Valparaiso (0-1, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #2: Sunday, November 20, 2011, 12:05 p.m. CST
vs. Rice (2-2, 0-0 C-USA)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: After an eight-day layoff, Valparaiso returns to the hardwood on Sunday afternoon for the 2011-2012 home opener at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Crusaders will entertain Conference USA foe Rice in the first of five home games over their next seven contests. Tip time is slated for 12:05 p.m.
On the Air: Sunday’s game will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) as well as online at valpoathletics.com. Mike Targonski and Renee’ Turpa will be calling all of the action live from the Athletics-Recreation Center. In addition, the game can be seen live online through valpoathletics.com as part of the Horizon League Network. 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 276-227 (.549) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 405-274 (.596) 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 Rice are meeting on the hardwood for the first time. The Crusaders have played just two current members of Conference USA, dropping both decisions. Valpo fell to Alabama-Birmingham 84-53 back in 1989 as part of the Indiana Tournament before dropping a 61-53 contest to Houston on March 20, 2002 in the quarterfinals of the WNIT at the ARC.
Wrapping Up SIU Edwardsville: Mallory Ladd hit a three-pointer at the buzzer of regulation to force overtime, but the Crusaders still came up short in the extra session, dropping a 67-64 decision to the Cougars on Nov. 12 in the season opener held in Edwardsville, Ill. Shaquira Scott led all scorers with 18 points in her collegiate debut while Ladd added 14 points and Gina Lange chipped in 13 points. Lange also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. The Crusaders shot 45.7% from the floor, but 25 turnovers led to 28 SIU Edwardsville points. Melia Duncan led the Cougars with 16 points.
Scouting Rice: The Owls enter the contest having won two straight following a 77-50 victory at Chicago State on Friday evening. Jessica Kuster leads the Owls averaging 22.3 points and 15.5 rebounds per contest. She has already registered three double-doubles on the season, including a 29-point, 16-rebound effort on Friday evening against the Cougars.
Crusaders in Home Openers: The Crusaders had their string of five straight home-opening victories snapped last season as Valpo fell to Ball State 66-52 in the home debut. The Crusaders have won eight of their last 10 home openers overall though and are 12-5 in home openers under coach Keith Freeman.
Making Her Mark Early: Mallory Ladd’s first collegiate three-pointer was a big one for the Crusaders. The freshman just beat the buzzer at the end of regulation to force overtime last Saturday at SIU Edwardsville. Ladd scored 14 points in her collegiate debut, making 4-of-8 shots from the floor and all five of her free throw attempts.
Lange Posts Career High: Gina Lange had a solid season-opener for the Crusaders against SIUE. The junior poured in a career-high 13 points, making 5-of-8 from the floor, in 41 minutes of action. Lange also shared game-high honors with nine rebounds against the Cougars.
Welcome Back Ashley: Ashley Varner returned to the hardwood for her fifth season with the Brown and Gold against SIU Edwardsville. She missed all of last season with an ACL injury. In her first game since March 8, 2010, Varner played 29 minutes and scored seven points while pulling down eight rebounds.
Scott Has Impressive Debut: Shaquira Scott made the most of her collegiate debut last Saturday against SIU Edwardsville. The freshman scored 18 points, making 7-of-14 shots from the floor and grabbed six rebounds. She came off of the bench and played 38 minutes in the opener.
Crashing the Glass: Valpo scooped up more than 60% of the missed shots in the season opener at SIU Edwardsville. The Crusaders outrebounded the Cougars 43-26, including a 10-8 advantage on the offensive glass. Valpo used those 10 offensive rebounds to score 14 second chance points in the game.
Need to Cut Down on Turnovers: While Valpo seemed to have an advantage in every statistical category in the season opener, the one glaring deficiency seemed to be turnovers. The Crusaders committed 25 miscues in the game, leading to 28 Cougar points, while forcing SIU Edwardsville into just 12 turnovers for the game. The result ended up being a three-point loss to the Cougars in overtime.
A Short Bench: Valpo had just nine healthy bodies for the opener against SIU Edwardsville. Jessica Carr, 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. Betsy Adams made her season debut, playing just 16 minutes, after missing all of the preseason with an injury as well.
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.
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.
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 enters play 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: Three Crusaders played 38 or more minutes in the season opener, led by Gina Lange’s 41 ... Laura Richards saw the floor for 40 minutes while Shaquira Scott played 38 ... Valpo shot 80% (20-of-25) from the free throw line against SIU Edwardsville ... the Crusaders have yet to lead this season, but tied the game on eight different occasions against the Cougars ... Valpo trailed by eight with just over three minutes to play against SIUE before forcing overtime.