Crusader Women Return to the Road Thursday in Cleveland
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Crusader Women Return to the Road Thursday in Cleveland
Rashida Ray and the Crusaders got defensive last Saturday against Detroit. (Ray Acevedo)

Valparaiso (6-17, 3-8 Horizon)
Game #24: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 6 p.m. CST
at Cleveland State (12-10, 5-6 Horizon)
Wolstein Center (8,500) - Cleveland, Ohio

Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso looks to carry the momentum from last weekend’s back-to-back victories on to the road Thursday evening as the Crusaders head to Ohio to battle Cleveland State.  The Brown and Gold will look for its first three-game winning streak since opening the 2009-2010 season with three straight victories.

On the Air: Thursday’s game will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) as well as online at  Keaton Gillogly and Nick Garling will be calling all of the action live from the Wolstein Center.  In addition, the game can 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 275-219 (.558) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold.  In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 404-266 (.603) 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 Cleveland State are meeting for the 20th time in a series that dates back to Jan. 13, 1989.  The Crusaders lead the all-time series with the Vikings 12-7, but Cleveland State has won five of the last seven meetings between the two schools, including three straight contests.  Valpo holds an 8-1 series advantage in Cleveland though, having suffered its only Buckeye State loss last season, 71-68.  Valpo’s last win against the Vikings came March 5, 2009, a 70-52 triumph at the Wolstein Center.  Earlier this season, Cleveland State earned a 68-58 victory over the Crusaders at the ARC on Jan. 15.

Wrapping Up Detroit: Valpo’s defense held the Titans without a field goal for more than 11 minutes on Saturday afternoon, and utilized a 16-0 second half run to rally from a three point halftime deficit to beat Detroit 57-46 at the ARC.  Detroit shot just 23.1% from the floor for the game, and made only 4-of-29 three-point attempts as Valpo held the Titans to just 18 second half points.  Tabitha Gerardot led the Crusaders with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Dominique Dixon led the Titans with 12 points.

Scouting Cleveland State: The Vikings have dropped two straight games and three of their last four overall following a 73-64 loss at Milwaukee last Saturday.  Cleveland State has four players averaging in double figures, led by Shawnita Garland, who scores 14.4 points per contest.  Shalonda Winton adds 12.7 points and a team-high 9.4 rebounds while Janelle Adams and Destinee Blue add 11.1 and 10.1 points per game respectively.  The Vikings shoot 41.8% from the floor but just 29.6% from three-point range and commit 19 turnovers per night. 

Earlier This Season vs. CSU: Valpo took a seven point lead into the locker room, but the Vikings responded with a late 12-0 run that happened to be the difference as Cleveland State defeated the Crusaders 68-58 on Jan. 15 at the ARC.  The Crusaders committed 21 turnovers to offset 41.5% shooting while the Vikings connected on 56% from the floor in the second half.  Betsy Adams led Valpo with 14 points while Gina Lange added 12 more.  Janelle Adams led Cleveland State with 15 points while Destinee Blue scored 13 more for the Vikings.

Change in Game Times: Valparaiso’s game on Saturday at Youngstown State has been moved back to a 3:35 p.m. CST start due at the Beegley Center.  The move is due to a memorial service that morning on the YSU campus in memory of a student killed on Saturday at an off campus residence.  The Crusaders have also announced that the Feb. 19 game versus UIC will begin at 11:05 a.m. 

It’s Been Awhile: Valpo’s back-to-back victories over Wright State and  Detroit last weekend marked the first two-game winning streak the Crusaders have had since winning three straight to open last season.  The Crusaders downed Indiana Tech, SIU Edwardsville, and Colorado State in succession from Nov. 14-22, 2009.  The weekend sweep in conference play marked the first time that Valpo had won both games of a league weekend since Jan. 15 and 17, 2009  when the Crusaders downed UIC and Loyola.

Playing Defense: The Crusaders allowed Detroit to score just 46 points on Saturday afternoon, the fewest the Brown and Gold have surrendered in a game this season.  The Titans scored just 18 points after intermission, matching the lowest scoring half by a Valpo opponent this year.  The Crusaders had surrendered 18 points in a half two other times this year.

More Defense: While keeping Detroit to the 46 points, the Crusaders allowed the Titans to shoot just 23.1% from the floor for the game, including a 15.6% clip in the second half.  Detroit made just 4-of-29 (13.8%) three-point attempts as well.  It was nearly one year since an opponent shot as poorly as 23% from the floor, when Youngstown State connected on just 16.7% of its field goal attempts on Feb. 13, 2010.

Gerardot Adds to Double-Double Total: Tabitha Gerardot tallied her sixth double-double of her freshman season on Saturday afternoon, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the victory over Detroit.  Gerardot already has double-doubles against Cincinnati, Evansville, Coastal Carolina, Chicago State, and Eastern Illinois this year, and is second on the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game, while leading the Crusaders with 7.1 rebounds per contest.

A Little of Everything: Skyler Gick was all over the court for the Crusaders in the win over the Titans last Saturday.  The sophomore guard matched her season high with eight points, making 3-of-6 shots from the floor.  She also tied her season high with three steals while playing a season high 29 minutes.  In addition, Gick handed out six assists, one off of her career high, set in the season opener this year at DePaul.

Coming From Behind: Valpo victory over Detroit on Saturday was the first time this year the Crusaders had rallied from a halftime deficit to win.  The Brown and Gold had lost 14 games this year in which the team was behind at the break.  The last time the Crusaders rallied from behind at half to win was Jan. 14, 2010 at Youngstown State.

From Deep: Betsy Adams and Ashley Timmerman rank as two of the top four Horizon League outside shooters this season.  Adams, a 38.6% shooter from three-point range, is third in the conference while Timmerman connects at 37.9% from beyond the arc, fourth best in the league.  Adams is also second in the conference making 2.6 triples per game, ranking 47th in the country.

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 35 of her last 37 attempts beginning with the Lamar game on Nov. 20, including her last 23 straight.  For the season Adams is connecting on 88.6% from the free throw line.

Timmerman is Automatic: Ashley Timmerman has continued her perfection from the charity stripe on the season after making both free throws she attempted against Wright State.  The junior college transfer is now a perfect 21-for-21 in her Crusader career, including a game earlier this season against Coastal Carolina in which she made all eight free throws she attempted.  Timmerman was an 83% free throw shooter last year at Parkland College.

Adams Moves Into Ninth: Betsy Adams has moved into ninth place in school history for three-pointers made.  She now has 137 career triples, passing Kathryn Knoester (2000-2004).  Next up on the list in eighth place is Heidi Diefenthaler (1992-1996) with 140, just three ahead of Adams.  Betsy Adams has already made 59 threes this season, five shy of her 64 last year which ranks 10th on the single season charts.  The junior guard has made at least one trey in 21 of the 23 contests this season, being shutout against just Cincinnati and Notre Dame, when she attempted just one shot in each game.

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.

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.

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 is shooting 78.1% from the free throw line in Horizon League play, second best among conference foes ... Skyler Gick has six assists in each of her last two games ... Rashida Ray is averaging 9.7 points per game over the past three contests ... Betsy Adams is five points shy of 700 for her career ... opponents shot just 17.5% (10-for-57) from three-point range against Valpo last weekend and 28.7% from the floor overall.