Valparaiso (1-6, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #8: Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 7:05 p.m. CST
vs. IPFW (4-4, 2-0 Summit)
Athletics-Recretation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso wraps up a three-game homestand on Tuesday evening as the Crusaders entertain instate foe IPFW. The Brown and Gold is looking to finish with a winning homestand and rebound from a narrow 41-39 loss to Lehigh on Saturday afternoon.
On the Air: Tuesday’s game will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at valpoathletics.com. Drew Taylor and Dave Caulfield will call all of the action live from the Athletics-Recreation Center. The game can also 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 277-232 (.544) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 406-279 (.593) 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 IPFW are meeting for the 14th time on Tuesday in a series that dates back to Feb. 16, 1977. The Crusaders hold an 8-5 all-time advantage between the two Hoosier State schools, but had their four-game winning streak against the Mastodons snapped last Dec. 8, 73-65 in Fort Wayne. Valpo is 5-1 against IPFW at the Athletics-Recreation Center, winning the last five games at home. The last time the Mastodons visited Valpo was a 69-52 Crusader victory on Jan. 12, 2006.
Wrapping Up Lehigh: Valparaiso had a chance to tie on the final possession of the game, but came up short on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders fell 41-39 to the Mountain Hawks at the ARC. The two teams combined to shoot just 30% from the floor and committed 44 turnovers in the contest. Tabitha Gerardot led all scorers with 12 points for the Crusaders while Ashley Varner pulled down 11 rebounds. Emily Gratch led the Mountain Hawks with 10 points off of the bench while Alexa Williams pulled down 13 boards. Valpo connected on just 1-of-16 attempts from three-point range for the game while making on just 28.1% from the floor overall.
Scouting IPFW: The Mastodons have won two straight and four of their last five games overall following an 82-76 overtime victory against UMKC at home on Saturday. IPFW has played its last five games at home, including a pair of conference contests that resulted in victories last weekend. Stephanie Rosado leads the Mastodons in scoring averaging 17.4 points per game. Anne Boese and Erin Murphy add 14.6 and 14.5 points per contest respectively. Hillary Moore is the team’s top rebounder at 5.6 boards per game. IPFW is scoring 65.9 points per night while allowing 69.9 on the season.
Varner Continues to Crash the Boards: Ashley Varner tied her career high with 11 rebounds on Saturday afternoon against Lehigh, her third straight game of double-figure boards. The fifth-year senior has grabbed at least seven rebounds in all seven games this season, and ranks fifth in the Horizon League averaging 9.0 rebounds per outing. Varner has led Valpo on the glass in each of the last four games.
Playing Defense: Valpo leads the Horizon League in scoring defense this season, allowing just 58.1 points per contest. The Crusaders have allowed just 88 total points over the last two games (44.0 per contest). Valparaiso surrendered just 41 points on Saturday in the loss to Lehigh, the second fewest points allowed in a game this season by a conference school.
More Defense: The 41 points surrendered in the loss to Lehigh on Saturday were the fewest points Valpo had given up in a setback since falling to Taylor 35-31 on Jan. 24, 1974.
Forcing Turnovers: The Crusaders forced Lehigh into 27 turnovers on Saturday afternoon. The 27 miscues were the most by a Valpo opponent since Colorado State turned the ball over 27 times at the ARC on Nov. 22, 2009.
A Bunch of Thieves: Three different Crusaders either matched or surpassed their season and/or career highs in steals on Saturday against the Mountain Hawks. Ashley Varner led the way with a career-best four thefts while Laura Richards and Tabitha Gerardot each recorded three steals. For Richards the three steals were a season high while Gerardot’s three steals marked a collegiate best.
Struggling From Long Range: Valpo is still looking to find its shooting touch from beyond the arc this season. The Crusaders went just 1-of-16 from three-point range against Lehigh last Saturday and are now connecting at just 18.6% (22-of-118) from distance for the year.
Not Much Contact Here: With such a short bench, fouls have become a premium this season for the Crusaders. Valpo has done a good job of staying out of foul trouble this season, committing just 91 total fouls in seven games, an average of 13 per contest, the 14th fewest in the country..
Who’s in the Lineup Tonight?: Due to injuries and illnesses this season, only four Crusaders have appeared in all seven games thus far this season. Gina Lange, Tabitha Gerardot, and Ashley Varner have started each contest, while Shaquira Scott has seen the floor in all seven games as well.
Ladd Leaves Valpo Program: Prior to Saturday’s game against Lehigh, Crusader head coach Keith Freeman announced that freshman forward Mallory Ladd had left the program to return home to Evansville, Ind. She averaged 10.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while playing 25.2 minutes per contest in six appearances with 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 Garners All-Tournament Team Accolades: Tabitha Gerardot was named to the Omni Hotels Classic All-Tournament Team following her efforts last weekend against Colorado and Montana State. The sophomore forward averaged 10 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest while shooting 57.1% (8-of-14) from the floor in Boulder, Colo.
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: Tabitha Gerardot tied a career high playing 38 minutes for the Crusaders against Lehigh ... Laura Richards matched a season-best with five rebounds against the Mountain Hawks ... Valpo has scored more than 55 points just twice this season ... following the game against the Mastodons, the Crusaders will play four of their next five games away from home, including two of the final three non-conference contests as well as the first two Horizon League tilts.