Valparaiso (5-16, 1-9 Horizon)
Game #22: Saturday, February 4, 2012, 1 p.m. CST
at Cleveland State (8-13, 3-7 Horizon)
Wolstein Center (8,500) - Cleveland, Ohio
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso continues its three-game road trip on Saturday afternoon, continuing its swing through Northeast Ohio with a stop in Cleveland. The Crusaders will battle Cleveland State in a Saturday matinee.
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 John Kloehn will call all of the action live from the Wolstein 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 281-242 (.537) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 410-289 (.587) 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 22nd time in a series that dates back to Jan. 13, 1989. The Crusaders lead the overall series 12-9 but the Vikings have won five straight meetings between the two schools. In the first meeting this season between the two schools, Cleveland State posted a 49-45 victory over the Crusaders at the ARC on Jan. 5. Valpo is 8-2 against Cleveland State all-time at the Wolstein Center, with the Vikings winning the last two meetings in Cleveland. The Crusaders’ last win in the series came on March 5, 2009, a 70-52 victory at the Wolstein Center.
Wrapping Up Youngstown State: Ashley Timmerman’s three-point play with just over two minutes to play pulled Valpo into a tie with the Penguins after trailing by 10 in the second half, but Brandi Brown’s three-pointer on the next Youngstown State possession put the hosts back in front for good on the way to a 64-58 win over the Crusaders on Thursday night. Tabitha Gerardot led Valpo with 15 points, all in the second half, and nine rebounds while Timmerman added 14 points. Brown finished with a double-double for the Penguins, 20 points and 10 boards, as Youngstown State made eight second half triples.
Scouting Cleveland State: The Vikings have dropped four straight games, including three straight at home, following a 68-62 setback against Butler on Thursday night. Shalonda Winton leads Cleveland State in scoring, averaging 16.0 points per game while Destinee Blue adds 12.3 points per night. Winton leads the Horizon League pulling down 9.9 rebounds per contest as well. As a team, Cleveland State is scoring 59.0 points per contest and shooting 37.9% from the floor. The Vikings are second in the Horizon League in blocked shots, averaging 3.1 swats per game.
Freeman Set to Coach Game #700 in His Career: Saturday’s game at Cleveland State will mark the 700th for head coach Keith Freeman on a collegiate bench. Freeman, in his 24th season overall, will be leading his 524th at the helm of the Crusaders on Saturday, and is the winningest coach in Valpo history. Freeman has 410 career wins during his career.
Lots of Minutes Played: Valpo had four players log 39 or more minutes on Thursday evening. Laura Richards went the distance for the fifth time this season against Youngstown State while Gina Lange played all but seven seconds against the Penguins. Tabitha Gerardot matched her career high with 39 minutes while Ashley Timmerman also set a career high playing 39 minutes.
Timmerman Posts Season Highs: Ashley Timmerman matched her season high by scoring 14 points on Thursday night against Youngstown State. She also scored 14 points at UIC back on Jan. 21. She is averaging 10.0 points per game over the last seven contests. The senior guard made 5-of-11 from the floor and all three of her free throws. Timmerman also handed out a career high four assists against the Penguins after playing a career high 39 minutes.
Gerardot a Model of Consistency: Tabitha Gerardot pulled down nine rebounds for the Crusaders against Youngstown State, marking the ninth time this season the sophomore has grabbed eight or more boards. She is second on the team averaging 6.7 rebounds per night. In addition, Gerardot had scored eight or more points in every contest but one this season after tallying a team-high 15 points at Youngstown State. Gerardot leads Valpo scoring 12.2 points per game, which ranked 11th in the Horizon League.
Nearly Automatic from the Stripe: Tabitha Gerardot is shooting 83.3% (35-of-42) from the free throw line since Horizon League play began this year. She made 16 consecutive charity tosses from Jan. 19 through Thursday before missing the second of a two shot foul midway through the second half. Gerardot finished the game 7-of-8 from the free throw line.
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 58.3 points per game on the season, second fewest in the Horizon League. The Crusaders have allowed just 70 or more points twice all season and have held 12 opponents to fewer than 60 points.
Varner on the Rebounding List: Ashley Varner has continued to climb the Crusaders’ all-time rebounding charts this season, passing Katie Boone (2001-2005) for 13th on the career list. The fifth-year senior’s 503 career boards are 34 boards behind Jill Otto (1985-1989) for 13th on the career charts.
Richards on Career Assists Chart: Laura Richards has moved into a tie for 11th place all-time at Valpo with 256 assists, matching Agnieszka Kulaga (2005-2009) on the career charts. She is one assist behind Kathryn Knoester (2000-2004) for a spot in the top-10 at Valpo. Richards is eight assists behind Lisa Winter (1998-2000) for ninth on the all-time list.
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 12.7 fouls per game this season, sixth 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: Valpo’s 58 points against Youngstown State matched a season high against a Horizon League foe this season ... the Crusaders made 16-of-18 free throws against the Penguins, a season high percentage (88.9%) ... Laura Richards has 55 steals this year, 13 shy of the top-10 for a single season at Valpo.