at Valparaiso (2-2)
Game #5 – Friday, Nov. 25 – 5 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team welcomes Liberty for a post-Thanksgiving meeting that features no shortage of compelling storylines on Friday. First-year Valpo assistant coach and former Liberty star Megan Leuzinger will face off with her alma mater. In addition, it will be a family affair for Valpo head coach Tracey Dorow, whose sister is Liberty assistant coach Andy Bloodworth.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders reached the 100-point mark for the first time since Dec. 30, 2014 by walloping NAIA foe IU Kokomo 102-47 in the regular season home opener. The Crusaders received double-figure scoring performances from Dani Franklin, Amber Lindfors and Haylee Thompson. Valpo shot 56.1 percent while limiting the Cougars to 25.8 percent shooting. Valpo outrebounded IU Kokomo 48-33 and won the turnover battle 18-9.
Following the Crusaders: Friday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app. Parker Gatewood will handle play-by-play, with Renee’ Turpa providing color commentary. Links to live video and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Tracey Dorow: Tracey Dorow (35-92) 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: Friday marks the first ever meeting between Valpo and Liberty.
We Are Family
- Valpo head coach Tracey Dorow will face her sister, Liberty assistant coach Andy Bloodworth, for the first time with the Crusaders.
- Dorow and Bloodworth did face off when both were in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Bloodworth was an assistant coach at Gannon, while Dorow was the head coach at Ferris State.
- Bloodworth spent two seasons on Valpo’s staff in 2005-06 and 2006-07. She served as the recruiting coordinator, worked with perimeter players and assisted with scouting. The Crusaders went 36-24 during her two seasons, and six Valpo players earned all-Mid-Continent Conference recognition during those two campaigns.
- Bloodworth got her start in coaching as an assistant for the 1998-99 Ferris State team under the direction of Dorow.
- Dorow and Bloodworth played together for one season at St. Joseph High School when Dorow was a senior and Bloodworth was a freshman. They were also college teammates during the 1993-94 season at Northern Michigan.
- Rick Bloodworth, the father of Dorow and Bloodworth, spent 31 years as the head girls basketball coach at St. Joseph High School in Michigan and 19 years as the head women’s basketball coach at Lake Michigan College.
The Megan (Frazee) Leuzinger File
- Friday will present Valpo assistant coach Megan Leuzinger with the opportunity to face off with her alma mater.
- Leuzinger holds the Flames Division-I record for career scoring average at 18.5 points per game.
- She also owns school records in career free-throw percentage (.805) and single season free-throw percentage (.878, 2008).
- San Antonio selected Leuzinger as the 14th pick of the 2009 WNBA Draft.
- One of three triplets, Leuzinger played with sisters Molly and Moriah at Liberty.
- Liberty Director of Basketball Operations Sarah Boruta is another link between the two programs. She spent three seasons serving in the same capacity under Dorow at Ferris State.
- Five of the 10 Horizon League teams have now scored 100 or more points in a game at least once this season.
- The Crusaders are holding opponents to 33.1 percent shooting, the second-best mark in the conference.
- Valpo is the top 3-point shooting team in the league at 43.8 percent.
- After giving up 74 turnovers in the first three games, the Crusaders made only nine in Wednesday’s win over IU Kokomo.
- Valpo received a balanced effort on Monday, with 12 players notching points in the win.
- Imani Scott-Thompson made her season debut after missing the first three contests while recovering from illness. She posted seven points in seven minutes.
- Amber Lindfors scored 13 points and hauled in 12 rebounds, capturing Valpo’s first double-double this season. She established a new career high in boards, bettering her previous best of 11, set a year ago against IU Kokomo.
- Haylee Thompson poured in 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting to equal her career watermark.
- Dani Franklin ranks first on the team and second in the league in scoring at 20.5 points per game.
- Hannah Schaub is atop the Horizon League in assists at 5.5 per contest.
Inside the Crusaders
- In its 45th season, Valpo is 514-609 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 Flames
- The Flames lost nine players and 90.6 percent of their scoring to graduation after last season.
- Liberty enters Friday’s matchup seeking its first win of the season after losses to Duke, James Madison and Appalachian State.
