UIC (5-23, 2-15 Horizon)
at Valparaiso (8-20, 3-14 Horizon)
Game No. 29 – Saturday, Feb. 25 – 1:30 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team will take the Athletics-Recreation Center floor for the final time this season on Saturday afternoon as UIC comes to town for the regular season finale. It’s Senior Day at the ARC as the Crusaders recognize Haylee Thompson and Imani Scott-Thompson.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders went into halftime with a 34-29 edge at Milwaukee on Monday, but the Panthers came out strong in the second half, turning a five-point deficit into a route in the blink of an eye. The Panthers had tied the game 42 seconds into the third quarter and eventually expanded the run to 13-0 before the Crusaders achieved their first points of the half at the 6:38 mark. Dani Franklin finished with 19 points to lead Valpo in scoring, while Meredith Hamlet and Grace Hales chipped in nine apiece.
Following the Crusaders: Saturday’s regular season finale will be available on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app. David Horak (play-by-play) and Renee’ Turpa (color commentary) will have the call. The game can also be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso, with Jordan Morandini (play-by-play) and Ben Ariano (color commentary) describing the action. Links to live video, audio and stats will be 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: The Flames hold a narrow 24-22 edge in an all-time series that dates back to 1980. The Crusaders have played the Flames more than any other team. Valpo and UIC are hooking up in the regular season finale for the second straight year. A year ago, the Crusaders went to the Windy City and picked up an 80-74 victory, avenging a loss to UIC from earlier in the year. They’ll look to do the same on Saturday, as they fell at the UIC Pavilion 74-60 on Jan. 28. Two Flames enjoyed career performances as Taylor Toney went off for 25 points on 11-of-12 shooting and Tyra Carlsten-Handberg notched 18 on 6-of-12 shooting. Valpo missed its first 10 3-point attempts in the game.
Tournament Scenarios: Both Valparaiso and UIC are guaranteed to play either Northern Kentucky or Youngstown State in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament. That means the Crusaders will play a team they’ve already beaten this season. This weekend’s games will dictate which team faces which opponent. Northern Kentucky is currently the No. 8 seed and needs at least one win – either at Milwaukee or at Green Bay – to surpass Youngstown State for seventh. The loser of the Valpo vs. UIC game will finish in 10th place and will play at 11 a.m. CT against the No. 7 seed on Friday, March 3 in Detroit. The winner of Saturday’s game will play on Friday, March 3 at 1:30 p.m. CT in Detroit. If Valpo wins on Saturday and Northern Kentucky loses both, the Crusaders would jump up to the No. 8 seed and battle the Norse in the first round of the tournament.
- Seniors Imani Scott-Thompson and Haylee Thompson will play in the final home game of their Valpo careers on Saturday. Both transferred into the program, with Thompson coming from Utah State and Scott-Thompson from Dakota College at Bottineau.
- The Crusaders have three wins in February, their highest February total of the Tracey Dorow era.
- The Crusaders are 2-2 in home finales under Tracey Dorow with their most recent win coming in 2014 over Milwaukee. If the Crusaders win on Saturday, they will have won their final two regular season home games for the first time since 2006-07, their final season in the Mid-Con.
- Valpo has defeated three teams in the second meeting of the year after dropping the first matchup. This is the first time since 2011-12 that the Crusaders have achieved that feat. If Valpo beats UIC, it will be the first time since joining the Horizon League that the Crusaders have avenged earlier defeats to four teams in one season.
- With her performance on Monday night in Milwaukee, Dani Franklin now has 502 points this season. She became the first Valpo player in the last 23 years to score 500 points in a single season. Franklin currently sits in fourth in program history in single-season scoring and needs five points on Saturday to surpass Michelle Russell’s 1993-1994 season for third.
- In addition, Franklin needs 16 points to tie and 17 points to pass Aimee Forsman (1988-92) for ninth on Valpo’s all-time scoring list.
