IU Kokomo (3-2, 0-0 River States)
at Valparaiso (0-0, 0-0 MVC)
Game No. 1 – Thursday, Nov. 16 – 7 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team will begin the 2017-18 season on Thursday by hosting in-state foe IU Kokomo. The Crusaders have 10 players returning including six of last season’s top seven scorers. In addition, five true freshmen have joined the fold and will suit up for a regular season college game for the first time on Thursday.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders defeated St. Francis (Ill.) 49-40 last week in exhibition action. Sophomore Grace Hales posted a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds, while fellow sophomore Caitlin Morrison also reached double figures with 10 points. A key 3-pointer by Morrison down the stretch sealed the victory, while the Crusaders limited the Saints to 27.5 percent shooting for the game and just 2-of-16 in the fourth quarter.
Following the Crusaders: Live video of Thursday’s game will be available as the Crusaders compete on The Valley on ESPN3. In addition, the game can be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso, WVUR, the radio home of the Crusaders. Dave Huseman (play-by-play) and former Valpo women’s basketball standout Jamie (Gutowski) Stangel (color commentary) will handle the ESPN3 call, while Ben Ariano (play-by-play) and Kevin Huang (color commentary) have radio duties. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Tracey Dorow: Tracey Dorow was named head coach of the Valparaiso women's basketball team in April of 2012. The 2017-18 season is her sixth in charge of Valpo's program. Dorow has led the Crusaders to a Horizon League tournament victory in four of her first five seasons at the helm. During the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, Valpo boasted three all-freshman team members, a Freshman of the Year, a Sixth Player of the Year, an all-league second-team honoree and an all-defensive team member. The Crusaders have enjoyed a significant uptick in all-league recognition under Dorow's watch, as they had three total league honors in the five seasons before that three-year span. Dorow arrived at Valpo after spending 14 seasons as the head coach at Ferris State University, guiding the Bulldogs to four NCAA Division II Tournament appearances, two Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division championships and four 20-win seasons.
Series Notes: The Crusaders and Cougars are set to lock horns for the third consecutive year after Valpo won last season 102-47 and the first ever meeting 88-22 in 2015. The 2015 game saw the Crusaders set the program record for the fewest points allowed in a single game. A year ago, Dani Franklin led the way with 24 points and seven rebounds as the Crusaders reached the 100-point mark for just the second time in the last 20 years. The only other time Valpo hit 100 points in a game since the start of the 1997-98 season was a 109-81 win over Purdue Calumet in 2014.
Crusaders in Openers: Valpo is 3-2 in its first home game of the season during the first five years under Tracey Dorow. Two of the most memorable games of the Dorow era have come in home openers – a 64-52 win over Big Ten foe Indiana in 2012 and a 91-57 victory over another in-state rival in Butler to begin the 2014-15 campaign. This marks the second straight year Valpo has started the home slate against IU Kokomo. Valpo is 2-3 in season openers during Dorow’s tenure.
Home Court Advantage: Valpo carries a two-game home winning streak with it into Thursday’s game. The Crusaders won their final two home games in 2016, accomplishing that feat for the first time since 2006-07. A victory would give Valpo three straight home wins for the first time since beating IU Northwest, SIU Edwardsville and IU Kokomo in December 2015.
Late Start: The Nov. 16 opener will mark the latest Valpo has lifted the lid on the season since beginning the 2008-09 campaign on Nov. 19.
A Look Back at 2016-17
- Valpo had the biggest jump from the first half of league play to the second of any Horizon League squad. In first matchups against league opponents, Valpo went 0-9, before going 4-5 in second meetings. The plus-four win turnaround was the best in the league and no other team was better than plus-two.
- The Crusaders have now captured league tournament wins in five of the last six seasons.
- Valpo went 4-4 over its final eight games of the regular season, its best eight-game finish to a season of the Tracey Dorow era.
- Dani Franklin was named to the all-league second-team, becoming the first Valpo player to make the league’s first or second team since Tabitha Gerardot in 2012-13.
- The Crusaders had an all-league representative and an all-defensive team member in the same season for the first time since joining the Horizon League.
- Franklin finished the season with 559 points, which ranks second in program history for points in a single year. Debbie Bolen’s 1991-92 season (638) is the program record.
- Franklin finished the season at 18.0 points per game, ranking fifth in program history for single-season scoring average. She also shot 85.8 percent at the free-throw line, the second-best single-season free throw percentage in program history.
- Hannah Schaub completed the season with 134 assists, ranking seventh in program history for assists in a single season.
- The Crusaders had twice as many wins in February (four) than they had in December and January combined (two).
Inside the 2017-18 Roster
- Valpo has nine players on the roster listed at 6-foot or taller. This is the most players listed at 6-foot or taller on the roster in program history. Previously, the most was eight in 1990-91 and 1995-96.
