Valparaiso (4-7, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #12: Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 6 p.m. CST
at Wright State (7-5, 0-0 Horizon)
Wright State Nutter Center (11,019) - Dayton, Ohio
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: After winning three of its last four games prior to Christmas, Valparaiso looks to carry the momentum into Wednesday’s Horizon League opener as the Crusaders travel to Dayton, Ohio to battle the Wright State Raiders. Valpo is looking for its first three-game win streak since Nov. 14-22, 2009.
On the Air: Wednesday’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 Wright State Nutter 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 280-233 (.546) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 409-280 (.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 Wright State are meeting for the 19th time in a series that dates back to 1990. The Crusaders lead the all-time series 11-7 with the two schools splitting last year’s contests. Valpo won the most recent meeting, on Feb. 3, 73-64 at the ARC while the Raiders won 90-67 in Dayton on Jan. 8. The two teams are 3-3 against one another over their last six meetings. In Dayton the series is tied 4-4 with Valpo’s last win in the Buckeye State coming back on Jan. 27, 1994, 80-77.
Wrapping Up Eastern Illinois: Ashley Timmerman’s three-pointer with 29.6 seconds to play lifted the Crusaders to a 53-50 victory over the Panthers last Tuesday evening (Dec. 20) at the ARC. The Crusaders rallied from four points down with under 2:30 to play to record their second victory in a row. Ashley Varner led Valpo with 19 points and 12 rebounds for her second straight double-double while Tabitha Gerardot added 12 points. The Crusaders shot a season-high 50% from the floor, including 6-of-13 (46.2%) from three-point range. Sabina Oroszova led Eastern Illinois with 14 points.
Scouting Wright State: The Raiders had their two-game winning streak snapped last Tuesday (Dec. 20) with a 65-60 setback against Central Michigan at home in the final game of Wright State Invitational. Kim Demmings leads the Raiders averaging 15.3 points per game while Molly Fox adds 14.1 points and a team-high 9.9 rebounds per contest. Wright State is shooting 38.0% from the floor on the year while scoring 68.9 points per night. The Raiders are 5-1 at the Nutter Center this year and have 12 freshmen or sophomore among their roster of 14 players.
Horizon League Openers: Valpo is 2-2 in Horizon League openers since joining the conference for the 2007-2008 season. The Crusaders downed Butler and Youngstown State at home to start conference play the first two years in the league but have fallen at home to UIC and at Butler the last two seasons.
Hitting the Big Shots: Ashley Timmerman had scored just seven total points in her first seven games this season before tallying 10 at Ball State on Dec. 18. Two days later against Eastern Illinois the senior added nine more points, including a pair of huge baskets to lead the Crusaders to the victory. Her jumper from the elbow with 1:03 to play tied the game at 50 before she hit the game-winning three-pointer with just 29.8 seconds remaining on the clock.
Double Trouble: Ashley Varner registered her second straight double-double, and third of the season against Eastern Illinois. The senior scored a season-high 19 points and matched her career high with 12 rebounds against the Panthers. She also had a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds at Ball State and scored 18 points while grabbing 12 boards against IPFW on Dec. 6. Varner now has four career double-doubles.
Gerardot Continues Double Figure Scoring Streak: Tabitha Gerardot registered her seventh straight double figure scoring game, tallying 12 points against Eastern Illinois. The sophomore leads the Crusaders averaging 11.9 points per contest on the year, 15th in the Horizon League, and is scoring 14.3 points per game during the seven game stretch.
Doing the Little Things: Laura Richards handed out seven assists in the win against Eastern Illinois and has now registered 15 assists over her last two contests. The junior point guard is third in the Horizon League averaging 3.8 helpers per contest and is second in the conference with a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio. She also matched her career high with five steals for the second straight game against the Panthers and now is fourth in the conference averaging 2.3 swipes per game.
Varner Continues to Crash the Boards: Ashley Varner pulled down 12 more rebounds last Tuesday and has now grabbed at least seven boards in all 11 games this season. The fifth-year senior has had double-figure rebounding efforts in six of her last seven games. Varner ranks sixth in the Horizon League averaging 9.5 rebounds per outing.
Playing Defense: Valpo leads the Horizon League in scoring defense this season, allowing just 56.2 points per contest. The Crusaders have allowed just one opponent to score more than 70 points against them (Montana State, 71).
All You Need is Five: Valparaiso has played with a very short bench over the last two contests. The Crusaders dressed just six players in the win against Eastern Illinois and played the final 5:21 of the game at Ball State with just five eligible players. The Crusaders dressed seven to start the game against the Cardinals but lost Shaquira Scott to an injury in the first half and saw Tabitha Gerardot foul out.
Richards on Career Assists Chart: Laura Richards has moved into 17th place all-time at Valpo with 219 assists, passing Lynda Kukla (1988-1992) on the career charts. She is five helpers behind Stephanie Greer (1987-1991) for 16th place on the career list and nine 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 142 total fouls in 10 games, an average of 12.9 per contest, the 13th fewest in the country.
Who’s in the Lineup Tonight?: Due to injuries and illnesses this season, only three Crusaders have appeared in all 11 games this season. Gina Lange, Tabitha Gerardot, and Ashley Varner are the only players that have started each contest and played in each contest.
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 shot 50% from the field against Eastern Illinois, its best shooting game of the season ... the Crusaders also won their first game this season when being outrebounded (36-30) ... Laura Richards played all 40 minutes against the Panthers for the third time this season ... Richards has played 37 or more minutes in eight of her 10 games, including the last five ... Richards grabbed a season-high six rebounds against Eastern Illinois ... Tabitha Gerardot played a career-high 39 minutes against the Panthers ... Valpo has held five of its last six opponents to 53 points or fewer.