Valparaiso (5-10, 0-4 Horizon)
at Cleveland State (7-7, 2-1 Horizon)
Game No. 16 – Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 – 4:30 p.m. CT
Wolstein Center (8,500) – Cleveland, Ohio
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team begins a difficult stretch of travel on Thursday as the Crusaders visit the Wolstein Center to clash with Cleveland State. The Crusaders play three road games in a six-day span with the Ohio swing quickly followed by a trip to Green Bay.
Last Time Out: Valpo suffered an 85-74 setback on Saturday against Milwaukee at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Four Crusaders finished in double figures, led by Dani Franklin, who notched her third double-double of the season and the fourth of her career with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Amber Lindfors had 10 points in the first four minutes of the game and finished with 16, her highest total against a Division-I team. Meredith Hamlet totaled 15 points and a career-high eight rebounds, while Grace Hales matched a career-best with 13 points.
Following the Crusaders: Thursday’s game and every game for the remainder of the season will be available on ESPN3, WatchESPN.com and the ESPN app. In addition, live audio will be available on 95.1 FM Valparaiso, WVUR. The game will lead into the Valpo men’s broadcast at 6:30 p.m. David Horak will handle by play-by-play, with Brandon Vickrey adding color commentary.
Head Coach Tracey Dorow: Tracey Dorow (38-100) 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: Thursday marks the 31st meeting between the two teams, and Valpo and Cleveland State have split the first 30 meetings right down the middle. The Vikings have won six of the last seven matchups. The two squads split last year’s games, with Valpo capturing a 66-59 win at the Athletics-Recreation Center before falling 72-65 in Cleveland. In the most recent showdown, Valpo cut a 19-point Vikings’ lead all the way down to one before the comeback try came up shy. The Crusaders are seeking their first win in Cleveland since Feb. 4, 2012.
The Justin Rees File
- In his third season as an assistant coach at Valpo and his 18th in women’s college basketball.
- Will coach Thursday’s game in place of head coach Tracey Dorow, who is recovering from neck surgery.
- Also serves as Valpo’s recruiting coordinator.
- Has developed three All-Americans and 32 all-conference award winners.
- Specializes in instructing forwards and has helped 13 post players earn individual success.
- Served as the head coach at Missouri Valley College during the 2013-2014 campaign, an assistant at William Jewell in 2012-2013, the head coach at Lake Superior State in 2011-12, spent four years as an assistant at Maine and spent five seasons as an assistant under Dorow at Ferris State.
- Valpo is 0-9 when allowing opponents to score 70 points or more, but 5-1 when holding opponents to 69 points or fewer.
- Dani Franklin needs 19 points to pass Agnieszka Kulaga (2005-2009) for 16th in Valpo history and 26 to pass Cheryl Wilbrandt (1989-93) for 15th.
- Valpo shot 40 percent against Milwaukee, its highest shooting percentage in the last six games. The Crusaders shot 34.8 percent from 3, their best mark in the last eight contests. In addition, they totaled 17 assists, the most since Nov. 21 against IU Kokomo and 11 turnovers, the fewest since the game against the Cougars.
- Amber Lindfors has scored 111 points in 14 games so far this season after scoring exactly 111 in 29 games a year ago.
- Franklin needs three more rebounds to surpass her season total from last year of 114.
- Valpo is hoping to snap a six-game losing skid and notch its first victory since Dec. 10 against Grace.
- In its 45th season, Valpo is 517-616 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 Vikings
- Picked to finish tied for seventh in the Horizon League preseason poll.
- Feature reigning Horizon League Freshman of the Year Ashanti Abshaw, who leads the league in scoring at 18.9 points per game. Thursday’s matchup includes two of the top three scorers in the league, with Franklin currently ranking third.
- The game also includes two of the top three shot blockers in the league as Cleveland State’s Shadae Bosley ranks third at 1.3 shots per game with 14 of her 16 blocks coming in the last seven games.
- Abashaw, only a sophomore, needs 16 points on Thursday to reach 800 for her career. She has seven 20-point performances this season, the most of any player in the league.
- Coming off their first league loss of the year, 84-63 to Wright State despite 26 points from Abshaw.
- Common opponents with Valpo are Eastern Illinois and Evansville. Both teams defeated the Panthers, while the Vikings edged the Purple Aces and the Crusaders fell against Evansville.
Cleveland State Head Coach Kate Peterson Abiad
- In her 14th season in charge of the program.
- Became the winningest coach in program history during the 2011-2012 season.
