at Detroit Mercy (4-7)
Game No. 12 – Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016 – 4 p.m. CT
Calihan Hall (8,295) – Detroit, Mich.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: After matching its highest nonleague win total since joining the Horizon League, the Valparaiso University women’s basketball team turns the page to conference play on Thursday for the first of back-to-back games in the state of Michigan. The Crusaders crack up conference activity against Detroit Mercy, a team seeking revenge after Valpo ended its season with an upset win in the Horizon League quarterfinals a year ago.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders closed out the nonleague portion of the schedule with a 67-56 loss to Bradley on Dec. 19. Since, they’ve had nine consecutive days away from game competition during the Christmas holiday. Four Crusaders scored in double figures against the Braves, led by Meredith Hamlet with 13 points and Grace Hales with a career-high 10.
Following the Crusaders: Thursday’s Horizon League opener and every game for the remainder of the season will be available on ESPN3, WatchESPN.com and the ESPN app. In addition, the hometown call of Thursday’s game will be available via UStream with David Horak providing play-by-play and Brandon Vickrey adding color commentary. Links to live video, audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Tracey Dorow: Tracey Dorow (38-96) 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. Last year, Valpo again reached a double-figure win total by notching 10 triumphs, including an upset of Detroit Mercy in the Horizon League Tournament. 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 most recent meeting between the two teams was one of the most dramatic and exciting games during Tracey Dorow’s coaching tenure. The Crusaders prevailed 94-91 in double overtime on March 10 in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Horizon League Tournament. The Crusaders shot 57.1 percent as a team in the game. Detroit Mercy owns a 15-10 lead in the all-time series dating back to 1989. The Titans won both regular season showdowns a year ago.
- Valpo is 2-2 in Horizon League openers in the first four seasons under Dorow. The Crusaders notched a memorable 61-60 victory over Northern Kentucky in last year’s league lidlifter.
- The Dec. 29 start to the conference season is Valpo’s earliest Horizon League opener since 2011-2012.
- The Crusaders committed just 12 turnovers to Bradley’s 14 on Dec. 19, marking the first time this season they’ve won the turnover battle against a Division-I opponent. The dozen turnovers against the Braves marked the second-lowest total for Valpo this season, with the lowest (10) coming against NAIA foe IU Kokomo.
- Valpo had only eight offensive rebounds against Bradley, snapping a stretch of seven straight games with at least 10 offensive boards.
- Dani Franklin is one point away from 900 for her career. She currently sits 19th on Valpo’s all-time scoring list and is 21 points away from Sarah Schmoyer (1992-96), who is 18th.
- Franklin leads the Horizon League and ranks among the national leaders in free throw percentage at 95.8 percent. She is the only player in the nation with at least 45 free throw attempts and two misses or fewer.
- Georgi Donchetz is two points away from 100 for her career, while Amber Lindfors is three away from 200.
- Valpo assistant coach John Motherwell coached at Detroit Mercy during the 2013-14 season.
- In its 45th season, Valpo is 517-613 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 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 Titans
- Picked to finish second in the Horizon League behind only Green Bay this year after being projected seventh before the 2015-16 campaign.
- Led in scoring by Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year Rosanna Reynolds, who averages 16.7 points per game.
- Committed 24 turnovers in a 72-66 loss to Toledo on Dec. 21.
- Top rebounder is Kelsey Mitchell, who pulls down 6.7 boards per contest. She’s played in every game but made her first start of the year against Toledo on Dec. 21.
- Returned all eight letterwinners from last season and added five newcomers.
- Nicole Urbanick played at least 27 minutes in each of the first 10 games of the season, but did not appear in Detroit Mercy’s most recent game, Dec. 21 against Toledo. She is averaging 10.0 points per game, third on the team.
- Reynolds became the seventh player in school history to reach 1,400 points and moved into second place on the career assists list in the Dec. 21 loss to Toledo.
Detroit Mercy Head Coach Bernard Scott
- In his second season in charge of the program after leading the team to a 15-15 mark and fourth-place finish a year ago.
- Led the Titans to an 11-7 league record despite playing most of the season with just eight players.
- Led his team to its first 10-win league season since 2011-12. The team set school records in 3-pointers made and free-throw percentage.
- Was an assistant coach for Cleveland State for five years before taking the top spot at Detroit Mercy.
- Also spent two years at Youngstown State after stints as an assistant at Arizona, Dayton and Toledo.
- Earned his degree in physical education and recreation from Toledo in 2001.
- Fast Facts: Has started all 42 games since joining the program… 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… Finished in double figures 16 times a year ago and is Valpo’s leading returning scorer at 10.6 points per game.
- Last Time Out: 13 points on Dec. 19 vs. Bradley to lead Valpo in scoring for the first time this season and seventh time in her Valpo career.
- Season Highlight: Hit a buzzer-beating layup to defeat Chicago State on Nov. 16, 2016.
- Career Highlight: 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.
