Valparaiso (2-5, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #8: Tuesday, December 4 - 6 p.m. CT
at IPFW (3-3, 0-0 Summit)
Gates Sports Center (2,000)
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso women’s basketball team kicks off its second stretch of four consecutive road games on Tuesday evening when the Crusaders make the short trip to Fort Wayne to take on IPFW at 6 p.m.
Last Time Out: The Valparaiso women's basketball team led by 11 in the first half against Saint Louis before going cold from the field, and a furious late rally came up just short as the Crusaders fell by a 53-47 final to the Billikens Saturday afternoon at the ARC. Valpo was up 22-11 12 minutes into the game, but scored just 17 points over a 25-minute stretch as Saint Louis took control.
The Road Ahead: The Crusaders play at #8/8 Louisville on Saturday, Dec. 8 before taking 11 days between games for final exams. Valpo then plays back-to-back contests Dec. 19-20 at Western Michigan and at Mcihigan.
Following the Crusaders: Tuesday night’s game will be broadcast live on WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso, with John Kloehn and Renee’ Turpa on the call. A link for the live audio, as well as live stats, will be available through www.valpoathletics.com
Head Coach Tracey Dorow: Tracey Dorow was named the seventh head women’s basketball coach in Crusader program history in April of 2012. Dorow arrived at Valpo after spending 14 seasons as the head coach at Ferris State University, guiding the Bulldogs to four NCAA Division II Tournament appearances, two Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division championships, and four 20-win seasons. In her 14 seasons at Ferris State, Dorow compiled a 232-163 (.587) record, including a 23-7 mark in 2011-2012 while guiding the Bulldogs to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Series Notes: Valpo and IPFW have met 14 times on the hardwood, with the Crusaders owning a 9-5 edge in the all-time series. As Division I opponents, they have met six times, with Valpo leading 5-1 in those matchups. Valpo held the Mastodons to just 22.8% shooting in winning last season’s meeting at the ARC, 64-43. The Crusaders got double-doubles from both Ashley Varner (18 pts, 12 reb) and Tabitha Gerardot (15 pts, 10 reb) in that contest.
Scouting IPFW: The Mastodons enter Tuesday’s game at 3-3 on the year, having alternated wins and losses throughout the season. Last time out, IPFW got a school record tying 43 points from Amanda Hyde in a 78-65 win over Southern Illinois. Thanks in large part to that performance, Hyde paces the Mastodons with 19.5 points per game, the only IPFW player averaging in double figures. Stefanie Mauk leads the Mastodon effort on the boards with 8.2 rebounds per game.
On the Road Again: Tuesday night’s game starts off Valpo’s second stretch of four road games in a row, following the quick return home against Saint Louis on Saturday. This second four-game road stretch closes out the run of eight road games within a nine-game stretch. Out of the eight road games, however, seven games are against teams either in Indiana or in states adjacent to Indiana, with the Duke trip the only long-distance trip for the Crusaders.
A Long Road Trip: Last Tuesday’s game at Western Illinois marked the last in a stretch of four straight road games for the Crusaders which started November 17 at IUPUI. The trip was the Crusaders’ first stretch of four consecutive true road games since Dec. 30, 2010-Jan. 8, 2011, while the last time Valpo had played four straight true road games outside of league play came Nov. 9-18, 2007.
Winning Her Debut: Head coach Tracey Dorow made her regular season debut a winning one on Friday, Nov. 17 by defeating Indiana. Dorow became just the second coach in Crusader women’s basketball history to win their Valpo debut on the sidelines, joining Dick Briars, whose 1983-1984 squad downed Hillsdale 71-67 in its season opener. With the win over Purdue Calumet, Dorow became the first Crusader women’s coach to win each of her first two games.
Downing the Big Ten: Valpo’s win over Indiana was just the second in program history over the Hoosiers, both of which have come at the ARC. The Crusaders previously defeated IU on Dec. 7, 1999 by a final of 64-60. Valpo’s last victory against a Big Ten team also came at the ARC on Dec. 10, 2008 over Purdue.
