air:
Thursday’s game will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) as well as online at  Keaton Gillogly and Renee’ Turpa will be calling all of the action live from Lantz Arena.  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 271-211 (.562) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold.  In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 400-258 (.608) 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 Eastern Illinois are renewing a series which began Jan. 26, 1988 in which the Crusaders hold a 6-4 advantage all-time against the Panthers.  The two schools have not met since Feb. 5, 1996 when Valpo posted a 76-67 win over the Panthers in Charleston, Ill.  The Crusaders have won two straight against Eastern Illinois and hold a 3-2 edge in games played in Charleston.  The two schools were both members of the Mid-Continent Conference for four seasons together, from 1992-1993 through the 1995-1996 campaign.

Wrapping Up Notre Dame: The #17/16 Fighting Irish used an early 18-2 run to open up a 20-4 lead eight minutes into the contest and never looked back, on the way to a 94-43 victory at the ARC on Dec. 20.  Valpo committed 26 turnovers, 24 on Notre Dame steals, which led to 41 points, including 18 fast break points.  The Fighting Irish also outscored the Crusaders 54-16 in the paint.  Stefanie Lang led Valpo with a career-high 11 points, making 5-of-7 from the floor.  Natalie Novosel led Notre Dame with 18 points while Natalie Achonwa and Brittany Mallory added 12 points each.

Scouting Eastern Illinois: The Panthers have won two of their last three games following a 75-69 Ohio Valley Conference win on the road at Jacksonville State on Dec. 21.  Eastern Illinois is 4-1 at home this season, and has won three straight at Lantz Arena.  Ta’Kenya Nixon leads the Panthers in scoring, averaging 14.4 points per contest while Mariah King adds 13.5 points per game, shooting 46.6% from the floor.  Chantelle Pressley leads Eastern Illinois on the boards, pulling down 6.8 rebounds per night to go along with her 9.8 points per game.  At 3-1 in the OVC, Eastern Illinois is currently second in the conference, just one-half game behind Tennessee Tech.

Lang Tallies Career High Against Notre Dame:
Stefanie Lang made the most of her 16 minutes of action for the Crusaders against Notre Dame the last time Valpo took the floor, scoring a career high 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor.  She led the Crusaders in scoring and was the only player to tally double figures against the #17/16 Fighting Irish.

Lang Proficient Against the Big East: Stefanie Lang, who is averaging 5.5 points per game this season, has scored over half of her points against the Big East.  She scored 32 points (8.0 per game) combined against DePaul, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame while tallying just 29 in the other seven contests this year.  Both of her double figure scoring effort have come against that conference as well, tallying 11 against Notre Dame and 10 against DePaul.

Big Crowd for Notre Dame:
Valpo’s crowd of 1,877 fans on “Pack the ARC” night against Notre Dame was the largest Crusader home crowd since the Brown and Gold hosted the Fighting Irish in 2008.  On Dec. 13, 2008, 2,046 fans saw the two schools separated by just 58 miles.

Lengthy Break for the Crusaders:
Having not played since the Notre Dame game on Dec. 20, the Crusaders will have had 10 days off before meeting Eastern Illinois on Thursday night.  It is Valpo’s longest span between games during the season since a 15-day break from Dec. 22, 2007 to Jan. 5, 2008.

Valpo vs. the OVC: Valpo is 10-7 all-time against the current members of the Ohio Valley Conference, including 1-0 this season.  The Crusaders have faced Eastern Illinois in 10 of the 17 games all-time, holding the 6-4 advantage.  Valpo is also 3-0 against Austin Peay, including a 72-57 win this year, 1-0 against SIU Edwardsville, 0-1 against Tennessee Tech, and 0-2 against Eastern Kentucky.

Gerardot Registers Another Double-Double: Tabitha Gerardot tallied her fourth double-double of the season in just her 10th collegiate game on Dec. 18 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 10.6 points per game, while leading the Crusaders with 7.0 rebounds per contest, the ninth best rebounding mark in the Horizon League.

Closing Out 2010:
Valpo closes out the 2010 calendar year on Thursday with the hopes of building momentum for 2011.  The Crusaders have posted just an 8-24 record to date during 2010, but with no seniors among Valpo’s top six scorers, the future looks promising for the Brown and Gold heading into 2011.

Filling the Stat Sheet:
Laura Richards did a little of everything for the Crusaders on Dec. 18 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.

Road Warriors: Valpo closes out 2010 and begins 2011 with its longest road trip of the season.  The Crusaders begin by wrapping up non-conference action at Eastern Illinois before heading to Butler on Sunday for the Horizon League opener.  Two more league games at Detroit and Wright State continue the journey for the Crusaders before returning home Jan. 13 to host Youngstown State.

Adams From Deep: Betsy Adams has already made 25 triples this season after making 64 last year to rank 10th on the single season charts.  The junior guard has made at least one trey in nine of the 11 contests this season, being shutout against just Cincinnati and Notre Dame, when she attempted just one shot in each game.  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 seventh 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 33.3% from three-point range while making 6.8 triples per contest.  Eleven of the 12 Crusaders that have seen the floor this season have already attempted at least two three-point field goals with nine having drained at least two shots from beyond the arc.

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 11 games this season ... Stephanie Thomas played a career-high 16 minutes, scoring three points and adding three boards against Notre Dame ... Erika Lang made her collegiate debut against the Fighting Irish ... Stefanie Lang became the fourth different Crusader to lead the team in scoring this season with her 11 points against Notre Dame.