Welcome to Valparaiso
Valpo returns one starter from a squad that went 11-20 a season ago. Though junior Jessica Carr (Arcadia, Ind./Hamilton Heights) received the starting nod down the home stretch of 2012-13, fifth-year senior Charae Richardson (Lafayette, Ind./Jefferson [Vincennes]) is the lone returner with double digit starts. Head coach Tracey Dorow welcomes sisters Elizabeth and Annemarie Hamlet (McBain, Mich./McBain [Oakland]) from the Golden Grizzlies, the newest member of the Horizon League. Per NCAA rules, Annemarie will sit this season, but Elizabeth is eligible due to the fact she is pursuing a graduate degree at Valparaiso.
At 6'2'', Sharon Karungi (Kampala, Uganda/Northern Oklahoma College) represents an intriguing presence down low. Freshmen Faith Miller (Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne) and Aliyah Isaac (Richton Park, Ill./Marian Catholic) will compete for minutes right away. Isaac was a member of the 2013 Illinois State Champion Marian Spartans. The new crop of Crusaders will face the task of replacing 62.3% of the scoring and 71.5% of the boards.
17 of the team's 29 regular season games will be played away from Valparaiso in 2013-14. The Crusaders are faced with one of the toughest opening stretches of any team in the Horizon League. Saint Louis, Illinois, and Notre Dame all will host the Brown and Gold in a span of six days. Valpo held its own at the ARC, evidenced by a 9-5 record. The Crusaders will aim to improve on a road record that saw them win two road tilts last season.
Valpo will participate in two tournaments/invitationals during the regular season. The Crusaders will take their talents to South Beach over Thanksgiving when they compete in the FIU Thanksgiving Classic in Miami. The following weekend has Valpo in Toledo, Ohio for the Toledo Invite. The Brown and Gold are slated to face Chicago State in a matinee on Friday, Dec. 6th at Savage Arena before taking on the host Rockets in a Saturday evening matchup.
Overall, the 2013-14 schedule features out-of-conference dates with seven teams that won at least 19 games in 2012-13. The longest homestand for Valpo is three games (Dec. 13th, 29th, 31st).
With the addition of the aforementioned Karungi, the Crusaders boast three players 6'0'' or taller. Liz Horton (Cannelburg, Ind./Barr-Reeve) was named Most Improved Player last season. As a result, the senior will assume an enhanced role for a team that lost three six-footers from last year. Just as Horton can expect a raise in playing time, so will Jessi Wiedemann (Palatine, Ill./Fremd). As a freshman, Wiedemann saw time in every game and made four starts. Her 39.7% field goal percentage is tops amongst returners.