- If the season ended today, Franklin’s 17.9 points per game would be the fifth-highest single-season scoring average in program history and the highest in the last 23 years.
- Franklin has made 178 field goals this season, fifth in program history. She needs five makes on Saturday to match Tabitha Gerardot’s 2012-2013 season for fourth all-time.
- Franklin is currently shooting 86.5 percent at the free throw line. If she stays above 85.1, her mark will rank second in program history. Agnieszka Kulaga set Valpo’s free-throw percentage record in 2008-09 at 88.6.
- Hannah Schaub is two assists away from cracking the Top 10 in program history for assists in a single season.
- The Crusaders have more wins in February (three) than they had in December and January combined (two).
- Valpo is 3-0 in games in which Amber Lindfors achieves a double-double this season.
- Lindfors has 64 blocked shots and needs three more to move into a tie for third in program history for blocked shots in a single season.
- In its 45th season, Valpo is 520-626 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 Flames
- Picked to finish 10th in the Horizon League preseason poll.
- Snapped 10-game losing streak and a 16-game skid against Horizon League opponents the last time they played the Crusaders.
- Lost Ruvanna Campbell, who led the league with 22 double-doubles, to graduation after last season.
- Lost 90 percent of their scoring and rebounding from last year’s team.
- Led in scoring by Toney Taylor at 10.4 points per game. She also leads the team in rebounding at 5.6 boards per contest.
- Terri Bender is back after missing most of last season with a torn ACL. She scored the 1000th point of her UIC career on Jan. 20 against Wright State.
- Earlier this season, Bender became the fourth player in UIC history to reach 1,000 points, 400 assists, 400 rebounds and 250 steals.
- Melita Emanuel-Carr is the lone returning starter for UIC. She has not played in any of the Flames last three games.
- Feature six newcomers including three JUCO transfers.
- Second in the league in offensive rebounding with 14.6 per game.
- Last in the league in 3-point field goals per game (4.0), 3-point field goal percentage (24.3), field goal percentage (37.3), scoring margin (minus-12.2) and free throw percentage (55.2).
- Upset Detroit Mercy 63-62 on Feb. 16 for their second league win, but have since lost back-to-back blowouts to Oakland and Green Bay.
UIC Head Coach Regina Miller
- Has 20 years of head coaching experience and is in her sixth season at UIC.
- Received a contract extension through 2017-18 on Jan. 20, 2015.
- Spent 10 years as the head coach at UNLV and six at Western Illinois.
- Served as an assistant at Old Dominion (1987-92) and Arizona (1986-87).
- Played at Old Dominion, helping lead the Lady Monarchs to the NCAA Final Four.
- Fast Facts: Snapped a streak of 52 consecutive starts on Feb. 2 against Youngstown State…Only a sophomore, reached the 500-point plateau for her collegiate career on Jan. 14 at Youngstown State.
- Last Time Out: Had nine points, four rebounds and three assists on Monday at Milwaukee.
- 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: After 14 straight games with no more than two made field goals, matched a career high by knocking down five shots on Jan. 31 at UIC.
- Last Time Out: Chipped in six points, three of which came at the free-throw line, on Monday at Milwaukee.
- Season Highlight: Scored a season-high 12 points on Jan. 31 at UIC, her first time in double figures this season.
- 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 making four 3-pointers in her first 18 games of the season, knocked down five triples in a three-game span from Jan. 22 to Feb. 2… Has over 50 assists this season after having four in her career before this year.
- Last Time Out: Scored four points in 13 minutes on Monday at Milwaukee.
- Career Highlight: Enjoyed the most productive game of her Valpo career with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting on Feb. 2 against Youngstown State. Also grabbed four rebounds and handed out four assists. Had a career-high three 3-pointers in the victory.
