at Illinois State (1-1)
Game #3 – Saturday, Nov. 19 – 1 p.m. CT
Redbird Arena (10,500) – Bloomington, Ill.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team rounds out its three-game season-opening road swing on Saturday afternoon in Bloomington, Ill. as the Crusaders battle Illinois State.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders flashed a flair for the dramatic in Wednesday’s game at Chicago State. They dug a 10-point halftime hole after being outscored 18-4 in the second quarter, but showed their resiliency to bounce back for a 53-51 win. Dani Franklin knocked down a 3-pointer with 14.6 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 51, then Meredith Hamlet beat the buzzer with a layup to send the Valpo bench into a state of jubilation. Franklin finished with a game-high 17 points, while Amber Lindfors established her career high against Division-I opposition with 11 points while matching a career watermark with six boards.
Following the Crusaders: Saturday’s game will be broadcast on Valpo’s flagship radio station, 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Jake Wulbert will have play-by-play, with Brandon Vickrey adding color commentary. The game will also be broadcast on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app courtesy of Illinois State Athletics. Links to live audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Tracey Dorow: Tracey Dorow (34-91) is in her fifth season at the helm of the Valparaiso women’s basketball program in 2016-17. She collected her 250th career victory on Nov. 14, 2014 with a 91-57 win over Butler. In her first season, Dorow led the Crusaders to 11 victories, including five in Horizon League play. Dorow arrived in Valparaiso after 14 seasons at Ferris State. She compiled a 232-163 record while with the Bulldogs. Ferris State posted the No. 1 grade point average in all of Division II for the 1999-2000 women’s basketball season as well as the No. 2 ranking in 2002-03.
Series Notes: The Crusaders and Redbirds will lock horns for the first time since the 2000-01 season and just the fourth time ever on Saturday afternoon. Illinois State has achieved victories in two of the three meetings. The first matchup between the two squads occurred on Jan. 4, 1980, when Valpo head coach Wendy Miller’s team fell 84-35 as part of the Missouri Tournament in Columbia, Mo. The Crusaders made the trip to Bloomington on Dec. 19, 1999 and earned a 74-60 win. Valpo dropped the most recent meeting on Dec. 22, 2000 at the ARC, 60-56.
- Amber Lindfors matched a career high with six blocks on Wednesday against Chicago State. Wednesday marked the fourth time she’s blocked six shots in a game in her Valpo career. There have only been 10 individual six-block performances in Valpo history, and four of them belong to Lindfors. The six blocks in a single game ties for third in program history.
- Lindfors also reached double figures with 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting. The 11 points marked a career high against Division-I opposition.
- Dani Franklin leads the Horizon League in scoring (25.5 ppg) and 3-pointers made (8), while Hannah Schaub is the league leader in assists per game (6.5 ) and assists-turnover ratio (4.3).
- The Crusaders have a chance to notch their second win on Saturday. A year ago, win No. 2 didn’t come until Dec. 12.
- The Crusaders can get off to a 2-1 start for the second time in the last three years with a victory over the Redbirds.
- Valpo ranks second in the Horizon League in field goal percentage at 45.0 and leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage at 51.6. The Crusaders rank 10th in rebounding margin at minus-7 and ninth in turnover margin at minus-7.5.
- This marks just the third time since 1992 Valpo has started the season with three consecutive true road games. They went 0-3 on both prior occasions.
- This marks Tracey Dorow's first return to Illinois State, where she played during her collegiate days.
Inside the Crusaders
- In its 45th season, Valpo is 513-609 all-time.
- Valpo has made two NCAA Tournament appearances (2002-03, 2003-04) and earned one WNIT berth (2001-02).
- The Crusaders have had more all-freshman team honorees in the last two years (3) than they did in the previous 12 seasons combined (2).
- Valpo reached double-figure wins for the first time since 2012-2013 a year ago with 10 victories. They also captured five league wins for the first time since ’12-13.
- Valpo has seven players on the roster listed at 6-foot or taller. The last time Valpo had that many players measure in at 6-foot or taller was the 2010-11 season.
- The five freshmen are also Valpo’s most since 2010-11.
Valpo in the Horizon League
- Since joining the Horizon League in 2007-08, Valpo is 49-108.
- Valpo has had one first team all-league selection (Launa Hochstetler, 2008-09) and two second team all-league players (Agnieszka Kulaga, 2007-08; Tabitha Gerardot, 2012-13).
