Valparaiso (3-8, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #12: Saturday, December 29 - 1:35 p.m. CT
vs. Ball State (3-9, 0-0 MAC)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000)
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso women’s basketball team returns to the Athletics-Recreation center for its first home game in four weeks when the Crusaders host in-state foe Ball State at 1:35 on Saturday afternoon.
Last Time Out: The Valparaiso women's basketball team trailed by just even early on at Michigan, but the Wolverines used a 12-0 run to open up a big lead and eventually won 73-32. Jessica Carr and Laura Richards and each had six points to lead the Crusaders.
The Road Ahead: The Crusaders continue their four-game homestand and close out the non-conference portion of their schedule when they host Northern Illinois on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 1:35 p.m.
Following the Crusaders: The game will be broadcast live on www.sportsjuice.com, with Joey Basil 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: The Crusaders are 6-10 all-time against Ball State, with Valparaiso earning a 67-53 victory in the most-recent meeting on December 18, 2011 at Worthen Arena in Muncie. Tabitha Gerardot scored 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds for Valparaiso, while Gina Lange added 11 points and eight boards. Jessica Carr scored 12 points for the Crusaders, who had five players put up double-figure point totals. Laura Richards had eight assists and five steals.
Scouting Ball State: Ball State enters the game with a 3-9 record on the year. Last time out, the Cardinals dropped a 64-61 decision to Wyoming. Katie Murphy scored 16 points to lead Ball State. Shelbie Justice added 15 points and Brittany Carter chipped in with 11. Nathalie Fontaine leads the Cardinals with 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest. Brandy Woody adds 10.9 points per game. The Cardinals have five players who average at least 8.1 points per game. Four Ball State players average more than 32 minutes per contest. The Cardinals are 1-0 against Horizon League teams, with a 73-64 overtime win against Detroit.
Finally back home: The back-to-back games against Western Michigan and Michigan ended 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. The Crusaders went 1-7 in those road games, beating IPFW 82-73 in Fort Wayne on December 4.
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.
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. The squad is comprised of four freshmen, three sophomores, three juniors and three seniors.
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 +0.3 average rebounding margin, which is one of only two positive margins in the league. 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 10 of its first 11 games. The Crusaders rank second in the Horizon League with 14.6 offensive rebounds per game.
Sharing is Caring: The Crusaders currently rank third in the league in the early going in assists/game, averaging 13.9 helpers per contest, led by 3.7 assists per game from Charae Richardson. Each of its 11 games have seen Valpo assist on at least half of its made field goals. Last time out against Michigan, Valpo tallied nine assists on 13 field goals.
Connecting From the Floor: Valpo had its best game of the year from the floor against Western Michigan, converting on 27-of-53 (.509) from the field. This was the second time the Crusaders made at least half of their field goal attempts, with the other coming in a 27-of-54 performance in the win at IPFW.
Setting a Record: The Crusaders were on the mark from behind the 3-point line against Western Michigan. Valparaiso shot 9-of-12 behind the arc against the Broncos, including three makes each from Liz Horton and Abby Dean. The .750 mark is the best team performance for a single game in school history.
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 11 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 7.9 points per game this year, also added a team-high six rebounds.
A Career Day: Liz Horton and Abby Dean both set career-best scoring marks against Western Michigan. Horton finished with 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting (3-of-3 behind the arc), while Dean tallied 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting (3-of-5 on 3-point attempts).