Valparaiso (4-10, 0-3 Horizon)
Game #15: Saturday, January 7, 2012, 1:35 p.m. CST
vs. Youngstown State (7-6, 1-1 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso continues its current three-game homestand on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders welcome longtime rival Youngstown State to the Athletics-Recreation Center. Both schools are looking to bounce back from Horizon League losses on Thursday night.
On the Air: Saturday’s game will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at valpoathletics.com. Andrew Stem 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 280-236 (.543) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 409-283 (.591) 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 Youngstown State are meeting for the 30th time in a series that dates back to 1993. The Penguins lead the all-time series 16-13, but the two sides have split their last 10 meetings. Youngstown State posted a pair of wins last year, a 61-55 triumph at the ARC on Jan. 13 and a 79-76 win in Youngstown, Ohio on Feb. 12. Valpo is 9-5 all-time against the Penguins at the ARC, including the Crusaders’ last win in the series, an 80-28 victory on Feb. 13, 2010.
Wrapping Up Cleveland State: The Crusader defense kept the game close throughout on Thursday evening at the ARC but the offense could never get on track as the Brown and Gold fell 49-45 to the Vikings. Valpo made just 2-of-20 three-point field goal attempts for the game, and shot just 32.2% from the floor for the game. Tabitha Gerardot led the Crusaders with 16 points, making 8-of-11 from the field, while Ashley Varner added a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards. Shalonda Winton and Cori Coleman paced Cleveland State with 16 points each and the Vikings outrebounded Valpo 41-32.
Scouting Youngstown State: The Penguins had won three of four games prior to a 73-64 setback at Butler on Thursday evening. Brandi Brown leads the way for the Penguins offensively, averaging 16.3 points per contest, third in the Horizon League. She also is the league’s top rebounder pulling down 10.6 boards per night. On Thursday against the Bulldogs Brown scored 23 points and grabbed 12 boards. Heidi Schlegel adds 11.2 points per game while Kenya Middlebrooks scores 10.2 per night. As a team Youngstown State is shooting 37.6% from the floor offensively while the defense is forcing 19.2 turnovers per contest.
Double Trouble: Ashley Varner registered her fifth double-double in the last seven games on Thursday evening against Cleveland State, scoring 11 points while grabbing 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), Eastern Illinois (19 points, 12 boards), and Detroit (16 points, 10 rebounds). She has six career double-doubles.
Making Shots: While the rest of the Crusaders combined to make just 11-of-48 field goal attempts (22.9%) on Thursday night against Cleveland State, Tabitha Gerardot was able to dial in her range. The sophomore post connected on 8-of-11 shots from the floor on her way to a game-high 16 points. Gerardot ranks seventh in the Horizon League this season shooting 46.6% from the field and is the team’s leading scorer posting 12.1 points per night.
Lange Gets to the Glass: Gina Lange just missed her first double figure rebounding game of the season on Thursday night, grabbing nine rebounds against the Vikings. Her nine caroms matched her season high on the glass with the season opener at SIU Edwardsville. Lange has grabbed seven or more boards on five different occasions this year.
Doing the Little Things: While Ashley Varner’s most impressive numbers this season have come from scoring and rebounding, she added a pair of career highs in other categories against Cleveland State on Thursday. The fifth-year senior handed out a career-best four assists while also matching her career high with four steals.
An Outside Threat: Ashley Timmerman knocked down Valpo’s only two three-point field goals on Thursday against the Vikings. The senior guard finished the night with eight points, marking the fourth time in the last five games she has scored eight points or more for the Crusaders. Timmerman has 54 career triples in her two seasons with the Brown and Gold.
Taking Care of the Basketball: Valpo matched a season-low on Thursday night committing just 12 turnovers against Cleveland State, matching its earlier game this season against Western Illinois. The Crusaders have committed 15 or fewer miscues in four of their last seven games.
Playing Defense: Valpo leads the Horizon League in scoring defense this season, allowing just 56.6 points per contest. The Crusaders have allowed just one opponent to score more than 70 points against them (Montana State, 71) and have held five opponents to 50 points or fewer for the game.
Moving Up the Rebounding List: Ashley Varner moved into the top-20 on the Crusaders’ career rebounding charts with her second straight 10-rebound effort on Thursday against Cleveland State. The fifth-year senior has pulled down 446 career boards, and is just ahead of Linda Batz (1987-1990) for 18th on the all-time list. Varner is four rebounds shy of Sarah Schmoyer (1992-1996) for 17th on Valpo’s career chart and is just 17 boards behind Robyn Lippert (1987-1991) for 16th all-time.
Richards on Career Assists Chart: Laura Richards has moved into 14th place all-time at Valpo with 229 assists, passing Lina Mascarenas (1988-1992) and Betsy Rietema (2003-2007) on the career charts. She is nine assists behind Jeanette Gray (1999-2003) for 13th on the all-time list. Richards is 28 helpers shy of moving in the career top-10 at Valpo for assists.
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 179 total fouls in 14 games, an average of 12.8 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 14 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: Ashley Varner and Tabitha Gerardot both surpassed the 500 points mark for their career on Thursday ... Varner now has 506 career points while Gerardot has scored 501 points ... Valpo converted 20 Cleveland State turnovers into 19 points Thursday night ... Laura Richards has had three or more assists in each of the last seven games ... Richards ranks second in the Horizon League averaging 36.2 minutes per contest.