Wright State (14-5, 6-1 Horizon)
at Valparaiso (5-14, 0-8 Horizon)
Game No. 20 – Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017 – 5 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team will partake in the backend of a men’s-women’s doubleheader on Sunday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Following the men’s regionally televised showdown with UIC, the women welcome in Wright State.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders enter Sunday attempting to rebound from a 70-55 loss to Northern Kentucky on Friday night. The Crusaders shot just 35.1 percent from the floor and 20 percent from beyond the arc in the contest. Valpo was led in scoring by Dani Franklin, who turned in 29 points and 10 rebounds while matching a career high with 12 made field goals. Valpo fell behind 21-11 early, rallied to tie the game at 33, but found itself chasing double figures again for the bulk of the fourth quarter.
Following the Crusaders: Sunday’s game and every game for the remainder of the season will be available on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app. In addition, Sunday’s affair can be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso, WVUR with David Horak (play-by-play) and Renee’ Turpa (color commentary). Links to live video, audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Tracey Dorow: Tracey Dorow 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: Wright State owns a 16-12 lead in the all-time series between the two teams, which dates back to 1990. The Raiders have strung together eight consecutive victories since the most recent Crusader win on March 1, 2012, a 70-60 triumph at the ARC. The most recent meeting came on Feb. 4, 2016 at the ARC, when Wright State prevailed 65-54. The Crusaders were shut down from long range in that matchup, as they went 1-of-12 from 3-point distance. Amber Lindfors had five blocked shots in that game. Wright State also beat Valpo in Dayton last year 80-63 on Jan. 1.
The Justin Rees File
- In his third season as an assistant coach at Valpo and his 18th in women’s college basketball.
- Will coach Sunday’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.
- With her performance on Friday night, Dani Franklin regained the league lead in scoring at 18.7 points per game. Mehryn Kraker entered Saturday’s game against Green Bay at 18.4 points per game, while Ashanti Abshaw of Cleveland State sits at 18.3.
- Franklin’s performance on Friday was her sixth 20-point game of the season. She joins Taylor Jones (Oakland), Mehryn Kraker (Green Bay) and Ashanti Abashaw (Cleveland State) as the Horizon League players with six or more games with 20 points or more.
- Franklin climbed over Carrie Forsman (1992-96) for 13th on Valpo’s all-time scoring list on Friday night. Suzie Hammel (2000-2004) sits in 12th place with 1,077 points, while Lynda Kukla (1988-1992) is 11th all-time at 1,081.
- Franklin has as many double-doubles in her last five games (three) as she did in the first 73 games of her collegiate career.
- Former Valpo head coach Keith Freeman is in his fifth year on Wright State’s staff. He was promoted to associate head coach before this season. Freeman was the head coach of the Crusaders for 18 years.
- The Crusaders are attempting to regain their shooting stride on Sunday. Entering the first Horizon League game of the season, Valpo was shooting 42 percent from the field (third), 33.2 percent from 3-point (fifth) and 79.6 percent at the foul line (first). In league games only, Valpo is shooting 33.8 percent from the floor (10th), 26 percent from 3-point (10th) and 70 percent from the free-throw line (sixth).
- In Horizon League games only, Valpo ranks second in the league in offensive rebounding with 13.5 offensive boards per game.
- Both staffs feature assistants that played in the WNBA as Wright State’s Semeka Randall played for Seattle (2001-02), Utah (2002) and San Antonio (2003-04), while Valpo’s Megan (Frazee) Leuzinger played for San Antonio in 2009-10.
- In its 45th season, Valpo is 517-620 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 2012-13.
- 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 Raiders
- Picked to finish fifth in the Horizon League preseason poll.
- Went 24-11 and 12-6 in league play a year ago. Fell to Milwaukee in the Horizon League semifinals before losing 81-53 to Michigan in the first round of the WNIT.
- Antania Hayes, who tore her ACL in the first game of the Horizon League Tournament last season, hasn’t played since Dec. 31 at Green Bay. She has appeared in just six games this season.
- Hurt by the loss of Richelle van der Keijl, who transferred to play her senior season under former Wright State head coach Mike Bradbury at New Mexico.
- Boosted by the addition of Chelsea Welch, who transferred from Pittsburgh and has two seasons of eligibility after sitting out 2015-16. She leads the team in scoring at 16.8 points per game, tied for fourth in the league.
