Valparaiso (2-7, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #10: Sunday, December 18, 2011, 12 p.m. CST
at Ball State (5-5, 0-0 MAC)
John E. Worthen Arena (11,500) - Muncie, Ind.
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: After taking eight days off for final exams, Valparaiso returns to the court on Sunday afternoon looking for its first road victory of the 2011-2012 season. The Crusaders will travel to Muncie, Ind. to battle instate foe Ball State in their second to last non-conference game of the season.
On the Air: Sunday’s game will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at valpoathletics.com. Chris Kleinhans-Schulz and Andrew Stem will call all of the action live from the John E. Worthen Arena. 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 278-233 (.544) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 407-280 (.592) 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 Ball State are meeting for the 16th time in a series that dates back to 1973. The Cardinals lead the all-time series 10-5 and have won each of the last two meetings between the two Hoosier State schools. Last season Ball State posted a 66-52 victory over the Crusaders at the ARC on Nov. 24 while also winning the last meeting in Muncie, 71-64, on Nov. 24, 2009. Ball State holds a slim 4-3 advantage all-time against the Crusaders in Muncie. Valpo’s last win in the series came on Dec. 1, 2007, a 64-55 triumph at the ARC.
Wrapping Up Pittsburgh: Valparaiso hung with the Panthers from the Big East most of the game last Saturday (Dec. 10), but a late 8-0 run pushed Pittsburgh to a 65-56 victory over the Crusaders in Pennsylvania. Valpo trailed by just two with under eight minutes to play, but were unable to overcome the late spurt by the Panthers. Tabitha Gerardot led Valpo with 13 points and eight rebounds while Ashley Varner added 11 points and seven boards. Jessica Carr also scored a career-high 10 points for the Brown and Gold. Marquel Davis led Pitt with 17 points while Kyra Dunn added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Scouting Ball State: The Cardinals have won five of their last seven games overall following a 59-55 victory over Austin Peay last Sunday afternoon. Ball State is 4-2 at home this season and will be playing on their home floor for the fourth time in five games during the month of December. Jazmin Hitchens leads the way for Ball State offensively averaging 12.1 points per game while Brittany Carter adds 10.6 points per contest. Katie Murphy is the team’s top rebounder at 5.4 boards per night. As a team the Cardinals are shooting 39.4% from the floor and averaging 61.5 points per game.
Carr Registers Career Night at Pittsburgh: Jessica Carr continues to make more and more of an impact for the Crusaders each night during her rookie season. The freshman guard registered her first collegiate double figure scoring game last Saturday at Pittsburgh, scoring 10 points, and also pulled down a career-best four rebounds. Carr made a pair of three-pointers in the loss to the Panthers and also dished out a pair of assists.
Gerardot Continues Double Figure Scoring Streak: Tabitha Gerardot registered her fifth straight double figure scoring game, scoring a team-high 13 points at Pittsburgh. The sophomore leads the Crusaders averaging 11.4 points per contest on the year, 18th in the Horizon League, and is averaging 14.4 points per game over the last five outings.
Getting to the Glass as Well: Tabitha Gerardot has also crashed the boards over the last five games, pulling down at least seven boards in each of the five games. She has tallied 10 rebounds in a game three times and led Valpo at Pittsburgh grabbing eight caroms. Gerardot now ranks 10th in the Horizon League in rebounding at 7.2 per game.
Varner Continues to Crash the Boards: Ashley Varner pulled down seven more rebounds on Saturday at Pittsburgh and has now grabbed at least seven boards in all nine games this season. The fifth-year senior recorded a new career high with 12 rebounds on Dec. 6 against IPFW, her fourth straight game of double-figure boards, a string that was snapped against the Panthers last weekend. Varner ranks sixth in the Horizon League averaging 9.1 rebounds per outing.
Double Trouble: Valparaiso players have recorded five double-doubles already this season Tabitha Gerardot registered her third of the season, and 12th of her career (which includes just 40 total games), against IPFW on Dec. 6, the same game that Ashley Varner tallied her second career double-double, and first since 2009. Mallory Ladd also recorded one earlier this year before leaving the program.
Playing Defense: Valpo leads the Horizon League in scoring defense this season, allowing just 57.2 points per contest. The Crusaders have allowed one opponent to score more than 70 points against them (Montana State, 71) and had held three straight opponents to under 50 points before Pittsburgh scored 65 last weekend.
Second Chances: Valparaiso ranks third in the Horizon League this season averaging 13.6 offensive rebounds per contest. Tabitha Gerardot is second in the conference pulling down 3.6 offensive boards per night. Valpo has converted the offensive rebounds into 10.4 second chance points per game.
Richards on Career Assists Chart: Laura Richards has moved into 18th place all-time at Valpo with 204 assists, passing Amy Cole (1987-1991) and Heidi Diefenthaler (1992-1996). She is four helpers behind Lynda Kukla (1988-1992) for 17th on the career charts.
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 120 total fouls in nine games, an average of 13.3 per contest, the 16th fewest in the country.
Who’s in the Lineup Tonight?: Due to injuries and illnesses this season, only four Crusaders have appeared in all nine 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 nine games as well.
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 Kathryn 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.
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.).
This and That: Ball State marks Valpo’s final road non-conference game of the season ... Tabitha Gerardot made a three-pointer on Saturday at Pittsburgh, giving every Crusader that has played in more than one game this season at least one made triple ... freshman Jessica Carr leads Valpo averaging 3.0 assists per game.