Valparaiso (4-8, 0-1 Horizon)
Game #13: Saturday, December 31, 2011, 11 a.m. CST
at Detroit (5-8, 1-0 Horizon)
Calihan Hall (8,295) - Detroit, Mich.
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso will look for its first Horizon League victory of the season on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders close out the 2011 calendar year in the Motor City facing Detroit. With a victory, the Crusaders would close the month of December with a winning record as well.
On the Air: Saturday’s game will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at valpoathletics.com. Chris Kleinhans-Schulz and Mike Targonski will call all of the action live from Calihan Hall. 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 280-234 (.545) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 409-281 (.595) 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 Detroit are meeting for the 14th time in a series that dates back to 1989. The Titans lead the all-time series 8-5 after taking two of the three contests one year ago. Detroit won in the Motor City 68-52 during the regular season while the Crusaders were 57-46 victors at the ARC. The Titans won the rubber match though, 57-50, on March 7 at Calihan Hall in Detroit in the opening round of the Horizon League Tournament. Detroit has won five of the last six meetings between the two schools overall and holds a 4-3 advantage all-time in Michigan.
Wrapping Up Wright State: The Crusaders rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit, cutting the Raider lead to just two, but Wright State made three three-pointers in a 1:08 span to regain control on Wednesday evening and defeat Valpo 58-42 at the Wright State Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio. Valpo shot just 28.8% from the floor on the evening. Gina Lange led the Crusaders with 10 points and six rebounds while Tabitha Gerardot, Ashley Timmerman, and Jessica Carr each added eight points. Kim Demmings led Wright State with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Scouting Detroit: The Titans have won four straight games overall following a 72-60 victory over Butler at home on Thursday evening to open Horizon League play. Shareta Brown leads Detroit and ranks third in the conference in scoring, averaging 15.5 points per contest while also ranking seventh on the glass with 8.8 rebounds per night. She has posted five double-doubles on the year. Senee Shearer adds 8.2 points per game for the Titans. As a team, Detroit is scoring 63.0 points per game and shooting 40.6% from the floor while allowing 62.4 points per contest.
Quite the Holiday Thief: Laura Richards has registered 16 steals over Valpo’s last three games and now ranks second in the Horizon League averaging 2.6 thefts per contest. The junior point guard posted a career high with six steals on Wednesday evening against Wright State after tallying five against both Eastern Illinois and Ball State.
Closing in on the Top-20: Ashley Varner is just two rebounds away from moving into the top-20 on the Crusaders’ career rebounding charts. The fifth-year senior has pulled down 426 career boards, just two behind Shari Toelke (1990-1994) for 20th place. Varner is also just three boards in back of Jenna Stangler (2001-2005) for 19th place and eight rebounds behind Linda Batz (1987-1990) for 18th on the career charts.
Gerardot Double Figure Scoring Streak Ends: Tabitha Gerardot saw her string of seven straight double figure scoring games come to an end on Wednesday against Wright State. The sophomore post finished with just eight points against the Raiders. Gerardot ranks 18th in the Horizon League in scoring, tallying 11.6 points per contest.
Double Trouble: Ashley Varner registered her second straight double-double, and third of the season just before Christmas 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.
Cutting Down on Turnovers: Valparaiso committed just 14 turnovers on Wednesday evening against Wright State, its second fewest total of the season. The Crusaders turned the ball over 11 times in the first half before protecting the basketball during the final 20 minutes. The fewest turnovers in a game for Valpo this season came against Western Illinois when the Crusaders committed just 12 for the contest.
No Window Cleaning Here: Valpo grabbed a season-low 28 turnovers against Wright State in the loss on Wednesday evening, 20 fewer than the Raiders. The Crusaders were outrebounded 11-3 on the offensive end of the floor, but gave up just five second chance points for the entire game.
Playing Defense: Valpo leads the Horizon League in scoring defense this season, allowing just 56.3 points per contest. The Crusaders have allowed just one opponent to score more than 70 points against them (Montana State, 71).
Looking for a Winning December: With a win against Detroit, the Crusaders would finish over .500 in the month of December with a 4-3 record. Valpo has not had a winning month since going 3-1 in November of 2009.
Welcome to Valpo: Ieva Jansone made her Crusader debut on Wednesday evening against Wright State. The junior from Latvia had to sit the first 11 games of the season per the NCAA, but played 14 minutes against the Raiders.
Richards on Career Assists Chart: Laura Richards has moved into 17th place all-time at Valpo with 222 assists, passing Lynda Kukla (1988-1992) on the career charts. She is two helpers behind Stephanie Greer (1987-1991) for 16th place on the career list and six 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 151 total fouls in 12 games, an average of 12.6 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 12 games this season. Gina Lange, Tabitha Gerardot, and Ashley Varner are the only players that have played in and started 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: The Crusaders forced 19 turnovers against Wright State, the second most by the team this season ... Ashley Varner is just 21 points shy of 500 for her career while Tabitha Gerardot needs just 30 points to reach the 500-point plateau ... Valpo managed just four points in the paint against Wright State ... the Crusaders have yet to win this season when shooting a lower percentage from the floor than their opponents.