Valparaiso (5-7, 0-1 Horizon)
at Oakland (7-5, 1-0 Horizon)
Game No. 13 – Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016 – 11 a.m. CT
O’Rena (3,000) – Rochester, Mich.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team continues its Michigan swing with the second game of Horizon League play on Saturday at Oakland. It’s an early tip time as the Crusaders and Grizzlies get going at 11 a.m. Central Time.
Last Time Out: The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team recovered from a 12-0 hole midway through the first quarter to take a second-quarter lead, but couldn’t bounce back from a third quarter that saw Detroit Mercy outscore the Crusaders 30-6 in Thursday’s Horizon League opener. Dani Franklin reached double figures for the 11th time in 12 games and led the way with 14 points, while Meredith Hamlet and Grace Hales contributed 13 apiece in the 85-60 loss. The Crusaders held Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year Rosanna Reynolds without a made field goal, marking the first time since March 27, 2013 she played at least one minute in a game and did not make a shot from the floor.
Following the Crusaders: Saturday’s game 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 Brandon Vickrey describing play-by-play and David Horak chiming in color commentary. Links to live video, audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Tracey Dorow: Tracey Dorow (38-97) 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: Oakland leads the all-time series 17-11 in a matchup that began in 1999 and has won seven of the last nine meetings. The Crusaders are 4-8 all-time at the Athletics-Center O’Rena and will hope to secure their first win in Rochester since Jan. 2, 2006. Last season, the home team prevailed in both head-to-head matchups between the two squads, with Valpo claiming an 81-66 win on Jan. 9 at the ARC and the Grizzlies capturing the 87-77 triumph on Feb. 11 in Rochester.
- The Crusaders are set to play a game on New Year’s Eve for the first time since Dec. 31, 2013 and the fourth time in program history. The Crusaders have never won on Dec. 31, losing in overtime 71-69 to Miami of Ohio in 2000, 68-52 to Detroit Mercy in 2011 and 81-70 to South Dakota on 2013’s final day.
- Dani Franklin became the 19th player in program history to reach the 900-point plateau with her first basket in Thursday’s loss to Detroit Mercy. She currently sits 19th on Valpo’s all-time scoring list and is seven points away from Sarah Schmoyer (1992-96), who is 18th.
- Amber Lindfors had three blocks on Thursday, becoming the third player in Valpo history to reach 100 blocks for her career. She passed Debbie Bolen (1989-93), who finished her career with 97 blocks, for third all time. Lindfors is 66 blocks behind Michelle Mader for second all-time and 92 behind all-time career leader Tamra Bruan.
- Before the Dec. 19 game against Bradley, Valpo had shot at least 37 percent in every game this season. They shot 31.1 percent against the Braves and 30.1 percent against Detroit Mercy.
- Valpo pulled down a season-high 35 defensive rebounds on Thursday against Detroit Mercy. It marked the team’s highest defensive rebound total since Feb. 4, 2016 against Wright State.
- The Crusaders have the league leader in scoring (Dani Franklin, 19.7), assists (Hannah Schaub, 5.5) and blocked shots (Amber Lindfors, 2.64). Franklin is tied for 24th in the nation, while Lindfors ranks 15th
- In its 45th season, Valpo is 517-614 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 Grizzlies
- Picked to finish fifth in the Horizon League preseason poll.
- Every starter is a junior or senior, while sophomore star Taylor Jones comes off the bench.
- Lost Olivia Nash and Elena Popkey to graduation, but feature DePaul transfer Shakeya Graves and St. Bonaventure transfer Hannah Little.
- Lead the league in scoring offense at 80.3 points per game. Also the best offensive rebounding team in the league with 44.1 offensive rebounds per game.
- Own the best turnover margin in the league at +7.3, while Valpo holds a league-worst -5.7 turnover margin.
- Averaging a league-most 12.8 steals per game, tied for 10th in the nation.
- Tied with Detroit Mercy for the league lead in 3-pointers per game at 7.9.
- Led in scoring by Taylor Jones, who is tied for sixth in the league at 15.9 points per game.
- Led in rebounding by Leah Somerfield, who ranks sixth in the league at 7.6.
Oakland Head Coach Jeff Tungate
- In his fourth season in charge of the Oakland program.
- Previously served as the associate head coach of the Oakland men’s team (2007-13) and a men’s basketball assistant at Oakland (2004-05).
- Was the men’s associate head coach at Fort Wayne from 2005-2007.
- First head coaching job was with the men’s program at Lincoln Memorial from 1999-2004.
- Started his coaching career as a women’s assistant at Oakland Community College during the 1998-99 season.
- Received the Oakland Athletics Coach of the Year award in 2014.
- Fast Facts: Has started all 43 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: Scored 13 points for the second consecutive game on Dec. 29 at Detroit Mercy, with seven of those points coming on free throws.
- 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: Had her first missed free-throw of the season on Dec. 29 against Detroit Mercy, but still went 7-of-8 at the stripe, setting a career-high for made free throws in a game.
- 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, dished out three assists and pulled down two rebounds on Dec. 29 at Detroit Mercy.
- 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: Had a career-high eight rebounds on Thursday at Detroit Mercy. Led the team in rebounding for the first time in her Valpo career. Also scored six points to surpass the 100-piont mark for her career.
- 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 four games this year after playing in every game last season.
- Last Time Out: Notched her first points against Division-I competition this season with five points in seven minutes at Detroit Mercy on Dec. 29.
- 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: Will reach 200 career points with her next basket… Has at least one block in every game she’s played this season.
- Last Time Out: Held to two points on 1-of-5 shooting but did record three blocks on Dec. 29 against Detroit Mercy, becoming the third player in Valpo history with 100 career blocks.
- 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: Hadn’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, entering the Dec. 29 game against Detroit Mercy, but went 2-of-5 at the stripe in that contest. Missed more free throws in that game than she had the whole season, as she entered the contest with just two misses and ranked third nationally in free-throw percentage… Leads the league in scoring at 19.7 points per game, nearly two points ahead of Ashanti Abashaw of Cleveland State, who ranks second at 17.9… Seven points away from climbing into 18th on Valpo’s all-time scoring list.
- Last Time Out: Reached double figures for the 11th time in 12 games on Dec. 29 against Detroit Mercy, pouring in 14 to lead the Crusaders. She passed the 900-point mark for her career, becoming the 19th player in school history to do so.
- 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 seven minutes and did not score on Dec. 29 at Detroit Mercy.
- 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: Played 17 minutes and did not score on Dec. 29 at Detroit Mercy.
- 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: Returned to the court on Dec. 29 against Detroit Mercy after missing one game due to concussion-like symptoms. Contributed six points and seven rebounds.
- 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.
- Last Time Out: Went 0-for-3 from the floor but made one free throw on Dec. 29 at Detroit Mercy.
- 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: Scored double figures for the second straight game with a career-high 13 points at Detroit Mercy on Dec. 29.
- Season Highlight: Scored nine points at Stetson on Nov. 12, marking the third straight year a Valpo freshman has scored 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.