Valparaiso (0-4, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #5: Saturday, November 26, 2011, 6 p.m. CST
vs. Montana State (3-2, 0-0 Big Sky)
Coors Events Center (11,064) - Boulder, Colo.
Omni Hotels Classic Consolation Game
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: With less than 24 hours between games, Valparaiso returns to the hardwood on Saturday evening for the consolation game of the Omni Hotels Classic in Boulder, Colo. The Crusaders will face Montana State beginning at 6 p.m. CST.
On the Air: Saturday’s game will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at valpoathletics.com. Chris Kleinhans-Schulz will call all of the action live from the Coors Events Center. 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 276-230 (.545) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 405-277 (.594) 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 Montana State are meeting on the hardwood for the first time ever. The Crusaders are 2-0 all-time against teams currently in the Big Sky. Valpo defeated Northern Arizona 101-79 in Flagstaff, Ariz. on Dec. 30, 1992 and also downed the Lumberjacks 62-56 at the ARC on Nov. 17, 2006. Northern Arizona is the only Big Sky team the Crusaders have ever played.
Wrapping Up Colorado: The Buffaloes went on a 21-0 run spanning the two halves and held the Crusaders scoreless for 10:30 on the way to a 60-32 victory over Valpo on Friday night in the opening round of the Omni Hotels Classic in Boulder, Colo. Ashley Varner paced the Crusaders with 10 points and seven rebounds in just 24 minutes of action while Shaquira Scott added nine points. Colorado limited Valpo to just 25.5% shooting from the floor for the night, including a 21.7% effort in the opening half. Chucky Jeffery led the Buffaloes with 14 points and nine rebounds and Colorado forced 21 Valpo turnovers and turned them into 34 points.
Scouting Montana State: The Bobcats had their two-game winning streak snapped on Friday night in the opening round of the Omni Hotels Classic, falling 71-61 to Wisconsin. Rachel Semansky leads Montana State averaging 19.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Katie Bussey adds 18.8 points per night while Ashley Albert is also scoring in double figures with 12.5 points per contest. Albert scored 20 points and had a team-high eight rebounds against the Badgers in the opening game of the tournament. As a team Montana State is shooting 43.8% from the floor on the year and forcing 18.8 turnovers per contest. The Bobcats were picked to finish fourth in the Big Sky Conference this season.
It’s Tournament Time: Valpo is playing in an in-season tournament for the fifth straight season. Last year the Crusaders participated in the season-opening Preseason WNIT, posting a 1-2 record, while splitting a pair of games in December at the Aces Classic hosted by Evansville. Valpo has not won a tournament since the 2008 Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational.
Varner Tallies Double Figures for Second Time This Season: Ashley Varner led the Crusaders on Friday night against Colorado, scoring 10 points. It marked her second double figure scoring game of the season, as the fifth-year senior tallied a season-high 12 points last Sunday against Rice. Varner drained a pair of three-pointers against the Buffaloes, and enters Saturday’s game second on the team averaging 9.5 points per contest. She has scored at least seven points in each game this season.
Scott Scores on the Road: Freshman Shaquira Scott led Valpo in the season opener with 18 points at SIU Edwardsville. In the last two home games, the rookie tallied just five points total, but found the cylinder again on Friday at Colorado. Scott scored nine points, one off of the team lead, and drained her first three-pointer of her collegiate career against the Buffaloes.
A Model of Consistency: Tabitha Gerardot has produced the nearly the same results offensively in all four games this season. The sophomore forward tallied eight points in each of the first three contests for the Crusaders, and came up just one point shy of that figure on Friday against Colorado. She has been nearly flawless at the free throw line on the year, shooting 90% from the charity stripe.
Posts Accepting Charity: Valparaiso’s three-post rotation of Mallory Ladd, Tabitha Gerardot, and Gina Lange have all made the opponents pay for fouling the trio this season. The three players are a combined 23-for-26 (88.5%) from the charity stripe on the year. Ladd is seventh in the Horizon League shooting 90.9% (10-of-11) while Gerardot is at 90% (9-of-10). Lange has missed just one try as well, making four-of-five from the stripe.
More Than Just Dishing the Rock: Laura Richards leads the Crusaders with 12 assists on the season (3.0 per game) as a point guard. The 5-9 junior has a 1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio, one of the top marks in the Horizon League, having coughed up the basketball just nine times in four games. Richards proved she can do more than just pass on Friday at Colorado, pulling down five rebounds from the glass, the second highest total by a Crusader in the game.
Carr Breaks Through: Jessica Carr finally found the scoring column for the first time in her collegiate career on Friday against the Buffaloes. The freshman guard scored five points, including a triple, while playing a season-high 19 minutes for the Brown and Gold.
Adams Seventh All-Time: Betsy Adams is 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.
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.).
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: Liz Horton played a career-high 14 minutes at Colorado on Friday, grabbing a pair of rebounds ... the Crusaders made a season-high four three-point field goals against the Buffaloes ... Valpo has committed just 13.8 fouls per game on the season, including a season low 10 against Colorado ... Valpo played with three freshmen on the floor a great deal of the game against the Buffaloes.