- Liberty and Appalachian State were tied at 42 after three quarters, but Appalachian State pulled away for a 66-57 triumph. The Flames led by 14 points early in the second half. Liberty racked up 21 offensive rebounds and won the battle on the boards 49-38.
- The Flames appeared in the WNIT a year ago, falling 67-51 to Villanova in the first round.
- Liberty is led in scoring by Molly Reagan, who is averaging 7.3 points per game on 9-of-12 shooting.
- Friday’s game will be Liberty’s first road tilt of the season.
- Liberty was picked to finish fourth in the Big South preseason poll. This marked the first time since 1996-97 Liberty is outside of the top two in the poll. UNC Asheville is predicted to win the league, followed by Radford and High Point.
- The team’s roster features seven freshman and junior college transfer Nene Johnson.
- Current players had five career starts prior to this season. Audrey Rettstatt is the only player on the roster who had ever scored in double figures in a game before this season. She’s the lone senior on the squad.
- Liberty ranks last in the 10-team Big South in scoring margin (minus-27.7), free-throw percentage (53.0), field goal percentage (28.8), 3-point field-goal percentage (18.9), assists per game (7.3), turnover margin (minus-10), assists to turnover ratio (0.3) and 3-pointers made per game (3.3).
- The Flames lead the Big South with 17.7 offensive rebounds per game.
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green
- In his 18th season at Liberty and has compiled a .741 winning percentage (403-141) through his first 17 years.
- Ranks 13th among active NCAA Division I coaches in terms of winning percentage.
- Has guided his team to 13 Big South championships and NCAA Tournament appearances.
- Has been in the postseason on 27 occasions (24 NCAA, 3 WNIT) including his 12 years as an assistant at Clemson.
- The Flames have won 20 games or more in 15 of his 17 seasons at the helm.
- Valpo assistant coach Megan (Frazee) Leuzinger was the second player during his tenure to be selected in the WNBA draft.
- One of three team captains for the 2016-17 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.
- 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.
- Hit a buzzer-beating layup to defeat Chicago State on Nov. 16, 2016.
- 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. Tied with UIC’s KiKi Bynes (Nov. 17 vs. Robert Morris) for the most assists in a single game in the Horizon League this season.
- Contributed a season-high eight points on Nov. 21 against IU Kokomo.
- One of three team captains for the 2016-2017 season.
- Appeared in 10 games as a freshman and nine games as a sophomore. Has seen 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 in the season opener.
- Rose up to the competition last season against Louisville on Dec. 5, 2015, 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.
- Sat out the first three games of the season due to illness.
- Made her season debut on Nov. 21 against IU Kokomo and turned in seven points.
- 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 last season (Miami of Ohio, IU Northwest, Cleveland State), becoming the first player in program history to notch six blocks or more in three different games.
- At 6-foot-4, she is the tallest Crusader since Stefani Lang (2010-2012).
- Turned in eight points and hauled in eight rebounds in the season opener at Stetson on Nov. 12.
- Matched a career high with six blocks on Nov. 16 against Chicago State. That 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.
- The six blocks were the most in a single game by any player in the Horizon League so far this season.
- Reached double figures with 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting on Nov. 16 against Chicago State. The 11 points marked a career high against Division-I opposition.
- Scored 13 points and hauled in 12 rebounds on Nov. 21 against IU Kokomo, notching Valpo’s first double-double this season and third of Lindfors’ career. She established a new career high in boards, bettering her previous best of 11, set a year ago against IU Kokomo.
- 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.
- 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.
- The 34-point night is the best individual scoring performance in the Horizon League so far this season.
- 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.
- Scored 24 points on Nov. 21 against IU Kokomo.
- 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.
- Matched a career high with 16 points on Nov. 21 against IU Kokomo.
- 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.
- Established a career high with nine points at Illinois State on Nov. 19
- 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.
- Doubled that scoring output with two points, both on free throws, on Nov. 19 at Illinois State.
- Made the first field goal of her collegiate career on Nov. 21 against IU Kokomo.
- 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.
- Sat out Saturday’s game at Illinois State due to injury.
- Scored the first points of her collegiate career with two free throws on Nov. 21 against IU Kokomo.
- 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.
- Had a career day with nine points and seven rebounds on 3-of-6 shooting on Nov. 19 at Illinois State.
- 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.