Roster Makeup: In her first season, Dorow is leading a squad which features eight returning letterwinners, including a trio of starters from last season. Five players are donning the Crusader uniform for the first time alongside the eight returnees as well.
Gerardot Named Preseason Second Team: Leading the returning starters is junior forward Tabitha Gerardot, a preseason Second Team All-League choice. Gerardot, an All-Newcomer Team selection following her freshman season, led the Crusaders and finished tenth in the league in scoring at 13.0 points per game in 2011-2012. Gerardot also averaged 6.8 rebounds per contest, second-best on the team
A Tough Schedule: The Crusaders have put together a challenging slate for the 2012-2013 campaign, including five contests against NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago. Highlights include the season opener at the ARC against Indiana, a game at perennial top-ten program Duke, and contests on the road versus 2012 NCAA Tournament qualifiers Michigan and Louisville.
Hitting the Glass: Valpo excelled early in the season in the rebounding tallies and currently ranks second in the Horizon League with a +3.0 average rebounding margin. The Crusaders out-rebounded Indiana in their season opener by 12 boards and had a massive +26 edge on the glass in the win over Purdue Calumet. Valpo has especially been active on the offensive boards, pulling down at least 11 offensive rebounds in each of its first seven games. Last time out, the Crusaders pulled down 14 offensive rebounds, seven of which were grabbed by Gerardot, as they out-rebounded Saint Louis, 38-33.
Sharing is Caring: The Crusaders currently rank second in the league in the early going in assists/game, averaging 14.4 helpers per contest, led by just 3.7 assists per game from Charae Richardson. Each of its seven games have seen Valpo assist on at least half of its made field goals. Last time out against Saint Louis, Valpo tallied 11 assists on 20 field goals.
Connecting From the Floor: Valpo snapped a three-game streak of shooting under 30% from the floor last time out against Saint Louis, converting on 20-of-54 (37%) from the field. The Crusaders still struggled from behind the 3-point line, however, shooting under 30% from deep for the fifth time in seven games, hitting just 5-of-17 from downtown.
No Long Range Attack: The Crusaders have proven early this season to be one of the nation’s stingiest teams in terms of allowing 3-point attacks. Valpo’s opponents are shooting just .189 from behind the arc this year, the best mark in the Horizon League and good for fifth nationally. No opponent has connected on more than five 3-pointers to date either, while Valpo has surrendered just eight 3-pointers in its last three contests combined.
Earning League Honors: Sophomore Shaquira Scott showed little rust on the basketball court in her return after playing just 10 games last season due to injury. Scott was named the Horizon League Player of the Week following the first weekend of play after leading the Crusaders with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting in the win over IU. The sophomore was Valpo’s first player to earn weekly honors from the league office since Ashley Varner on Dec. 28, 2009.
Leading the Way: Junior Tabitha Gerardot, who led the Crusaders in scoring and finished second on the team in rebounding a year ago, has consistently been among Valpo’s leaders on a game-by-game basis this year. Gerardot has paced Valpo in scoring four times in the first six games, and has at least tied for team-high honors on the glass five times. The junior posted a double-double (18 pts, 12 rebs) against Purdue Calumet and has been in double figures in scoring in six of Valpo’s seven games. Last time out, Gerardot led Valpo in both categories, posting 12 points and nine rebounds.
Back in the Lineup: Senior guard Laura Richards, who averaged 37.5 minutes per game a season ago and was averaging over 33 minutes per game this year, returned to the starting lineup against Saint Louis after missing the last three games due to injury. Richards played 25 minutes in Saturday’s loss to the Billikens.
Lange Posts Big Game: Senior Gina Lange approached her career high last Tuesday at Western Illinois, finishing the night with a team-high 16 points, just two points off her career best. Lange, who is now averaging 7.1 points per game this year, also added a team-high eight rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end.