Valparaiso (4-9, 0-2 Horizon)
Game #14: Thursday, January 5, 2012, 7:05 p.m. CST
vs. Cleveland State (5-7, 0-1 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso opens the 2012 calendar year on Thursday evening hosting Cleveland State in the first game of a three-game homestand. The Crusaders will play five of their next seven games at the friendly confines of the Athletics-Recreation Center.
On the Air: Thursday’s game will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at valpoathletics.com. Mike Targonski 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 280-235 (.544) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 409-282 (.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 Cleveland State are meeting for the 21st time in a series that dates back to 1989. The Crusaders lead the all-time series 12-8, but the Vikings have won the last four contests between the two schools. Cleveland State posted a 68-58 win at the ARC on Jan. 15 of last season before notching a 57-51 victory in Cleveland on Feb. 10. Valpo has not defeated the Vikings at the ARC since a 100-85 win on Jan. 21, 1994, winning the last four games. The all-time series it tied at five in the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Wrapping Up Detroit: The Titans shot 62.5% from the floor on Saturday afternoon and jumped out to a 14-point halftime lead on the way to a 68-52 victory over the Crusaders in Detroit, Mich. Ashley Varner and Tabitha Gerardot both registered double-doubles for the Brown and Gold. Varner led all scorers with 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end, while Gerardot tallied 15 points and 10 boards. Jessica Carr added 11 points for the Crusaders. Senee Shearer led the Titans with 13 points while Megan Hatter added 12 more.
Scouting Cleveland State: The Vikings have split their last six contests entering Thursday evening and are coming off of a 70-48 setback at Youngstown State on Saturday afternoon to open Horizon League play. Cleveland State is led by Destinee Blue, who is averaging 13.7 points per contest while shooting 59.3% from the floor. Shalonda Winton adds 12.4 points and a team-leading 9.6 rebounds per game while Takima Keane is also scoring in double figures at 11.0 points per contest. As a team the Vikings are shooting 39.1% from the floor, but just 29.7% from three-point range. Cleveland State is scoring 59.4 points per game and committing 21.0 turnovers per night.
Moving into the Top-20: Ashley Varner moved into the top-20 on the Crusaders’ career rebounding charts with her 10 rebound effort on Saturday against Detroit. The fifth-year senior has pulled down 436 career boards, passing Linda Batz (1987-1990) for 18th on the all-time list. She also moved past Jenna Stangler (2001-2005) and Shari Toelke (1990-1994) to earn the spot in the top-20. Varner is 14 rebounds shy of Sarah Schmoyer (1992-1996) for 17th on Valpo’s career chart.
Double Trouble: Ashley Varner registered her fourth double-double in the last six games on Saturday afternoon against Detroit, recording game highs with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Varner’s double-double run began on Dec. 6 with 18 points and 12 rebounds against IPFW and also include contests against Ball State (18 points, 11 boards) and Eastern Illinois (19 points, 12 boards). The fifth-year senior is averaging 14.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per night over these six games. She has five career double-doubles.
More Double Doubles: Tabitha Gerardot also notched her fourth double-double of the year on Saturday with 15 points and 10 rebounds at Detroit. She has had 10 boards in all four of her double-doubles, which also include Montana State (13 points), Indiana-Northwest (19 points), and IPFW (15 points). The Detroit game was the second time this year (IPFW as well) that Gerardot and Ashley Varner registered double-doubles in the same game. Gerardot now has 13 career double-doubles.
Don’t Stop You Thief: Laura Richards has registered 20 steals over Valpo’s last four games and now ranks second in the Horizon League averaging 2.8 thefts per contest. The junior point guard posted a career high with six steals at Wright State last Wednesday and added four more on Saturday at Detroit.
Dialing Long Distance: Jessica Carr made three three-point field goals for the Crusaders on Saturday afternoon at Detroit, becoming the first Valpo player this season to make more than two in a game. The freshman guard is averaging two triples per game over the last five contests.
Crashing the Offensive Glass: Ashley Varner pulled down eight offensive rebounds against the Titans last Saturday on her way to 10 total rebounds. She entered the game with just 25 offensive rebounds total over the first 12 games, but grabbed seven in the second half and now ranks among the top-10 in the Horizon League averaging 2.5 per night.
Playing Defense: Valpo ranks second in the Horizon League in scoring defense this season, allowing just 57.2 points per contest. The Crusaders have allowed just one opponent to score more than 70 points against them (Montana State, 71).
Lots of Minutes: All seven players that dressed for the Crusaders at Detroit saw plenty of playing time. Each Crusader saw the floor for at least 23 minutes against the Titans. Laura Richards (36.2 mpg) and Tabitha Gerardot (31.8 mpg) rank third and 10th respectively in the Horizon League in minutes played.
Richards on Career Assists Chart: Laura Richards has moved into 16th place all-time at Valpo with 225 assists, passing Stephanie Greer (1987-1991) on the career charts. She is three helpers behind Lina Mascarenas (1988-1992) and Betsy Rietema (2003-2007) for 14th place and 13 assists behind Jeanette Gray (1999-2003) for 13th on the all-time list.
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 162 total fouls in 13 games, an average of 12.6 per contest, the eighth fewest in the country.
Who’s in the Lineup Tonight?: Due to injuries and illnesses this season, only three Crusaders have appeared in all 13 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: Tabitha Gerardot has made seven straight free throws, including a 5-for-5 effort at Detroit, and now ranks 11th in the Horizon League shooting 77.2% from the stripe ... Ashley Varner is just five points shy of 500 for her career while Tabitha Gerardot needs just 15 points to reach the 500-point plateau ... Ievea Jansone scored her first points for Valpo against Detroit ... after outrebounding opponents by 3.3 boards per game during non-conference play, the Crusaders have been outrebounded by 11.5 per contest during the first two league games.