- Valpo also boasts five representatives on the all-newcomer team (Lauren Kenney, 2008-09; Gerardot, 2010-11; Dani Franklin, 2014-15; Jasmyn Walker, 2014-15; Meredith Hamlet 2015-16), an all-defensive team member (Laura Richards, 2011-12), one Freshman of the Year (Franklin, 2014-15) and one Sixth Player of the Year (Franklin, 2014-15).
Inside the Redbirds
- The Redbirds have already defeated one Horizon League squad this week, as their most recent game was a 59-52 victory over UIC on Monday. Taylor Stewart scored 19 points, 14 of which came in the first half. She knocked down a career-high four 3-pointers. Brechelle Beachum came off the bench to score 15 points and made a career-high five field goals.
- Illinois State shot just 33.9 percent from the field and 8-of-26 from beyond the arc on Monday. They were outrebounded by the Flames 54-33, but did force 21 turnovers and held UIC to a 32.2 percent shooting performance.
- This is one of the few teams on Valpo’s schedule with a younger roster than the Crusaders. Illinois State features six freshmen, three sophomores, one junior and two seniors.
- The Redbirds were picked to finish eighth of 10 in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll.
- They lost their top three scorers from a year ago, but do return two starters in sophomore guards Katrina Beck (5.9 ppg) and Viria Livingston (5.5 ppg).
- The three graduated starters combined to average 30.5 points per game, 52.4 percent of Illinois State’s scoring.
- Illinois State holds a 26-19 record against current members of the Horizon League.
- Through two games, Illinois State ranks last (10th) in the MVC in scoring offense (49.5 ppg) and rebounding margin (-22.5). They lead the league in blocked shots (5.5 bpg), rank second in field goal percentage defense (.373) and third in scoring defense (64.0 ppg).
- Stewart ranks ninth in the league and first on the team in scoring at 13.5 ppg.
Illinois State Coach Barb Smith
- Fourth year at Illinois State.
- 31st year as a Division I collegiate coach
- Spent the 2012-13 season at Saint Louis as associate head coach.
- Helped lead Minnesota to a 115-75 record and five postseason appearances.
- Spent two seasons at the University of California-Berkeley.
- Head coach at San Diego State from 1997-2002.
- Played collegiately at Ohio State.
- One of three team captains for the 2016-2017 season. Holds the rare distinction of serving in that capacity as a sophomore.
- Named to Horizon League all-freshman team last year.
- Finished in double figures 16 times a year ago and is Valpo’s leading returning scorer at 10.6 points per game.
- Poured in 21 points (8-13 FG) in the Crusaders’ 94-91 Horizon League Tournament win over Detroit on March 10, 2016. Her 71.4 percent 3-point performance in that contest tied for 10th in program history.
- Exploded for 29 points at Northern Kentucky on Dec. 30, 2015. Went 10-of-11 shooting, the third-highest single-game field goal percentage in program history.
- Started in all 31 contests as a freshman, one of three Crusaders to start every game during the 2015-16 season.
- Made 69 3-pointers last season, tying for the fifth most in a single season in school history. In addition, she set the record for the most 3-pointers by a freshman.
- Hit a buzzer-beating layup to beat Chicago State on Nov. 16, 2016.
- Older sisters Annemarie and Elizabeth also played for Tracey Dorow at Valpo.
- Reached double figures for the 17th time in her Valpo career on Nov. 12 at Stetson, scoring 12 points.
- Led the team in steals (32) and assists (101) last season.
- Had multiple assists in 11 of her last 12 games to close the 2015-2016 campaign.
- Appeared in all 31 games and made 28 starts as a freshman.
- Went 5-for-7 from beyond the arc on Nov. 28, 2015 against Northern Colorado, tying for the 10th best 3-point field goal percentage in a single game in program history.
- Dish out eight assists in this year’s season opener at Stetson on Nov. 12.
- One of three team captains for the 2016-2017 season.
- Appeared in 10 games as a freshman and nine games as a sophomore. Expected to see an uptick in playing time this season.
- Racked up a career-high seven assists on Nov. 12 at Stetson. After playing no more than nine minutes in any one game a year ago, she played 22 minutes off the bench.
- Rose up to the competition last season against Louisville on Dec. 5, leading the team with 12 points.
- Set the NJCAA record for 3-pointers in a single season (143) in 2014-15 at Dakota College at Bottineau.
- Finished the 2015-16 season with 71 blocks, the second most in a single season in program history.