- Wright State has two of the top four rebounders in the conference. Symone Simmons gobbles up 8.5 boards per game (third), while Lexi Smith contributes 8.4 (fourth).
- The Raiders do a good job taking care of the ball, as they rank second in the league in turnover margin at +4.0.
Wright State Head Coach Katrina Merriweather
- In her first season in charge of the Raiders.
- Joined Wright State’s staff as an assistant in September 2010.
- Has also coached at Purdue, UIC and Cincinnati.
- Made three WNIT appearances and one NCAA Tournament appearance during her four seasons as a player at Cincinnati.
- Replaced Mike Bradbury, who left to take over as New Mexico’s head coach.
- Fast Facts: Is expected to make her 50th consecutive start on Sunday… Has scored seven points or more in each of her last nine games.... Only a sophomore, reached the 500-point plateau for her collegiate career on Jan. 14 at Youngstown State.
- Last Time Out: Turned in eight points on 2-of-9 shooting in Friday’s game against Northern Kentucky.
- Season Highlight: Posted her first career double-double on Jan. 14 at Youngstown State, matching a career high with 29 points while shattering personal bests in rebounds (10) and made field goals (12).
- 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: Reached eight points on Friday night, her highest point total since a season-high nine against Evansville on Nov. 30.
- Last Time Out: Reached a season high in made free throws (4-of-5) while shooting 2-of-10 from the field on Friday night against Northern Kentucky. Also dished out six assists and matched a season-high three steals.
- 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: Has three rebounds or more in five straight games for the first time in her career… Played 23 minutes on Friday, her highest total since Dec. 4 against Notre Dame.
- Last Time Out: Returned to the rotation on Friday night against Northern Kentucky after missing the Jan. 17 game at Green Bay with an illness. Finished with four points and three boards in 23 minutes. It was the first time she played but did not start since Dec. 31 at Oakland.
- Season Highlights: Reached double figures for the first time in her Valpo career on Dec. 4 at No. 1 Notre Dame by scoring 10 points… Matched a career-high 10 points on Jan. 12 against Cleveland State. Established a new personal watermark in made field goals with five.
- Worth Noting: Had a career-high eight rebounds on Dec. 29 at Detroit Mercy to lead 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 Facts: Recorded three blocks on Dec. 29 against Detroit Mercy, becoming the third player in Valpo history with 100 career block…Leads the league with 2.2 blocked shots per game, ranked 29th in the nation.
- Last Time Out: Limited to 13 minutes with a hand injury on Friday against Northern Kentucky. Managed two blocks and four rebounds while playing through pain.
- 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: Leads the league and ranks 15th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage at 45.2… Leads the league in scoring with 18.7 points per game… Joins Milwaukee’s Steph Kostowicz as the only players in the top seven in the Horizon League in both scoring and rebounding…. Has already set a new single-season career high for made 3-pointers with 42. Needs three more rebounds for single-season career watermark.
- Last Time Out: Finished in double figures for the 17th time in 19 games on Friday against Northern Kentucky as she finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds while racking up a career-high 12 made field goals.
- 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: Entered last week’s road trip with eight total rebounds in 13 games this season and pulled down seven boards over the two games in Ohio.
- Last Time Out: Played 12 minutes but did not attempt a shot on Friday against Northern Kentucky. Did corral a pair of rebounds, one offensive and one defensive.
- 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 Jan. 5 against Green Bay.
- Last Time Out: Scored four points on Friday against Northern Kentucky.
- 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: Started for the first time since Dec. 31 last Tuesday at Green Bay. Has started each of the last two games.
- Last Time Out: Went 0-of-5 from the floor in 22 minutes on Friday against Northern Kentucky. Finished with two points, both coming at the free-throw line.
- 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: Notched her first-career made basket against a Division-I opponent on Jan. 14 at Youngstown State. Did so in style, finishing an important layup despite being fouled.
- Last Time Out: Did not play on Friday against Northern Kentucky, just her third game this season not seeing the court.
- 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… Has passed 100 points for her freshman season…. 15-for-15 at the free-throw line over her last eight games.
- Last Time Out: Played a season-low three minutes and did not score on Friday against Northern Kentucky.
- 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.