- Valpo has had five freshmen on the roster each of the last two seasons. Prior to 2016-17, the Crusaders hadn’t featured five true freshmen since 2010-11. This year’s team has 10 freshmen, redshirt freshmen and sophomores, the most since the 2003-04 season.
- In addition to five true freshmen, two redshirt freshmen and three sophomores, the Crusaders feature three juniors and two seniors.
- This year’s version of the Crusaders includes four Indiana natives. This marks the most Hoosiers on the team since the 2013-2014 campaign.
- Three others are from Illinois, three from Ohio, two from Minnesota, one from Michigan, one from Iowa and one from Wisconsin. Seven states are represented on the Valpo roster.
- Freshman Ella Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis.) is the first Valpo player from Wisconsin since Sarah Ott (Chippewa Falls, Wis.) in 2007-08.
Milestone/Record Book Watch
- Hannah Schaub enters her junior season already 17th in program history in career assists with 235. She needs four assists to pass Jeanette Gray (1999-2003) for 16th on the career list and 12 to surpass her former teammate Lexi Miller (2012-2016) for 15th.
- Dani Franklin enters this game with 1,236 career points, sixth in program history. She needs 38 points to pass Amber Schober (1998-2002) and become the first Crusader to crack the top five on Valpo’s all-time scoring list in the last decade.
- Franklin holds a career scoring average of 13.4 points per game, which ranks second in program history. The program record is 18.4, set by Debbie Bolen (1989-93).
- Franklin is eighth in program history in made field goals with 462. She needs two to leapfrog Aimee Forsman (1988-92) for seventh and 10 to overtake Amber Schober (1998-2002) for sixth.
- Franklin is 10th in program history in 3-point field goals made with 137, needing four to move past Heidi Diefenthaler (1992-96) for ninth.
- Franklin owns a career 3-point field goal percentage of .394, which currently sits third all-time.
- Franklin is 17th in program history in rebounding with 502. She’s 21 boards away from passing Gina Lange (2009-13) for 16th.
Inside the Cougars
- Coming off a 56-44 victory over Spring Arbor.
- Also own wins over IU South Bend and Mount Vernon Nazarene.
- Received 25 votes in the NAIA Division II Women’s Preseason Coaches Poll, one of two teams in the 13-team River States Conference receiving national votes.
- Seniors Deja Felder and Tabitha DeWitt are averaging in double figures.
- Head coach Nicole Trawick is in her first season in Kokomo after most recently serving as the head coach at Massasoit Community College in Brockton, Mass.
- Picked to finish third of 13 in the River States Conference preseason poll.
- Went 21-13 last year and 14-7 in conference play, the first winning season in the brief history of the program and a considerable turnaround after going 9-20 overall and 4-14 in conference action the year prior.
- Reached the 500-point plateau for her collegiate career as only a sophomore on Jan. 14, 2016 at Youngstown State.
- Posted her first career double-double in that same game against the Penguins, matching a career high with 29 points while shattering personal bests in rebounds (10) and made field goals (12). That game marked the 23rd time in program history a player has made 12 field goals or more in a single game.
- Dished out a career-best seven assists on Jan. 22, 2017 at Wright State.
- Began her collegiate career with a streak of 52 consecutive starts without missing a game, which was snapped on Feb. 2, 2017 against Youngstown State.
- 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.
- Made a game-winning layup at the buzzer to beat Chicago State on Nov. 16, 2016.
- Made 69 3-pointers as a freshman, tying for the fifth most in a single season in school history. In addition, set the record for the most 3-pointers by a freshman.
- Was Valpo’s leading returning scorer in 2016-17 after scoring 10.6 points per game in 2015-16. During her sophomore campaign, averaged 9.0 ppg, second on the team.
- Named to Horizon League all-freshman team in 2015-16.
- Reached double figures in scoring 16 times as a freshman and nine times during her sophomore season.
- Third Hamlet to play under Dorow as sisters Elizabeth (2013-14) and Annemarie (2014-15 & 2015-16) both concluded their careers with the Crusaders.
- Led the team in assists in 18 games during her sophomore campaign. Her 134 assists in 2016-17 ranked seventh in program history and were the most by any Crusader in the last 17 years.
- Enters her junior season already 17th in program history in career assists with 235. Needs four assists to pass Jeanette Gray (1999-2003) for 16th on the career list and 12 to surpass her former teammate Lexi Miller (2012-2016) for 15th.
- Finished the 2016-17 season ranked eighth in the Horizon League in assists/turnover ratio (1.5) and 11th in assists per game (3.3).
- Scored a season-high 12 points on Jan. 31, 2017 at UIC, her only time in double figures during her sophomore season. Matched a career-high by knocking down five shots in that game.