- Has been part of five NCAA Tournament teams and three WNIT teams in her 25 seasons as a collegiate coach.
- Served as an assistant for a combined 12 years at Indiana, Eastern Illinois and Wisconsin before becoming the sixth head coach in Cleveland State history on April 25, 2003.
- Was a four-year starter and the 1991 Team MVP at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
- Husband Phil Abiad has been an assistant coach for the Cleveland State volleyball team for the last 16 seasons.
- Fast Facts: Has started all 45 games since joining the program… Has scored double figures in four of her last five games and eight points or more in each of the last five.
- Last Time Out: Scored 15 points while hauling in a career-high eight rebounds on Jan. 7 vs. Milwaukee. Had her first game this season with 3 made 3-pointers after five different occasions where she knocked down two triples.
- Season Highlight: Went off for 18 points at Oakland on Dec. 31, setting a season high at the Horizon League school closest to her hometown of McBain, Mich.
- 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: Made a game-winning layup at the buzzer to beat Chicago State on Nov. 16… 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.
- 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: Had two points, five assists and three rebounds against Milwaukee on Jan. 7.
- 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. Also knocked down five triples against Detroit in the Horizon League quarterfinals later that season.
- Fast Fact: After back-to-back games without an assist, helped on three Valpo made shots on Jan. 7 against Milwaukee.
- Last Time Out: Was held scoreless in 18 minutes on Jan. 7 against Milwaukee.
- 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: Had a career-high eight rebounds on Dec. 29 at Detroit Mercy. Led the team in rebounding for the first time in her Valpo career. Also scored six points to surpass the 100-point mark for her career in that game… Picked up her first career block on Jan. 5 against Green Bay.
- Awards and Honors: Named a team captain this season.
- Fast Fact: Had her first career multiple assist game on Thursday against Green Bay. Previously had a single assist in seven games, but hadn’t dished out two in one contest before Thursday.
- Last Time Out: Did not play on Jan. 7 against Milwaukee.
- Season Highlight: Made her season debut on Nov. 21 against IU Kokomo and turned in seven points.
- Career Highlight: Rose up to the competition 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 at least one block in each of her last 31 games dating back to Dec. 30, 2015 against Northern Kentucky... Recorded three blocks on Dec. 29 against Detroit Mercy, becoming the third player in Valpo history with 100 career blocks… Leads the league with 2.5 blocks per game.
- Last Time Out: Had 10 points in the first four minutes of the game and finished with 16, her career-high against Division-I competition on Jan. 7 against Milwaukee. Also pulled down eight rebounds and blocked two shots.
- 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: Passed Aimee Litka (2005-2009) for 17th on Valpo’s all-time scoring list and pulled down her 100th rebound of the season on Jan. 7 against Milwaukee… Leads the Horizon League in 3-point field goal percentage at 46.5 percent and ranks third in scoring at 18.4 points per game… Needs 18 points to match Agnieszka Kulaga (2005-2009) for 16th in Valpo history and 25 to match Cheryl Wilbrandt (1989-93) for 15th… Needs 47 more points to become the 14th member of Valpo’s 1,000 point club… Has matched a career high in each of her last two games with three assists in each contest… Has at least one steal in seven straight games.
- Last Time Out: Turned in her third double-double of the season on Jan. 7 against Milwaukee with 17 points and 13 rebounds. She has three double-doubles this year after posting one (Nov. 20, 2014) in her first two seasons at Valpo.
- 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: Has appeared in 13 of Valpo’s 15 games this season, including 10 straight.
- Last Time Out: Knocked down a 3-pointer in her only field goal attempt of the game against Milwaukee on Jan. 7.
- 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, then followed with her second career trey on Thursday against Green Bay.
- Last Time Out: Chipped in eight points on Jan. 7 against Milwaukee.
- 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.
- Last Time Out: Did not play on Jan. 7 against Milwaukee.
- 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… Has matched a season high with three rebounds three times in the last four games she’s played.
- Last Time Out: Did not play against Milwaukee on Jan. 7.
- 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… Enters Thursday needing eight more points to reach 100 for this season.
- Last Time Out: Matched a career-high with 13 points on Jan. 7 against Milwaukee. Also went 5-for-5 at the stripe, setting a career high for made free throws.
- 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.
- Career Highlight: Opened conference play in style with a career-high 13 points on Dec. 29 at Detroit Mercy, her second consecutive game in double figures.
- Worth Noting: Father Ross played football and basketball at Indiana University…. 11-for-11 at the free-throw line in the last three games.