Valparaiso (8-18, 4-11 Horizon)
Game #27: Saturday, February 25, 2012, 2 p.m. CST
at Milwaukee (8-18, 4-11 Horizon)
Klotsche Center (3,200) - Milwaukee, Wis.
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso closes out the road portion of the regular season on Saturday afternoon, traveling to Milwaukee to battle the Panthers. The Crusaders, winners of three of their last five, look to rebound from a loss at #12/12 Green Bay on Thursday night.
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 Renee’ Turpa will call all of the action live from the Klotsche 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 284-244 (.538) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 413-291 (.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 Milwaukee are meeting for the 19th time in a series that dates back to Feb. 4, 1983. The Panthers lead the overall series between the two schools 13-5 and have won four straight meetings. Milwaukee won this year’s previous contest 55-47 at the ARC on Jan. 26. Valpo’s last win in the series came onFeb. 27, 2010, a 70-58 win at the ARC. The Panthers are 7-2 against the Crusaders in Milwaukee and have won two straight against Valpo in Wisconsin. Valpo’s last win at Milwaukee came on Jan. 29, 2009, a 83-65 triumph.
Wrapping Up Green Bay: The Phoenix raced out to a 16-0 lead in the game’s first eight-and-a-half minutes on the way to a 72-36 victory on Thursday night at the Kress Events Center in Green Bay, Wis. Valpo shot just 33.3% for the game, including just 20.8% in the opening 20 minutes, and committed 29 turnovers. Tabitha Gerardot led the Crusaders with nine points. Lydia Bauer scored 17 points to pace all scorers while Julie Wojta added a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Scouting Milwaukee: The Panthers have won two of their last three games following a 54-52 victory over Butler at home on Thursday night. Milwaukee is 4-9 at the Klotsche Center on the season and wrapping up the home campaign with Senior Day on Saturday. Courtney Lindfors leads four Panthers scoring in double figures with 12.9 points per game. Sami Tucker adds 11.5 points and a team-leading 7.2 rebounds per night. Angela Rodriguez (10.6 ppg) and Ashley Green (10.1 ppg) also score in double figures on the year. Milwaukee is averaging 59.0 points per contest and shooting 38.6% from the floor while allowing the opposition to connect at a 43.5% rate.
Senior Day Game Time Changes: With Valparaiso University hosting the 2012 Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship, the Crusader women’s game against Detroit next Saturday, March 3, has been moved to a 12:05 p.m. tip-off. The game had originally been slated for 1:35 p.m. Saturday will still be Senior Day with the Crusaders honoring the members of the class of 2012.
Defending the ARC: Valparaiso’s defense has limited opponents from three-point range over the last eight games. During the stretch, not one opponent has connected for better than 29.0% from long range during the span and four of the eight teams have shot less than 20%. The Crusaders have seen their opponents shoot a combined 22.8% (38-167) from beyond the arc dating back to Jan. 26 against Milwaukee.
Super Women: Tabitha Gerardot played all 40 minutes for the third straight game while Laura Richards went the distance for the ninth time this season. Richards has only left the floor for the 18.5 seconds over the last six games. She now is second in the Horizon League averaging 37.6 minutes per contest.
Making Shots is the Key: The Crusaders have not won a game yet this season when making a lower percentage of their shots than their opponents. Conversely, when Valpo connects from the floor, the Brown and Gold is 8-3 on the year.
Fighting for a Home Game: With three games remaining in the regular season, Valparaiso is one-half game out of seventh place in the Horizon League standings and one-half game ahead of 10th place. Valpo and Milwaukee enter the game currently tied for eighth, and the final home game berth. The seventh and eighth place teams will host the ninth and 10th place teams in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament which begins on March 5.
Getting Defensive: Valparaiso ranks among the Horizon League leaders in most defensive categories. The Crusaders are second in the conference, and 85th nationally, allowing just 57.8 points per game. Valpo also ranks third in the league in field goal percentage defense (37.7%) and leads the lead in three-point field goal percentage defense (28.8%).
Showing Second Half Improvement: With three victories in the first six games of the second half of Horizon League play, the Crusaders have already shown significant improvement over the first half in terms of win output. In fact, in every year since Valpo joined the Horizon League, the Brown and Gold has tallied as many, if not more, conference wins during the second half of league play as the first.
Varner on the Rebounding List: Ashley Varner has continued to climb the Crusaders’ all-time rebounding charts this season, passing Jill Otto (1985-1989) for 13th on the career list. The fifth-year senior’s 547 career boards are 24 behind Deb Lahti (1982-1984) and Carrie Forsman (1992-1996) for 11th on the career charts.
Top-10 for Richards on Assists Chart: Laura Richards has moved into ninth place all-time at Valpo with 277 assists, passing Lisa Winter (1998-2000) on the career charts. Richards is one assist behind Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) for eighth on the all-time list and 10 helpers behind Lauren Bechtold (2002-2006) for a spot in the top-seven.
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.
Gerardot Nearly Perfect: Tabitha Gerardot made 9-of-10 shots from the floor on Feb. 18 against Loyola (Chicago) on her way to a game-high 20 points. The sophomore’s 90% shooting percentage ranks fourth in school history for a single game (minimum eight attempts).
Dialing Long Range: The Crusaders connected on 7-of-11 three-pointers against Butler on Feb. 11, connecting on 63.6% from long range. The long range shooting ties for the eighth best single game percentage from beyond the arc in school history.
Getting to the Free Throw Line: Ashley Varner made 13-of-18 free throws against Cleveland State on Feb. 4. Her 13 free throws made tie her for fifth on Valpo’s single game list while her 18 attempts mark the third most by any Crusader in a game in school history.
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 grabbed a career high five rebounds on Thursday, playing 17 minutes, the second most in her Crusader career ... Ieva Jansone played a career high 27 minutes against the Phoenix on Thursday ... all four of Valpo’s conference victories have come on Saturdays.