Valparaiso (9-19, 5-12 Horizon)
Game #29: Saturday, March 3, 2012, 12:05 p.m. CST
vs. Detroit (17-12, 13-4 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: The 2011-2012 regular season comes to a close on Saturday afternoon for Valparaiso University as the Crusaders host Detroit on Senior Day at the Athletics-Recreation Center beginning at 12:05 p.m. Valpo is looking for a victory and a little help from others in order to host a First Round game in the Horizon League Championships.
On the Air: Saturday’s game will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at valpoathletics.com. Andrew Stem and Renee’ Turpa 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 285-245 (.538) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 414-292 (.586) 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 Detroit are meeting for the 15th time in a series that dates back to Feb. 20, 1989. The Titans lead the overall series between the two schools 9-5 and have won six of the last seven meetings between the two schools. Detroit won this season’s previous contest 68-52 in Detroit, Mich. on Dec. 31. Valpo won last year’s meeting at the ARC 57-46. The Crusaders are 2-4 against the Titans all-time in Valparaiso.
Wrapping Up Wright State: Tabitha Gerardot and Ashley Varner combined for 46 points and 22 rebounds on Thursday evening as Valparaiso defeated the Raiders 70-60 at the ARC. Gerardot finished with a game-high 25 points while Varner added her eighth double-double of the season with 21 points and 14 boards. Valpo used a 15-2 run midway through the second half to break open a tie game. The Crusaders shot 40% from the floor on the evening while limiting the Raiders to just a 29.6^% night from the field. Wright State started the game 1-of-18. Kim Demmings led the Raiders with 24 points.
Scouting Detroit: The Titans have won three straight games and eight of their last nine overall following a 57-52 victory at Butler on Thursday evening. Detroit is 7-6 on the road this year and has already secured the number two seed in next week’s Horizon League Championships. Shareta Brown leads the Titans averaging 17.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The freshman is shooting a league-best 56.4% from the floor. Senee Shearer adds 11.5 points per contest for the Titans, which are shooting 42.3% from the field as a team. Jalesa Jones leads the Horizon League with 4.9 assists per night. Detroit is second in the conference at +5.2 in rebounding margin.
Thanks Seniors: Valparaiso will honor seniors Ashley Timmerman and Ashley Varner prior to Saturday’s game against Detroit. Timmerman is averaging 6.2 points per game since arriving at Valpo prior to last season while Varner has tallied nine career double-doubles.
Fighting for a Home Game: With one game remaining in the regular season, Valparaiso can finish anywhere from the seventh through 10th seed in next week’s Horizon League Tournament. The Crusaders need a win against Wright State to have a chance to host in the first round. 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.
Double-Double Count Up to Eight: Ashley Varner registered her eighth double-double of the season for the Crusaders on Thursday night against Wright State. The fifth-year senior scored 21 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, one off of her career high. Varner now has five double-doubles in Horizon League play and nine double-doubles total for her career.
Timmerman Crashes the Glass: Ashley Timmerman entered Thursday night’s game against Wright State with a season high of four rebounds and 36 total boards. Against the Raiders she pulled down a career high 10 boards, surpassing her previous career best of seven last year against Austin Peay.
Welcome Back Offense: Valparaiso’s offense scored just 67 total points all last weekend in Wisconsin over two games against Green Bay and Wisconsin. The Crusaders surpassed that total on Thursday night with 70 points against Wright State, just as Valpo had tallied 69 points against Loyola (Chicago) in the last home game on Feb. 18.
Quite a Second Half Turnaround: After Valpo went 1-8 during the first half of Horizon League play, the Crusaders are 4-4 during round two and can finish over .500 for the second half with a win against Detroit.
Flying Up the Single Season Charts: Ashley Varner’s 254 rebounds this season rank her fourth on the Crusaders’ yearly list. She moved up five spots on Thursday after her 14-rebound effort. Varner is 12 rebounds shy of Tamra Braun (2006-2007) for third in a single season and 15 rebounds behind Carie Wickham (1997-1998) for second. Varner’s current 9.1 rebound per game average also is fourth on the single season charts.
Richards Tied for 10th: With five steals against Wright State, Laura Richards has moved into eighth place on the single season theft list with 73 for her career. The junior is just six steals behind Debbie Bolen (1991-1992) and Shari Toelke (1993-1994) for sixth in a single season.
Varner on the Career Rebounding List: Ashley Varner has continued to climb the Crusaders’ all-time rebounding list, passing Jill Otto (1985-1989) for 13th on the career list. Varner’s 570 career boards are one 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 eighth place all-time at Valpo with 283 assists, passing Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) on the career charts. Richards is four assists behind Lauren Bechtold (2002-2006) for seventh on the all-time list. Shari Toelke (1990-1994) ranks sixth on the assist list with 340 helpers.
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: Tabitha Gerardot’s 25 points against Wright State were one off of a career high ... Jessica Carr was perfect shooting the basketball against the Raiders, making all four free throws and her lone three-pointer in the game ... only Gerardot, Gina Lange, and Ashley Varner have played in (and started) all 28 games this season ... Valpo is second in the Horizon League allowing just 57.6 points per game.