Valparaiso (10-19, 5-11 Horizon)
Game #30: Monday, March 11 - 7:00 p.m.
vs. UIC (9-20, 5-11 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000)
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso women’s basketball team opens postseason play on Monday when the Crusaders welcome UIC to the Athletics-Recreation Center at 7:00 p.m. for the first round of the Horizon League Tournament.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders outscored Detroit by 23 in the second half to turn a three-point halftime deficit into a 73-53 win on Saturday afternoon. Gina Lange scored a game-high 20 points on Senior Day, and fellow senior Laura Richards added six points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Tabitha Gerardot scored 14 points for Valpo, and Jessi Wiedemann added a career-best 13.
The Road Ahead: With a victory, Valparaiso will advance to the Horizon League Tournament quarterfinals. The Crusaders would face No. 1 seed Green Bay on the road at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday night at the Kress Events Center.
Following the Crusaders: The game will be broadcast live on the Horizon League Network with Paul Oren and Renee’ Turpa 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 (10-19) 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 20-18 all-time against UIC. Each team won its home floor, with the Flames winning 82-75 in Chicago on Jan. 19, and with the Crusaders taking the matchup at the ARC 88-62 on Feb. 16. Charae Richardson led the Crusaders in the first meeting with a career-best 18 points, while Terri Bender led the Flames with 22 points. Tabitha Gerardot had a double-double for Valpo in the second game with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Taylor Foulks led UIC with 14 points. Valpo outscored UIC 55-23 in the second half in the win.
Scouting UIC: The Titans enter the game with a 9-20 record (5-11 HL) on the year. Last time out, UIC lost to Loyola by a score of 78-68 on Saturday. Rachel Story led the Flames with 20 points. Taylor Foulks added 16 points. Story leads UIC with 15.6 points per game (6th HL). Katie Hannemann adds 14.0 points per game for Regina Miller’s team. Hannemann leads the Flames with 7.0 rebounds per game (9th HL). Hannemann’s .503 field-goal percentage is fifth-best in the Horizon League.
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 8-5 at the ARC this season. With eight 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 All-HL Second Team: Junior forward Tabitha Gerardot was a Second Team All-League choice when the league announced its award winners on Monday. Gerardot, who averaged 13.0 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per contest in 2011-2012, is averaging 15.0 points and 9.0 rebounds a game this season. She is one of six Horizon League players to rank in the top-10 in the league in both scoring and rebounding. Gerardot posted eight double-doubles in Horizon League play, and she finished seventh in scoring and fourth in rebounding. Her .828 free-throw percentage is third-best in the league.
Hitting the Glass: Valpo has excelled early in the rebounding tallies and currently ranks second in the Horizon League with a +5.1 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. In the win over Detroit, the Crusaders had a 42-27 advantage. Valparaiso has been active on the offensive glass, pulling down at least 11 offensive boards in 25 of their 29 games. The Crusaders rank second in the HL with 14.0 offensive rebounds per game. All 10 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 13.7 assists per contest. Valparaiso is led by 3.6 assists per game from Laura Richards and 3.3 from Charae Richardson. Richards is fourth in the HL with an assist/TO ratio of 2.0. This season, Valpo has assisted on at least half of its made field goals 25 times. The Crusaders dished out 18 assists on 27 hoops against Detroit. Richards led Valpo with five, and Shaquira Scott added four.
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, most recently for 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 13 times, and has at least tied for team-high honors on the glass 19 times. She has posted 10 double-doubles (23 career) and has been in double figures in scoring 20 times.
Surpassing Milestones: Tabitha Gerardot surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career against Wright State in January, and she grabbed her 700th career rebound against Detroit. She currently stands 9th on the all-time VU scoring list with 1,171 points, and she is fifth on the rebounding list with 701. She needs three boards to pass Amber Schober to move into fourth.
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 banked in a 3-pointer from just outside half court to beat the halftime buzzer.
Valpo in the HL Tournament: The Crusaders enter Monday’s game with a 1-5 record in Horizon League Tournament games. Valparaiso earned its first HL Tourney win by beating Milwaukee 47-39 in the first round last season. The Crusaders are 0-2 at the Athletics-Recreation Center in HL Tournament games. Valparaiso and UIC have never met in the HL Tournament. Valpo is 1-2 against the Flames in other conference tournaments, going 0-2 in the Mid-Continent Conference and 1-0 in the North Star Conference.