Valparaiso (5-12, 1-5 Horizon)
Game #18: Saturday, January 21, 2012, 7 p.m. CST
at UIC (11-7, 4-3 Horizon)
UIC Pavilion (8,000) - Chicago, Ill.
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso returns to the Windy City this weekend for a rare prime time Saturday evening contest as the Crusaders face UIC at the Pavilion. Valpo is looking to score its first Horizon League road win of the season facing a Flames’ team that has lost just twice at home all year.
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 Jeff Larson will call all of the action live from the UIC Pavilion. 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 281-238 (.541) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 410-285 (.590) 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 UIC are meeting for the 35th time in a series that dates back to 1980. The Crusaders hold a 19-15 all-time advantage against the Flames but UIC has won four of the last five meetings between the two schools. The Flames swept last year’s season series, winning 63-42 on Jan. 20 in Chicago while downing the Crusaders 69-64 on Feb. 19 at the ARC. UIC holds a 9-7 series edge all-time in the Windy City. Valpo’s last victory against the Flames came on March 6, 2010, an 88-77 triumph at the UIC Pavilion.
Wrapping Up Loyola: The Crusaders trailed the Ramblers by just three points with 13 minutes to play on Thursday evening in Chicago, but Loyola went on a 32-5 run, holding Valpo without a field goal for nearly eight minutes, on the way to an 86-56 victory over the Brown and Gold. Valpo shot just 27.6% from the floor in the second half while Loyola connected on 53.8% from the field over the course of the game and committed just six turnovers. Gina Lange led Valpo with a career high 17 points while Ashley Timmerman added 12 more. Abby Skube came off of the bench to score 24 points leading the Ramblers.
Scouting UIC: The Flames have won two straight games and seven of their last 10 overall following a 77-42 victory over Butler at home on Thursday night. Jasmine Bailey leads UIC and the Horizon League averaging 19.6 points per game. She ranks third in the conference grabbing 9.6 rebounds per game, is second in assists with 4.7 per night, and ranks third in steals with 2.6 per game. Shamiea Green adds 15.2 points per contest after scoring 29 on Thursday against the Bulldogs while Kiara Strickland adds 11.3 points per night. The Flames are +5.8 in scoring margin on the year.
Lange Provides Offense: Gina Lange tallied a career high 17 points for the Crusaders against Loyola on Thursday evening. The junior forward scored 13 points in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor. Lange’s previous scoring high was 16 points back on Nov. 22 against Western Illinois. She has tallied double figures nine times this season after scoring 10 or more points just four times total in her first two seasons as a Crusader. She currently ranks third on the team in scoring averaging 9.0 points per night.
Timmerman Finds the Mark: Ashley Timmerman scored 12 points on Thursday night against the Ramblers matching her season high set last Saturday against Butler. The senior guard has averaged 8.4 points per game over her last seven contests after scoring just seven points total in her first seven games of the year.
Get it Out of Here: Valparaiso matched a season high with three blocked shots on Thursday against Loyola. The Crusaders had rejected just one opponent shot in the first five Horizon League games of the season and just 13 total on the year in the first 16 games prior to the swatfest against the Ramblers.
All of the Little Things: Laura Richards may not provide the scoring for the Crusaders, but she continues to put up other numbers. The junior point guard now ranks second in the league in steals at 2.9 per game and is second in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.5. After dishing out six assists on Thursday against Loyola, Richards now is averaging 4.1 helpers per contest, third in the conference. She also ranks second in minutes played at 36.6 per contest.
Gerardot a Consistent Scorer: Tabitha Gerardot continues to be a go-to scorer for the Crusaders this season after posting 11 points against Loyola. The sophomore post has tallied double figures for the Crusaders in 12 of her last 13 games and ranks 12th in the conference in scoring averaging 12.5 points per night. Gerardot has scored at least seven points in every game this year for Valpo.
Facing a Familiar Foe: Valparaiso will have played UIC more than any other team in program history with the exception of Chicago State after Saturday’s contest against the Flames. The schools will meet for the 35th time, matching Western Illinois for the second most common opponent, with the 36th meeting coming at the ARC next month. Valpo has played Chicago State 40 times.
No Hotels Needed: Valparaiso will not need hotels for the entire month of January. The Crusaders have five home games during the month along with the two game road trip to Chicago in which the Brown and Gold will travel up and back each night.
Moving Up the Rebounding List: Ashley Varner has continued to climb the Crusaders’ all-time rebounding charts this season. The fifth-year senior has pulled down 476 career boards, passing Robyn Lippert (1987-1991) for 16th on the all-time list. Varner is just 19 boards behind Denise Dunbar (1982-1986) for a spot in the top-15 all-time.
Richards on Career Assists Chart: Laura Richards has moved into 13th place all-time at Valpo with 246 assists, passing Jeanette Gray (1999-2003) on the career charts. She is one assist behind Megan Newcomer (1996-2000) for 12th on the all-time list. Richards is 11 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 213 total fouls in 17 games, an average of 12.5 per contest, the fifth fewest in the country.
Who’s in the Lineup Tonight?: Due to injuries and illnesses this season, only three Crusaders have appeared in all 17 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: Valpo was not called for a personal foul the entire first half against Loyola ... the Crusaders’ first foul came with 16:25 to play in the game ... Ieva Jansone scored a career high four points for Valpo against the Ramblers while pulling down a season best three rebounds ... the 86 points given up against the Ramblers were the most by the Crusaders this year.