- 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 blocks… Has 64 blocked shots this season, fourth most in a single season in Valpo history. Became the first player in Valpo history with two 50-block seasons on Feb. 9 against Wright State … Leads the Horizon League with 2.5 blocks per game… Reached 300 points for her Valpo career on Feb. 18 against Detroit Mercy.
- Last Time Out: Did not play on Monday against Milwaukee due to an illness.
- Career Highlight: Turned in a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds on Feb. 2 against Youngstown to shatter her previous career high in scoring, which was 17 earlier this season against Grace. Also established a new personal best in made field goals by going 9-of-15 and equaled a season-high in rebounds.
- Season 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: Had already set a new single-season career high for made 3-pointers, free throws, points and rebounds with nine games left in the regular season… Had as many double-doubles in a five-game stretch from Jan. 12-20 as she did in the first 73 games of her collegiate career… Scored the 1,000th point of her Valpo career on Jan. 17 at Green Bay, becoming the 14th player in program history to join the 1,000-point club… Enters Friday tied with Ashanti Abshaw for third in the league in scoring at 17.9 points per game and second in 3-point percentage at 43.4… Hadn’t swiped four steals in any of the first 80 games of her Valpo career, then notched four steals in back-to-back contests on Feb. 2 against Youngstown State and Feb. 4 against Cleveland State… Has gotten to the free-throw line more this year than she did in her first two collegiate seasons combined.
- Last Time Out: Led the Crusaders with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting and knocked down all four 3-pointers that she attempted on Monday at Milwaukee.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fast Fact: Has scored seven points or more five times in the last seven games after doing so once in her first 19 games of the season.
- Last Time Out: Scored seven points on 3-of-6 shooting on Monday at Milwaukee.
- Career Highlight: Set a career high with eight points including two made 3s on Dec. 4, 2016 against Notre Dame.
- Season Highlight: Scored eight points at Wright State on Feb. 9, matching a career high.
- Fast Fact: Led Valpo in scoring for the first time this year on Jan. 22 against Wright State.
- Last Time Out: Had seven points in 24 minutes on Monday at Milwaukee. Started in place of the ill Amber Lindfors.
- Season Highlight: Matched a career high with 16 points against IU Kokomo on Nov. 21. Went 6-of-8 from the floor in the game.
- Career Highlight: Poured in a career-best 16 points on Dec. 7, 2015, an effort that was needed for Valpo to earn a 63-62 win over Cardinal Stritch. Thompson scored 14 of her game-high 16 points after halftime.
- 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: Had three offensive rebounds on Feb. 12 at Northern Kentucky, matching a career high.
- Last Time Out: Had three points, two rebounds and three assists on Monday at 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: 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…. Snapped a streak of 21 straight made free throws at Northern Kentucky on Saturday, her first miss at the stripe since Dec. 29.
- Last Time Out: Scored nine points on 4-of-9 shooting off the bench on Monday at Milwaukee.
- Season Highlights: 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… Opened conference play in style with a career-high 13 points on Dec. 29 at Detroit Mercy, her second consecutive game in double figures…. Led her team in scoring for the first time in her Valpo career on Feb. 16 against Oakland. Was the only Crusader in double figures, posting 11 points in the defeat. Scored seven of the team’s 13 second-quarter points.
- Worth Noting: Father Ross played football and basketball at Indiana University.
- 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: Played 11 minutes and did not score on Monday at Milwaukee.
- Season Highlight: Scored seven points on Feb. 16 against Oakland, a new career high. Shattered her previous best of four, which she had reached on Jan. 14 against Youngstown State and Jan. 22 against Wright State. Also dished out a career-high four assists in 26 minutes, by far the most playing time she’s received in a game. Before that game, Meredith hadn’t played more than 15 minutes in a contest.
- Worth Noting: Received honorable mention all-state recognition as a senior in high school.
- Fast Fact: Made her first appearance since Jan. 5 on Feb. 2 against Youngstown State.
- Last Time Out: Played five minutes and did not attempt a shot on Monday 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.