- Worth Noting: Hasn’t missed a free throw this year (11-for-11) and has made 14 straight dating back to Feb. 29 of last season.
- Awards & Honors: Named to Horizon League all-freshman team last year… Team Captain this season.
- Fast Fact: Led the team in steals (32) and assists (101) last season.
- Last Time Out: Did not score but contributed four rebounds and four assists against Bradley on Dec. 22.
- Season Highlight: Dished out nine assists against Liberty on Nov. 25 to match a career best and set a new career watermark against Division-I competition. The nine assists marked the most by an individual Horizon League player in a single game this season at that point, but has since been surpassed by Indiya Benjamin’s 10 against Point Park on Dec. 21.
- Career Highlight: 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.
- Fast Fact: Appeared in 10 games as a freshman and nine games as a sophomore. Has seen an uptick in playing time this season, appearing in every game.
- Last Time Out: Scored seven points on 3-of-9 shooting in her first career start on Dec. 19 against Bradley.
- Season Highlight: Reached double figures for the first time in her Valpo career on Dec. 4 at No. 1 Notre Dame by scoring 10 points.
- Worth Noting: Has at least one assist in every game this season.
- Awards and Honors: Named a team captain this season
- Fast Fact: Has appeared in three games this year after playing in every game last season.
- Last Time Out: Appeared in her third game of the season on Dec. 19 against Bradley, logging three minutes.
- Season Highlight: Made her season debut on Nov. 21 against IU Kokomo and turned in seven points.
- Career Highlight: Rose up to the competition last season against Louisville on Dec. 5, 2015, leading the team with 12 points.
- Worth Noting: Set the NJCAA record for 3-pointers in a single season (143) in 2014-15 at Dakota College at Bottineau.
- Fast Facts: Has scored double figures four times already this season after doing so on three total occasions all of last season… Has a block in nine of the 10 games she’s played this season… Is three blocks away from 100 for her career…Currently sits fourth in Valpo history in career blocks and is one away from equaling Debbie Bolen’s 98 career blocks, which sits third all time.
- Season Highlight: 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 are the most in a single game by any player in the Horizon League so far this season.
- Career Highlight: Had a career-high 17 points on Dec. 10, 2016 against Grace College. Her previous career high of 15 had stood since Dec. 21, 2015 against IU Kokomo.
- Worth Noting: 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 in 2015-2016.
- Fast Facts: Franklin is one point away from 900 for her career… Is 46-of-48 at the free-throw line and has already set her career high for free throws in a single season… Has played 29+ minutes in all eight games vs. Division-I teams… hasn’t missed a free throw in a true road game since March 5, 2015 at Oakland, a stretch of 36 straight made free throws in true road contests.
- Last Time Out: Reached double figures for the 10th time in 11 games on Dec. 19 against Bradley with 10 points, four of which came at the free-throw stripe. That marked her first game without a made 3-pointer this season.
- Career Highlight: 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, 2016… 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.
- Season Highlight: Scored 33 points on Dec. 3 against Eastern Illinois, finishing one shy of a career high. She became just the third player in program history who has scored 33 points or more in at least two games. Matched a career best with 12 made field goals, and went 6-of-7 at the free-throw line, with the misfire just her second of the year.
- Awards & Honors: Horizon League Freshman of the Year and Sixth Player of the Year in 2014-15. Team captain this season.
- Worth Noting: Shot 43.3 percent from 3-point range as a freshman in 2014-2015, the fourth best single-season mark in program history …Owns the two highest individual single-game scoring outputs in the Horizon League this season.
- Fast Fact: Appeared in 13 games as a freshman a year ago.
- Last Time Out: Played five minutes and did not score against Bradley on Dec. 19.
- Career Highlight: Set a career high with eight points including two made 3s on Dec. 4, 2016 against Notre Dame.
- Fast Fact: Made the first 3-pointer of her collegiate career on Dec. 11 at Indiana.
- Last Time Out: Contributed four points in 12 minutes on Dec. 19 against Bradley. Made two free throws, her first trip to the stripe since Nov. 25.
- Worth Noting: 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.
- Fast Facts: The lone freshman in the starting lineup for each of Valpo’s first 10 games this season… Has at least seven points in seven of her last eight games.
- Last Time Out: DNP Dec. 19 vs. Bradley.
- Season Highlight: Reached double figures for the first time in her Valpo career with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting against Grace College on Dec. 10.
- Worth Noting: Father Scott Morrison is a former Valparaiso men’s basketball player.
- Fast Fact: Scored 16.1 points per game at Cathedral last season.
- Season Highlight: Scored her first collegiate point on Nov. 16, making a free throw in the win over Chicago State.
- Worth Noting: Received honorable mention all-state recognition as a senior in high school.
- Fast Fact: 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.
- Last Time Out: Reached a career high with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting on Dec. 19 against Bradley.
- Season Highlight: 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.
- Worth Noting: Father Ross played football and basketball at Indiana University.