- Was the first Crusader to reach 70 blocks in a single season since Michelle Mader in 1991-1992.
- Led the Horizon League with 2.4 blocks per game.
- Blocked six shots in a game on three separate occasions (Miami of Ohio, IU Northwest, Cleveland State), becoming the first player in program history to notch six blocks or more in three different games.
- Made 29 starts as a freshman last season.
- At 6-foot-4, she is the tallest Crusader since Stefani Lang (2010-2012).
- Had eight points and a team-high 11 rebounds in the exhibition against Indianapolis on Nov. 3.
- Turned in eight points and hauled in eight rebounds in the season opener at Stetson on Nov. 12.
- One of three team captains for the 2016-2017 season.
- Played in all 31 games last season as a sophomore, coming off the bench on each occasion. Made three starts as a freshman. She’s a regular starter for the first time this season.
- Horizon League Freshman of the Year and Sixth Player of the Year in 2014-15.
- Shot 43.3 percent from 3-point range as a freshman in 2014-2015, the fourth best single-season mark in program history.
- Led the way with 13 points in the exhibition game against Indianapolis on Nov. 3.
- Set a career high and notched Valpo’s best individual scoring performance since 1992 and fifth-best in program history with 34 points at Stetson on Nov. 12.
- Franklin bested her previous career high by nine points, a mark that was established on Dec. 30, 2014 against Purdue Calumet and matched on Feb. 11, 2016 against Oakland.
- Only two players in program history have reached the 34-point mark before Franklin. Debbie Bolen did so three times, while Stephanie Greer owns the all-time single-game scoring record with 39 in 1990.
- Franklin went 12-of-19 shooting and 5-of-7 from 3-point range. The .714 single-game 3-point shooting percentage tied for 10th in program history. The 12 made field-goals and five made 3-pointers marked career bests.
- In the first half on Nov. 12 against Stetson, Valpo went on an 11-0 run during which Franklin scored all 11 points.
- Appeared in 13 games as a freshman a year ago.
- A four-year letterwinner at Heritage Christian High School, where she led the Eagles in 3-point shooting and free throw shooting every season. The team went 57-4 with her in the starting lineup.
- Made her first appearance of the season at Chicago State on Nov. 16.
- The longest-tenured Crusader as she enters her fourth season with the program. Only her third year playing after sitting out one season due to transfer rules.
- Came to the Crusaders from Utah State.
- Led the team in field goal percentage at 51.9 percent last season.
- Missed the exhibition game against Indianapolis with concussion-like symptoms. Returned to the court in time for the season opener at Stetson on Nov. 12.
- The lone freshman in the starting lineup for each of Valpo’s first two games this season.
- Father Scott Morrison is a former Valparaiso men’s basketball player.
- Second-team all-state last season after averaging 16.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game at Glenbrook South High School.
- Started her first collegiate game on Nov. 12 at Stetson, scoring six points and notched three rebounds in 29 minutes.
- Had seven rebounds on Nov. 16 against Chicago State, matching Dani Franklin for the team high.
- Scored 16.1 points per game at Cathedral last season.
- Received honorable mention all-state recognition as a senior in high school.
- Made her Valpo debut on Nov. 11 at Stetson, playing three minutes.
- Scored her first collegiate point on Nov. 16, making a free throw in the win over Chicago State.
- Had 17.1 points per game at Highland High School in Ohio before having her season cut short by an ACL injury.
- Collected honorable mention all-state accolades her senior season.
- Made her Valpo debut on Nov. 16 against Chicago State, seeing three minutes of action off the bench.
- Illinois Basketball Coaches Association first-team all-state selection last year.
- Averaged 18.1 points per game at Cissna Park High School as a senior.
- Scored two points and had two rebounds in 13 minutes in her Valpo debut on Nov. 12 at Stetson.
- Averaged 19.2 points, 3.2 assists and 4.7 rebounds at Westview last year.
- Was named all-state by both the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association and the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.
- Scored nine points at Stetson on Nov. 12, marking the third straight year a Valpo freshman has score nine points or more on opening night. Meredith Hamlet and Dani Franklin did so each of the last two seasons, and both went on to make the Horizon League all-freshman team.
- Knocked down three 3s in her Crusader debut, becoming the first player to do so since Annemarie Hamlet in 2014. Hales became the first freshman to pour in three 3s in a season opener in the last decade.
- Sat out the 2015-2016 season after transferring from Saint Joseph’s College.
- Out with injury.