Valparaiso (9-16, 4-8 Horizon)
Game #26: Thursday, February 28 - 7:05 p.m.
vs. Wright State (10-16, 4-9 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000)
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso women’s basketball team returns home to begin a stretch of three games in five days when the Crusaders host Wright State at the Athletics-Recreation Center at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday.
Last Time Out: #25/RV Green Bay led from the outset, holding Valparaiso to 13 points in the first half and won 80-38. Shaquira Scott led the Crusaders with nine points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Jessica Carr added seven points, while Charae Richardson and Gina Lange chipped in five points apiece.
The Road Ahead: The Crusaders hit the road for a two-game road swing through Ohio, beginning with a visit to Cleveland State at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday Mar. 2.
Following the Crusaders: The game will be broadcast live on the Horizon League Network with Joey Basil and Seth Strelow on the call. A link for the live video and live stats will be available through www.valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach Tracey Dorow: Tracey Dorow (9-16) 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 had 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 12-9 all-time against Wright State. The Raiders claimed the meeting earlier this season, winning 67-66 on Jan. 31. Kim Demmings scored the winning basket for Wright State with 6.3 seconds left. Tabitha Gerardot had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead Valpo. Charae Richardson added 17 points, and Jessi Wiedemann chipped in with nine. Gina Lange grabbed 11 boards. Demmings led Wright State with 23 points. KC Elkins totaled 17, while Ivory James had 13 and Breanna Stucke 11.
Scouting Wright State: The Raiders enter the game with a 10-16 record (4-9 HL) on the year. Last time out, Wright State lost to Milwaukee 74-61 on Saturday for its sixth-straight loss. Kim Demmings led the Raiders with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Ivory James added nine points and Tayler Stanton had eight. Demmings leads WSU with 19.7 points per game, which is third-best in the HL. James (11.1) and KC Elkins (11.0) also average in double-figures for Mike Bradbury’s team. Stanton leads the Raiders with 7.8 rebounds per game, which is 7th-best in the HL, while Breanna Stucke adds 6.6 boards (9th-best in the HL).
Sweet Home ARC: 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 7-4 at the ARC this season, including three wins during a mid-season homestand. With seven home wins, Valpo has surpassed last season’s win total (six) 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, is averaging 14.5 points and 8.7 rebounds a 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 in January, Gerardot passed the 1,000-point mark for her career. She is ninth on the VU all-time scoring list with 1,098. She was recently named Horizon League Female Scholar-Athlete of the month for January.
Hitting the Glass: Valpo has excelled early in the rebounding tallies and currently ranks second in the Horizon League with a +4.9 average rebounding margin. Valparaiso had a 47-27 rebounding edge in the win over Ball State and out-rebounded Youngstown State 46-22. The Crusaders had a 48-27 advantage against UIC. Against Cleveland State, Valpo had a 54-35 rebounding edge. Valparaiso has been active on the offensive glass, pulling down at least 11 offensive boards in 22 of their 25 games. The Crusaders rank second in the HL with 14.1 offensive rebounds per game. All nine Valpo wins have come when they have out-rebounded their opponents.
Comeback Kids: Three times this season, Valparaiso has rallied from first-half deficits of at least 11 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. Valpo trailed UIC 23-12 and then outscored the Flames 76-39 over the final 28 minutes to win 88-62.
Sharing is Caring: The Crusaders currently average 13.6 assists per contest. Valparaiso is led by 3.6 assists per game from Laura Richards and 3.3 from Charae Richardson. Richards is third in the HL with an assist/TO ratio of 2.2. This season, Valpo has assisted on at least half of its made field goals 23 times.
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 11 times, and has at least tied for team-high honors on the glass 15 times. She has posted eight double-doubles (21 career) and has been in double figures in scoring 17 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: Freshman Lexi Miller set a number of career-highs in Valpo’s 88-62 win over UIC. Miller scored a career-best 13 points, and she also totaled career-highs in field goals (four), 3-pointers (three) and assists (three). She also banked-in a 3-pointer from 50 feet to just beat the halftime buzzer.
Excelling in League Play: The Crusaders have turned things up a notch in Horizon League games, scoring 66.6 points per game (4.8 more than in all games) and have the third-best field goal percentage at .425 (291-of-685). Valpo is the top rebounding team in HL games (41.5 per game) and also leads the league with a +8.1 rebounding margin. Tabitha Gerardot, who has posted six double-doubles in 12 HL games, is fifth in scoring in conference games (16.7) and second in rebounding (10.0). Gina Lange’s field goal percentage of .581 (50-of-86) in Horizon League contests is second-best in the league, and Charae Richardson’s .907 (39-of-43) free-throw percentage is tops in the league.