# 9 Valparaiso (9-20, 5-13 Horizon)
Horizon League First Round
Game #30: Monday, March 5, 2012, 7 p.m. CST
at #8 Milwaukee (9-20, 5-13 Horizon)
Klotsche Center (3,200) - Milwaukee, Wis.
Upcoming in Crusader Basketball: Postseason basketball begins for Valparaiso on Monday evening as the Crusaders open play in the 2012 Horizon League Championship. The ninth-seeded Crusaders head to Wisconsin to take on eighth-seeded Milwaukee in a first round contest.
On the Air: Monday’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 285-246 (.537) record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 23rd season overall, Freeman has a 414-293 (.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 Milwaukee are meeting for the 20th time in a series that dates back to Feb. 4, 1983. The Panthers lead the overall series between the two schools 14-5 and have won five straight. Milwaukee swept this year’s regular season meetings, winning 55-47 at the ARC on Jan. 26 and 50-31 in Wisconsin on Feb. 25. Valpo’s last win in the series came on Feb. 27, 2010, a 70-58 win at the ARC. The Panthers are 8-2 against the Crusaders in Milwaukee and have won three straight against Valpo in Wisconsin. Valpo’s last win at Milwaukee came on Jan. 29, 2009, a 83-65 triumph.
Wrapping Up Detroit: In a game which saw neither team lead by more than five points until the final seconds of the contest, the Titans defeated Valpo 48-42 to close out the regular season at the ARC on Saturday. Tabitha Gerardot led Valpo with 11 points while Gina Lange added 10 more. Shareta Brown led all players for Detroit with 20 points and 15 rebounds as the Titans outscored the Crusaders 32-16 in the paint.
Scouting Milwaukee: The Panthers have lost two straight games following a 69-62 setback at Loyola (Chicago) on Saturday afternoon. Milwaukee posted a 5-9 record at the Klotsche Center during the regular season. Courtney Lindfors leads four Panthers scoring in double figures with 12.5 points per game. Sami Tucker adds 11.7 points and a team-leading 7.3 rebounds per night. Angela Rodriguez (10.6 ppg) and Ashley Green (10.5 ppg) also score in double figures on the year. Milwaukee is averaging 58.6 points per contest and shoot 38.8% from the floor while allowing the opposition to connect at a 43.0% rate and allow 66.2 points per game.
This Year Versus Milwaukee: Valparaiso’s defense was solid in both games against the Panthers, allowing just 52.5 points per contest. However, Valpo struggled offensively, scoring just 39.0 points per game against Milwaukee while shooting 28.7% from the floor and just 23.5% from three-point range. Tabitha Gerardot led the Crusaders in the two games, averaging 13.5 points per contest while Gina Lange added 10.5 points per game. Lange also pulled down an average of 8.0 rebounds per night while Ashley Varner led the way on the boards with 8.5 per contest.
Looking For First Horizon League Tournament Win: Since joining the Horizon League in the 2007-2008 season, the Crusaders have never won a Horizon League Championship contest, going 0-4. Valpo and Milwaukee have met twice previously in the tournament. The Panthers were 67-60 victors in Milwaukee in a 2008 quarterfinal game while also posting a 71-57 first round victory at the Athletics-Recreation Center in 2010. Last year Valpo fell 57-50 in the first round at Detroit while the Crusaders also lost 64-59 at home against Wright State in a quarterfinal game in 2009.
Double-Double Count: Ashley Varner registered her eighth double-double of the season for the Crusaders last Thursday night against Wright State. The fifth-year senior had five double-doubles in Horizon League play and has nine double-doubles total for her career. Tabitha Gerardot also tallied four double-doubles for the Crusaders during the regular season and now has 13 during her first two seasons as a Crusader.
Getting it Done Defensively: Valparaiso’s defense has been the team’s backbone of the Crusaders this season. The Brown and Gold ranks second in the Horizon League in scoring defense, allowing just 57.3 points per game. Valpo is also second in holding the opposition to 37.4% shooting from the floor as well as 29.0% from three-point range. Laura Richards ranks second in the conference with 2.8 steals per game.
Looking for Win Number 10: With a win against Milwaukee, the Crusaders would tally 10 victories in a season for the first time since posting 16 wins in 2008-2009.
Quite a Second Half Turnaround: After Valpo went 1-8 during the first half of Horizon League play, the Crusaders posted a 4-5 mark during round two or conference action.
Flying Up the Single Season Charts: Ashley Varner’s 263 rebounds this season rank her fourth on the Crusaders’ yearly list. Varner is three rebounds shy of Tamra Braun (2006-2007) for third and six rebounds behind Carie Wickham (1997-1998) for second on the single season charts.
Richards Tied for 10th: Laura Richards has moved into eighth place on the single season theft list with 77 in 2011-2012. The junior is just two steals behind Debbie Bolen (1991-1992) and Shari Toelke (1993-1994) for sixth in a single season and three swipes behind Toelke (1992-1993) for fifth.
Varner on the Career Rebounding List: Ashley Varner has continued to climb the Crusaders’ all-time rebounding list, passing Deb Lahti (1982-1984) and Carrie Forsman (1992-1996) for 11th on the career list. Varner’s 579 career boards are 15 behind Betsy Rietema (2003-2007) for 10th on the career charts.
Top-10 for Richards on Assists Chart: Laura Richards has moved into eighth place all-time at Valpo with 284 assists, passing Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) on the career charts. Richards is three 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: Ashley Timmerman registered a career high five assists against Detroit on Saturday ... Valpo ranks 13th in the country in fewest fouls per game at 13.2 ... Tabitha Gerardot shot 82.9% from the free throw line in league play.