Valparaiso (5-14, 1-7 Horizon)
Game #20: Saturday, January 28, 2012, 1:35 p.m. CST
vs. #12/9 Green Bay (18-0, 8-0 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso closes the first half of Horizon League play on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders host nationally-ranked Green Bay. The Phoenix enter the contest as one of two unbeaten teams in the country and are ranked #12/9 in the polls. Green Bay is the highest ranked team to visit the ARC since #8/8 Notre Dame came to Valparaiso in 2008.
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 Andrew Stem 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 281-240 (.539) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 410-287 (.588) 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 Green Bay are meeting for the 27th time in a series that dates back to Dec. 9, 1986. The Phoenix lead the overall series with the Crusaders 22-4 and have won seven straight meetings between the two schools. Last year Green Bay swept the season series, winning 69-50 at the ARC and 75-48 in Wisconsin. The Phoenix are 11-2 against the Crusaders at the ARC. Valpo’s last win in the series came at the ARC, a 90-88 overtime thriller, on Jan. 19, 2008.
Wrapping Up Milwaukee: Valpo fell behind by 10 early in the second half but clawed back to within five and had the basketball in the closing minutes before the Panthers made back-to-back three-pointers on the way to a 55-47 win at the ARC on Thursday evening. The Crusaders committed 21 turnovers which led to a 22-7 Milwaukee advantage in points off of miscues. Tabitha Gerardot led Valpo with 16 points, making 4-of-5 from the floor, while Gina Lange added 15 points. Courtney Lindfors led Milwaukee with 14 points, pacing four Panthers in double figures.
Scouting Green Bay: The Phoenix are one of two remaining unbeatens in the country alongside #1/1 Baylor after a 60-36 victory at Butler on Thursday night. Julie Wojta leads Green Bay averaging 18.8 points and 9.7 rebounds per game while shooting 53.4% from the floor and 44.4% from three-point range. Adrian Ritchie (12.4), Lydia Bauer (12.1), and Sarah Eichler (10.7) are all scoring in double figures as well for the Phoenix. Green Bay is averaging 75.1 points per game as a team while shooting 46.7% from the floor and 78.4% from the free throw line.
Valpo Against Ranked Foes: The Crusaders are 1-29 all-time against ranked opponents and 1-11 all-time at home. Valpo’s lone victory all-time came against #21/23 Purdue on Dec. 10, 2008, a 71-60 triumph at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Green Bay, ranked #9 in the coaches’ poll, is the seventh top-10 team to visit all-time, and the first since #8/8 Notre Dame on Dec. 13, 2008. Valpo has faced at least one ranked team every season but one since 1996-1997.
Varner Closes in on #500: Ashley Varner has continued to climb the Crusaders’ all-time rebounding charts this season and is on the verge of reaching the 500-board plateau for her career. The fifth-year senior has pulled down 495 career boards, tied with Denise Dunbar (1982-1986) for 15th on the all-time list at Valpo. Varner is just five boards behind matching Katie Boone (2001-2005) for 14th all-time as Boone finished her career with exactly 500 rebounds.
Gerardot Nearly Perfect Shooting: Tabitha Gerardot led all scorers with a game-high 16 points on Thursday evening against Milwaukee. The sophomore missed just one shot total on the night, making 4-of-5 attempts from the floor, including both three-point tries. Gerardot also was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe on the night. For the season Gerardot is shooting 46.4% from the floor, seventh best in the Horizon League, while connecting on 78.0% from the free throw line, sixth best in the conference.
Lange Racking Up the Points of Late: Gina Lange started the season with three straight double figure scoring contests before notching just three more total over her next 11 games. Lange has picked up the scoring again of late, posting double figures in three of her last five games, while tallying nine points in one of the two others. Lange finished with 15 points against Milwaukee, just two games after posting a career high 17 points at Loyola (Chicago).
Timmerman Also Adds to the Offense: Ashley Timmerman scored a season-high 14 points last Saturday evening at UIC after tailing back-to-back games of 12 points against Loyola (Chicago) and Butler. She added eight more on Thursday against Milwaukee. The senior guard has averaged 9.0 points per game over her last nine contests after scoring just seven points total in her first seven games of the year.
40 is the Magic Number: Valpo has won five of its six games this season when shooting 40% or better from the field this season, with its lone loss coming in overtime at SIU Edwardsville to open the season. The Crusaders have not won a game this year when shooting below 40%.
Playing Defense: Valpo is allowing just 57.7 points per game on the season, second fewest in the Horizon League. The scoring defense number ranks 83rd nationally. The Crusaders have allowed just 70 or more points twice all season and have held 12 opponents to fewer than 60 points.
Nearly Even on the Boards: Valpo has grabbed just three more rebounds than its opponents on the year, 699-696, with both sides pulling down the same number of rebounds, 476, defensively.
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 12.5 fouls per game this season, fourth 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).
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.
Varner Earns Academic Honor: Ashley Varner was named as the Horizon League’s Scholar-Athlete of the Month for December. 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.
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: Gina Lange made a career-high three three-pointers against Milwaukee while Tabitha Gerardot tied her career best with two triples ... Gerardot is an 82.4% free throw shooter in Horizon League play ... Valpo’s seven triples against Milwaukee were one shy of a season high for the team.