Valparaiso (5-13, 1-6 Horizon)
Game #19: Thursday, January 26, 2012, 7:05 p.m. CST
vs. Milwaukee (5-12, 1-6 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso returns to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Thursday evening to begin a two-game homestand. The Crusaders will host Milwaukee as both schools look for their second Horizon League victory of the year.
On the Air: Thursday’s game will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at valpoathletics.com. Chris Kleinhans-Schulz and Mike Pudlow 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 281-239 (.540) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 410-286 (.589) 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 Milwaukee are meeting for the 18th time in a series that dates back to 1983. Milwaukee leads the series 12-5 and has won three straight contests between the two schools. The Panthers swept last year’s series, winning 73-61 on Jan. 27 at the ARC and 70-69 in Milwaukee on Feb. 26. Milwaukee holds a 5-3 advantage all-time at the ARC, having won the last two meetings in Valparaiso. The Crusaders’ last victory in the series came Feb. 27, 2010, a 70-58 win over the Panthers at the ARC.
Wrapping Up UIC: The Crusaders fell behind from the opening tip on Saturday evening and could never battle back, dropping a 54-43 decision to UIC in Chicago. The Flames built a 13-point lead at halftime and Valpo was never able to fight back within single digits in the second half. Valpo shot 33.3% from the floor for the game and was outrebounded 40-30. Ashley Timmerman led the Brown and Gold with 14 points, making four three-pointers, while Ashley Varner pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds to go with eight points. Jasmine Bailey tallied a double-double for UIC, scoring 19 points and grabbing 13 boards, while Kiara Strickland added 16 points.
Scouting Milwaukee: The Panthers snapped a six-game losing streak on Saturday afternoon with a 76-68 victory at home over Youngstown State. Milwaukee is 2-6 on the road this year, and has not posted a victory away from the Klotsche Center since Nov. 28. Courtney Lindfors leads the Panthers averaging 12.9 points per game while Sami Tucker adds 12.0 points and 7.8 boards per night. Angela Rodriguez also tallies double figures in the scoring column with 10.4 per game. As a team the Panthers shoot 38.6% from the floor while allowing the opposition to connect at a 44.5% rate.
Varner Earns Academic Honor: Ashley Varner was named as the Horizon League’s Scholar-Athlete of the Month for December this week. The fifth-year senior averaged 13.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game in seven contests during the month, posting four double-doubles. In the classroom she is enrolled in graduate school working on her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling after already earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Timmerman Picks Up the Scoring: Ashley Timmerman scored a season-high 14 points on Saturday evening at UIC after tailing back-to-back games of 12 points against Loyola (Chicago) and Butler. The senior guard has averaged 9.1 points per game over her last eight contests after scoring just seven points total in her first seven games of the year.
Varner Continues to Crash the Glass: Ashley Varner collected her 10th double figure rebounding game of the season on Saturday evening, pulling down 11 boards at UIC. The fifth-year senior is tied with Cleveland State’s Shalonda Winton for most 10+ rebounding games in the Horizon League. Varner is sixth in the conference pulling down 9.5 boards per game.
Going the Distance: Gina Lange played all 40 minutes for the Crusaders on Saturday at UIC, marking the second time in the last four games she has failed to leave the floor. The junior post also played all 40 minutes against Youngstown State.
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. She ranks 42nd and 90th in the country respectively in those two categories as well. Richards’ 3.9 assists per contest ranks third in the conference and she is second in minutes played at 36.6 per game.
Playing Defense: Valpo is allowing just 57.8 points per game on the season, second fewest in the Horizon League. The scoring defense number ranks 81st nationally. The Crusaders have allowed just 70 or more points twice all season and have held 11 opponents to fewer than 60 points. In fact, five times the Brown and Gold has held the opposition to 50 points or less.
No Hotels Needed: Valparaiso has not needed hotels for the entire month of January. The Crusaders are wrapping up a month with five home games this weekend while having traveled up and back to Chicago twice in the only road contests.
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 487 career boards, passing Robyn Lippert (1987-1991) for 16th on the all-time list. Varner is just eight boards behind Denise Dunbar (1982-1986) for a spot in the top-15 all-time and 13 rebounds behind matching Katie Boone (2001-2005) for 14th all-time hitting the 500-board plateau.
Richards on Career Assists Chart: Laura Richards has moved into 12th place all-time at Valpo with 248 assists, passing Megan Newcomer (1996-2000) on the career charts. She is eight assists behind Agnieszka Kulaga (2005-2009) for 11th on the all-time list and trails Kathryn Knoester (2000-2004) by nine helpers for a spot in the top-10 at Valpo. With two more helpers she will hit the 250-assist plateau.
What Foul?: 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 12.4 fouls per game this season, third fewest among all NCAA Division I schools. In fact, the Crusaders went the entire first half without an infraction on Jan. 19 at Loyola (Chicago).
Who’s in the Lineup Tonight?: Due to injuries and illnesses this season, only three Crusaders have appeared in all 18 games this season. Gina Lange, Tabitha Gerardot, and Ashley Varner are the only players that have 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: Liz Horton dressed for the UIC game giving Valpo eight players in uniform for the first time since Dec. 10 at Pittsburgh ... Tabitha Gerardot has scored seven or more points in every game this season ... the Crusaders have three players ranked in the top-nine in the Horizon League in minutes played (Laura Richards, 3rd, 36.6, Tabitha Gerardot, 6th, 33.4, Gina Lange, 9th, 32.9).