Valparaiso (8-13, 3-5 Horizon)
Game #22: Wednesday, February 13 - 7 p.m.
at Loyola (Chicago) (8-13, 3-5 Horizon)
Gentile Arena (5,200)
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso women’s basketball team opens the second half of Horizon League play and finishes up a two-game road with a visit to Chicago to play Loyola at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night.
Last Time Out: The Cruaders led by as many as 12 in the first half and had an eight-point lead at halftime, but Detroit outscored Valpo by 17 in the second half to get a 70-61 win on Saturday. Shaquira Scott scored a team-high 16 points, while Tabitha Gerardot added 10. Laura Richards had a season-best 10 points and dished out seven assists.
The Road Ahead: The Crusaders open a two-game home stand on Saturday, Feb. 16 when they host UIC at 1:05 p.m. at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Following the Crusaders: The game will be broadcast live on WVUR-FM, 95.1, Valparaiso, with Andrew Stem and Renee’ Turpa on the call. A link for the live audio, as well as video from the Horizon League Network, and live stats, will be available through www.valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach Tracey Dorow: Tracey Dorow (8-13) 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 18-4 all-time against Loyola. The Ramblers won the meeting earlier this season, coming away with a 52-44 victory at the ARC on Jan. 16. Valpo twice trimmed a 12-point deficit to one but could not take the lead in the second half. Tabitha Gerardot led Valpo with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Taylor Johnson finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and six assists to lead the Ramblers.
Scouting Loyola: The Ramblers enter the game with an 8-13 record (3-5 HL) on the year. Last time out, Loyola beat Cleveland State 79-78 on Saturday. Troy Hambric made two free throws with 0.1 seconds left to give the Ramblers the win. Loyola had four players in double figures, led by Simone Law with 25 off the bench. Taylor Johnson had 19, while Hambric added 12 and Monica Albano had 11. Law leads Loyola with 14.4 points per game. Johnson adds 14.0 and Albano scores 13.9 per game. Law is also tops on Eric Simpson’s squad with 9.1 rebounds per game.
Home Sweet Home: Valparaiso opened the season by playing eight of its first 11 games on the road. While the road hasn’t been kind to the Crusaders, they have hit their stride at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Valparaiso is 6-3 at the ARC this season, including three wins during a four-game home stand. With six home wins, Valpo has matched last season’s win total at the ARC.
Winning Her Debut: Head coach Tracey Dorow made her regular season debut a winning one on 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.
Gerardot Named Preseason Second Team: Junior forward Tabitha Gerardot was a preseason Second Team All-League choice, and she is earning those accolades. Gerardot, who averaged 13.0 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per contest in 2011-2012, averages 15.0 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. She is one of four Horizon League players to rank in the top-10 in the league in both scoring and rebounding. With 18 points against Wright State, Gerardot passed the 1,000-point mark for her career. She is 12th on the VU all-time scoring list with 1,050.
Hitting the Glass: Valpo has excelled early in the rebounding tallies and currently ranks second in the Horizon League with a +4.0 average rebounding margin. The Crusaders out-rebounded Indiana in their season opener by 12 boards. Valparaiso had a 47-27 rebounding edge in the win over Ball State and out-rebounded Youngstown State 46-22. Against Cleveland State, Valpo had a 54-35 rebounding edge. The Crusaders especially have been active on the offensive boards, pulling down at least 11 offensive rebounds in 18 of their 21 games. Valpo ranks second in the HL with 13.8 offensive rebounds per game. All eight Crusader wins have come when they have out-rebounded their opponents.
Down but Not Out: Twice this season, Valparaiso has rallied from first-half deficits of at least 15 points to come back and pick up the win. Against Ball State, the Crusaders trailed 27-8 and outscored the Cardinals 50-26 the rest of the way to win 58-53. Against Youngstown State, Valpo trailed 34-19 before finishing the game on 48-25 run to claim a 67-59 win.
Sharing is Caring: The Crusaders currently average 13.9 assists per contest. Valparaiso is led by 3.7 assists per game from Laura Richards and 3.5 from Charae Richardson. Richards is second in the Horizon League with an assist/TO ratio of 2.2. This season, Valpo has assisted on at least half of its made field goals 20 times in 21 games. Last time out against Detroit, Valpo had 13 assists on 25 hoops, with Richards leading the way with seven.
Connecting From the Floor: Valpo had its best game of the year from the floor against Youngstown State, converting on 23-of-44 (.523) shots from the field. This was the fifth time the Crusaders made at least half of their field goal attempts, with the others coming in a 27-of-53 performance against Western Michigan, a 27-of-54 performance in the win at IPFW, a 28-of-56 showing at UIC and a 29-of-57 performance in the win at Milwaukee.
Earning League Honors I: Junior Tabitha Gerardot has won Horizon League Player of the Week honors three times this season, including being the most recent honoree for posting a pair of double-doubles against Wright State and Cleveland State. Gerardot put up 18 points and 10 rebounds against the Raiders, and then she bettered that with 32 points and a career-high 19 boards in a win over the Vikings. Gerardot was honored earlier this season for posting double-doubles against Ball State (Dec. 29) and Youngstown State (Jan. 12). Against the Cardinals, Gerardot totaled 28 points and 17 rebounds, and she had 26 points and 17 rebounds against the Penguins.
Earning League Honors II: Junior Charae Richardson has twice brought home Horizon League Newcomer of the Week honors this season. Most recently, she won for totaling 16 points and six rebounds in the win over NIU.
Earning League Honors III: Sophomore Shaquira Scott was named the Horizon League Player of the Week after leading Valpo 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: 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 nine times, and has at least tied for team-high honors on the glass 13 times. She has posted seven double-doubles (20 career) and has been in double figures in scoring 14 times.
Terrific Trio: Tabitha Gerardot, Shaquira Scott and Charae Richardson did the bulk of the scoring in Valpo’s win at Milwaukee. The three combined for 69 of VU’s 84 points, with Gerardot totaling 33 (career-high), Scott 22 (career-high) and Richardson 14.
A Career Day: Gina Lange set a career-high in points by scoring 24 against Cleveland State, including the tying basket with 0.6 seconds left in regulation. The senior, who is third in the Horizon League in field goal percentage, was 11-of-15 from the floor.
Excelling in League Play: The Crusaders have turned things up a notch in Horizon League games, scoring 68.0 points per game (4th) and have the second-best field goal percentage at .452 (203-of-449). Valpo is the top rebounding team in HL games (41.0 per game) and also leads the league with a +7.5 rebounding margin. Tabitha Gerardot, who has posted five double-doubles in eight HL games, is second in scoring in conference games (19.0) and second in rebounding (11.0). Gina Lange has a league-best field goal percentage of .600 (39-of-65) in Horizon League contests, and Charae Richardson’s .909 (30-of-33) free-throw percentage is third-best in the league.