Valparaiso (3-7, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #11: Tuesday, December 20, 2011, 7:05 p.m. CST
vs. Eastern Illinois (7-2, 0-0 OVC)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso returns to the Athletics-Recreation Center for the final time in the 2011 calendar year on Tuesday evening as the Crusaders host Eastern Illinois. The Brown and Gold looks to carry momentum into the Christmas holiday after winning three of its last five games following a 67-53 win at Ball State on Sunday afternoon.
On the Air: Tuesday’s game will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at valpoathletics.com. Chris Kleinhans-Schulz and Renee’ Turpa 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 279-233 (.545) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 408-280 (.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 Eastern Illinois are meeting for the 12th time in a series that dates back to 1988. The Crusaders lead the all-time series 7-4 and have won each of the last three meetings between the two schools. Last season Valpo posted a 65-58 victory over the Panthers in Charleston, Ill. as the series between two former Mid-Continent Conference foes was renewed for the first time in 14 years. The Crusaders hold a 3-2 advantage over Eastern Illinois at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Panthers last win in the series came on March 4, 1995, 78-73 at the ARC in the Mid-Con Tournament.
Wrapping Up Ball State: Valparaiso overcame a four-point halftime deficit, holding the Cardinals to just 23.8% shooting from the floor in the second half on the way to a 67-53 victory on Sunday afternoon in Muncie, Ind. Five Crusaders scored in double figures, led by Ashley Varner’s double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds. Tabitha Gerardot added 16 points while Jessica Carr scored a career-high 12 points off of the bench. Gina Lange (11 points) and Ashley Timmerman (10 points) both tallied double figures as well. Jazmin Hitchens led Ball State with 14 points off of the bench.
Scouting Eastern Illinois: The Panthers have won back-to-back games following a 64-49 victory at IUPUI on Saturday. Eastern Illinois is averaging 77.1 points per game and its two losses this year have been by a total of six points. Ta’Kenya Nixon leads the Panthers scoring 17.4 points per game while Mariah King adds 13.6 points and a team-leading 7.8 boards per contest. Sydney Mitchell is the third Panther in double figures at 10.9 points per night. Eastern Illinois is shooting 43.7% from the floor this season.
Carr Tallies Back-to-Back Career Nights: It took Jessica Carr just six games into her freshman season before she registered her first collegiate double figure scoring game, doing so at Pittsburgh on Dec. 10 when she scored 10 points. The rookie followed that up this past Sunday with another career high, scoring 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting, including a pair of triples, in the victory over Ball State. Carr has either scored in double figures or handed out six or more assists in four of the last five games.
Gerardot Continues Double Figure Scoring Streak: Tabitha Gerardot registered her sixth straight double figure scoring game, tallying 16 points at Ball State. The sophomore leads the Crusaders averaging 11.9 points per contest on the year, 15th in the Horizon League, and is scoring 14.7 points per game over the last six outings.
Double Trouble: Ashley Varner registered her second double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds at Ball State. She also tallied a double-double with 18 points and 12 boards against IPFW on Dec. 6, and now has three total for her career. Valparaiso players have recorded six double-doubles this season as Tabitha Gerardot registered her third of the season, and 12th of her career against IPFW. Mallory Ladd also recorded one earlier this year before leaving the program.
Varner Continues to Crash the Boards: Ashley Varner pulled down 11 more rebounds on Sunday and has now grabbed at least seven boards in all 10 games this season. The fifth-year senior has had double-figure rebounding efforts in five of her last six games. Varner ranks sixth in the Horizon League averaging 9.3 rebounds per outing and sits 55th nationally in the same category.
Timmerman Fills the Cylinder: Ashley Timmerman entered Sunday’s game against the Cardinals having scored just seven total points in her previous seven games this season. The senior tallied a season-high 10 points at Ball State, making 3-of-5 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Playing Defense: Valpo leads the Horizon League in scoring defense this season, allowing just 56.8 points per contest, a mark that also ranks 80th among all NCAA Division I schools. The Crusaders have allowed just one opponent to score more than 70 points against them (Montana State, 71).
All You Need is Five: Valparaiso played the final 5:21 of the game at Ball State with just five eligible players. The Crusaders dressed seven to start the game but lost Shaquira Scott to an injury in the first half and saw Tabitha Gerardot foul out. Valpo still managed to pick up the road win, snapping an eight-game road losing streak dating back to last season.
Doing the Little Things: While Laura Richards did not score in the win at Ball State, she seemed to have a hand in everything that Valpo did. She tied her career high with eight assists, one year to the day after handing out eight helpers against Chicago State. She also matched a career high with five steals and tied a season high with five boards versus the Cardinals.
Richards on Career Assists Chart: Laura Richards has moved into 17th place all-time at Valpo with 212 assists, passing Lynda Kukla (1988-1992) on the career charts. She is 12 helpers behind Stephanie Greer (1987-1991) for 16th place on the career list and 16 assists behind Lina Mascarenas (1988-1992) and Betsy Rietema (2003-2007) for 14th place.
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 all season, committing just 133 total fouls in 10 games, an average of 13.3 per contest, the 13th fewest in the country.
Who’s in the Lineup Tonight?: Due to injuries and illnesses this season, only four Crusaders have appeared in all 10 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 10 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.
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: Valpo’s victory over Ball State marked the first time this season (in six tries) that the Crusaders rallied from a halftime deficit for a win ... Gina Lange scored 11 points against the Cardinals, the first time in five games she reached double figures ... Lange also handed out a career-high four assists ... Ashley Timmerman tied a career high with three assists against the Cardinals ... Laura Richards is second in the Horizon League, and 87th nationally, with a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio (31 assists and 19 turnovers in nine games) ... Valpo has four players averaging 30 or more minutes per game this season.