Valparaiso (3-6, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #10: Wednesday, December 19 - 6:00 p.m. CT
at Western Michigan (3-7, 0-0 MAC)
University Arena (5,421)
Game #11: Thursday, December 20 - 5:00 p.m. CT
at Michigan (9-2, 0-0 Big Ten)
Crisler Center (12,693)
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso women’s basketball team closes out the road portion of its non-conference schedule with a pair of games at Western Michigan (6 p.m. Wednesday) and Michigan (5 p.m. Thursday).
Last Time Out: The Valparaiso women's basketball team fell behind early and lost on the road to #8/8 Louisville 96-40. Tabitha Gerardot and Maegan Callaway each had nine points to lead the Crusaders. Gerardot also led the way with seven rebounds.
The Road Ahead: The Crusaders play their first home game in four weeks when they host Ball State at the Athletics-Recreation Center on Saturday, December 29 at 1:35 p.m.
Following the Crusaders: Both games will be broadcast live on WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso. Paul Oren and Andrew Stem will have the call on Wednesday, and Andrew Stem and Renee’ Turpa will be on Thursday’s call A link for the live audio, as well as live stats, will be available through www.valpoathletics.com. Thursday’s contest will also air on Big Ten Network (DirecTV - 610; Dish - 439), with Eric Collins and Mary Murphy on the call.
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: The Crusaders are 3-6 all-time against Western Michigan, with Valparaiso earning an 88-54 victory in the most-recent meeting on December 15, 1996. Valpo is 1-0 against Michigan, posting a 62-49 win over the Wolverines in the first round of the 2002 Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
Scouting Western Michigan: Western Michigan enters the game with a 3-7 record on the year. Last time out, the Broncos dropped a 60-41 decision to Michigan. Marquisha Harris scored eight points off the bench to lead Western Michigan. Aurielle Anderson paces the Broncos with 9.7 points per game, and Corie Buchanan adds 9.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest.
Scouting Michigan: The Wolverines enter Thursday’s game with a 9-2 mark. Kate Thompson leads Michigan with 15.8 points per game. Rachel Sheffer adds 13.1 points and Jenny Ryan chips in 11.3 points per contest. Nicole Elmblad is the leading rebounder with 6.7 per game. Thompson had a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards against Western Michigan. Brenae Harris had 11 points off the bench.
On the Road Again: The back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday end a string of four-straight road games for Valpo. This is the second four-game road stretch of the year and 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.
Long Road Trips: Valparaiso last played at home against Saint Louis on December 1. The Crusaders then embarked on their second stretch of four-straight road games. The trips are the Crusaders’ first and second stretches 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. The Crusaders are 4-22 against teams from the Big Ten, including 1-0 against Michigan.
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 +1.6 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 eight of its first nine games.
Sharing is Caring: The Crusaders currently rank fourth in the league in the early going in assists/game, averaging 14.2 helpers per contest, led by 3.8 assists per game from Charae Richardson. Each of its nine games have seen Valpo assist on at least half of its made field goals. Last time out against Louisville, Valpo tallied 13 assists on 17 field goals.
Connecting From the Floor: Valpo had its best game of the year from the floor against IPFW, converting on 27-of-54 (50%) from the field. The Crusaders hit 4-of-12 from behind the 3-point line.
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 .259 from behind the arc this year, the best mark in the Horizon League.
Earning League Honors I: 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.
Earning League Honors II: Junior Charae Richardson brought home Horizon League Newcomer of the Week honors in helping the Crusaders split games with IPFW and Louisville. Richardson tallied a career-high 15 points and tied a career-high with six assists against IPFW.
Leading the Way: 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 five times in the first nine games, and has at least tied for team-high honors on the glass seven times. The junior posted a double-double (18 pts, 12 rebs) against Purdue Calumet and has been in double figures in scoring in seven of Valpo’s nine games.
Lange Posts Big Game: Senior Gina Lange tied her career high at IPFW, finishing the night with a team-high 18 points. Lange, who is now averaging 8.2 points per game this year, also added a team-high six rebounds.