Valparaiso (0-0, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #1: Saturday, November 12, 2011, 1 p.m. CST
at SIU Edwardsville (0-0, 0-0 OVC)
Vadalabene Center (4,000) - Edwardsville, Ill.
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso opens the 2011-2012 regular season on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders travel to Edwardsville, Ill. to battle SIU Edwardsville. Valpo is looking to carry the momentum from a pair of exhibition victories into the regular season.
On the Air: Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) as well as online at valpoathletics.com. Chris Kleinhans-Schulz and Renee’ Turpa will be calling all of the action live from the Vadalabene Center. In addition, the game can be seen live online through valpoathletics.com courtesy of SIUE TV. Live stats will be available through valpoathletics.com for all games this season as well.
Head Coach Keith Freeman: In his 18th season on the Valparaiso bench, Keith Freeman has a 276-226 (.550) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 405-273 (.597) 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 SIU Edwardsville are meeting for just the second time ever. The Crusaders won the first meeting on Nov. 18, 2009 at the Athletics-Recreation Center 64-55 against the Cougars. Valpo built an eight-point halftime lead and led by as many as 19 points in the second half. Lauren Kenney and Betsy Adams paced Valpo with 21 points each while Melia Duncan led the Cougars with 17 points.
A Look Back at 2010-2011: Valparaiso finished 7-24 overall last season and 4-14 in the Horizon League. The Crusaders finished in a tie for ninth place during the regular season and fell 57-50 to Detroit in the first round of the Horizon League tournament.
Wrapping Up Exhibition Play: The Crusaders won both of their exhibition games. Mallory Ladd scored 18 points and had 17 rebounds in a 77-27 win over Huntington on Nov. 1. Ashley Varner added 17 points for Valpo. On Nov. 5 the Brown and Gold downed Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) 65-62 behind 23 points and 19 boards from Ladd. Varner added 14 points and 10 rebounds while Gina Lange scored 10 points.
Scouting SIU Edwardsville: The Cougars finished 11-19 overall last year but posted an 8-7 mark at home. The Cougars return eight of their top nine scorers from one year ago. Jazmin Hill averaged 12.9 points and 2.9 assists per contest for SIU Edwardsville while Raven Berry tallied 11.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game one year ago. The Cougars were picked to finish eighth in the 11 member Ohio Valley Conference this season. SIU Edwardsville is competing in OVC play for the first time this season.
Crusaders in Openers: Valpo is 12-27 all-time in season openers, with results from the 1973-1974 season unknown. The Crusaders dropped their season opener last season, 84-53, at DePaul in the opening round of the Preseason WNIT, snapping a two-game season-opening winning streak. Valpo won the 2009-2010 opener over Indiana Tech 86-57. This marks the second straight season the Crusaders will open the year away from home, the first time since 2006 and 2007 when Valpo played at Northwestern and at Bowling Green that the Brown and Gold started two straight seasons on the road.
Valpo in the Preseason Polls: Valparaiso was tabbed to finish ninth in the Horizon League this season in the preseason coaches, media, and sports information directors poll. Green Bay was picked to win their 14th consecutive Horizon League regular season title.
Adams Named Preseason Second Team: Betsy Adams was named to the All-Horizon League Preseason Second Team in voting done by the league’s head coaches, media members, and sports information directors. Adams led Valpo in scoring with 12.6 points per game last season and finished fourth in the conference making 2.2 triples per contest. She was ninth in the Horizon League making 34.9% from three-point range on the year.
Gerardot Earned Postseason Honors Last Year: Tabitha Gerardot was named to the Horizon League’s All-Newcomer Team as a rookie last season. Gerardot had nine double-doubles as a freshman and averaged 10.7 points per game. Her 7.4 rebounds per contest led the Crusaders.
Ladd Has Big Exhibition Season: Mallory Ladd splashed onto the scene during exhibition play for the Crusaders, averaging 20.5 points and 18 rebounds per game. She opened with 18 points and 17 boards in just 20 minutes against Huntington and followed up that performance with a 23-point, 19-rebound effort against Saint Joseph’s (Ind.).
Lange Crashes the Boards in Preseason as Well: Besides Mallory Ladd’s rebounding effort in exhibition play, Gina Lange also pulled down plenty of missed shots. The junior had 12 boards in the opener and added eight more against Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) to average double figures in the preseason. Valpo outrebounded its two exhibition opponents by an average of 22.5 boards per contest.
Welcome Back Ashley: Ashley Varner returns to the hardwood for her fifth season with the Brown and Gold. She missed all of last season with an ACL injury and will see her first action since 2009-2010. During exhibition play, Varner averaged 15.5 points and seven rebounds while shooting 52.2% from the floor.
A Short Bench: Valpo had just nine healthy bodies for both exhibition games this season. Betsy Adams, Stefanie Lang, Ashley Timmerman, and Ieva Jansone all missed the games due to injury while Charae Richardson must sit out this season and will have two years of eligibility remaining starting next season.
Valpo Signs Three for 2012-2013: Coach Keith Freeman added three players for next year’s class that have signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Brown and Gold beginning next fall. Joining the Crusader roster in 2012-2013 are guards Abby Dean (5-10, Carmel, Ind./Carmel H.S.), Sarah Godwin (5-10, Yardley, Pa./Princeton Day H.S. [N.J.]), and Jessi Wiedemann (6-0, Palatine, Ill./Fremd H.S.).
Adams Seventh All-Time: Betsy Adams opens the season in seventh place all-time in school history for three-pointers made. She has 146 career triples, just ahead of Megan Newcomer (1996-2000). Next up on the list in sixth place is Jamie Gutowski (2002-2006) with 151, just five ahead of Adams. Adams is also sixth all-time with 423 career triple tries, 15 behind Katheryn Knoester (2000-2004) for a spot in the top-five on the attempts list.
Crusaders Have Co-Captains: Head coach Keith Freeman has announced that the Crusaders have co-captains for the 2011-2012 season. Serving in that role are fifth-year senior Ashley Varner along with senior Betsy Adams.
This and That: Betsy Adams is Valpo’s current active scoring leader with 771 career points ... Ashley Varner enters the season with a team-leading 316 rebounds ... Laura Richards has handed out 181 assists in her first two seasons at Valpo and needs just 16 more to move into the top-20 all-time ... the Crusaders will have eight days off following the season opener before retuning to the ARC for the home opener on Nov. 20 against Rice.