- 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.
- Had a breakout junior season in 2016-17, playing in 28 games and making eight starts for the Crusaders. Finished the season with over 50 assists after having four total assists in her first two collegiate seasons.
- Garnered the team’s Fountain Award in both 2015-16 and 2016-17. That honor is given annually to the player who most raises the team’s energy level.
- Shared the team’s Most Improved Player with Dani Franklin in 2016-17.
- Had a career-high seven assists in the season opener on Nov. 12, 2016 at Stetson.
- Reached double-figure scoring for the first time in her collegiate career with 10 at Notre Dame on Dec. 4, 2016, her first of four double-figure games.
- Made the first start of her collegiate career on Dec. 19, 2016 against Bradley and scored seven points in 20 minutes.
- Led the team in rebounding for the first time in her Valpo career with a career-high eight on Dec. 29, 2016 at Detroit Mercy. Also surpassed the 100-point mark for her career in that game.
- 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.
- Enjoyed the most productive game of her Valpo career with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting on Feb. 2, 2017 against Youngstown State. Also grabbed four rebounds and handed out four assists. Had a career-high three 3-pointers in the victory.
- As a junior, led the team in scoring (18.0 ppg), rebounding (7.8 ppg), 3-point percentage (.430), free-throw percentage (.858) and steals (35).
- At 18.0 points per game, she owns the highest 2016-17 scoring average of any player in the Missouri Valley Conference this season.
- Became the first Valpo player in the last 23 years to score 500 points in a single season in 2016-17. Finished the season with 559 total points, the second most in program history.
- Scored the 1,000th point of her Valpo career on Jan. 17, 2017 at Green Bay, becoming the 14th player in program history to join the 1,000-point club.
- Enters her senior season with 1,236 career points, which already ranks sixth in program history.
- Her 2016-17 free-throw percentage was the second-best single-season free throw percentage in program history.
- Had as many double-doubles in a five-game stretch from Jan. 12-20, 2017 as she did in the first 73 games of her collegiate career.
- Got to the free-throw line more as a junior than she did in her first two collegiate seasons combined. Went 10-for-10 at the charity stripe on Jan. 28 at UIC, becoming the 10th player in program history to go perfect at the foul line with at least 10 attempts in a game.
- 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.
- Only two players in program history had 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.
- Scored 33 points on Dec. 3, 2016 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.
- 2014-15 Horizon League Freshman of the Year, 2014-15 Horizon League Sixth Player of the Year, 2016-17 All-Horizon League Second Team, team’s Sixth Player of the Year in 2014-15 and 2015-16, team’s MVP and co- Most Improved Player in 2016-17.
- Shot 43.3 percent from 3-point range as a freshman in 2014-2015, the fourth best single-season mark in program history. Now owns two of the Top 5 single-season 3-point field goal percentage marks.
- As a junior, increased her scoring average from the previous year by nearly eight points, boosted her 3-point percentage by nearly 12 percent and over doubled her number of total rebounds and made free throws from the previous season.
- Made 199 field goals as a junior, tied for third in program history.
- Finished in double-figure scoring in 28 of the team’s 31 games last season, leading the squad in scoring on 23 occasions
- Set what was at the time a career high with eight points including two made 3s on Dec. 4, 2016 at Notre Dame.
- Notched a career-high 15 points and led the team in scoring in the final game of the 2016-17 season, a Horizon League Tournament matchup with Green Bay. She went 4-for-4 from 3-point range in that contest.
- 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, 2016.
- Matched her season high in rebounds and established her season watermark in scoring in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament, posting 11 points and eight boards to help the Crusaders to a victory over Youngstown State.
- Named the team’s Rookie of the Year in 2016-17.
- Father Scott Morrison is a former Valparaiso men’s basketball player.
- Knocked down three 3s in her Crusader debut, becoming the first player to do so since 2014. Hales became the first freshman to pour in three 3s in a season opener in the last decade.
- Had a streak of 21 straight made free throws that spanned three different months during her freshman year. Finished the season second on the team in free-throw percentage at 81.4.
- Scored nine points at Stetson on Nov. 12, 2016, marking the third straight year a Valpo freshman has scored nine points or more on opening night.
- Opened conference play in style with a career-high 13 points on Dec. 29, 2016 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, 2017 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.
- Father Ross played football and basketball at Indiana University.
- Notched her first career made basket against a Division-I opponent on Jan. 14, 2017 at Youngstown State. Did so in style, finishing an important layup despite being fouled.
- Scored seven points on Feb. 16, 2017 against Oakland, a new career high. Shattered her previous best of four. Also dished out a career-high four assists in 26 minutes, the most playing time she received in a game during her freshman season.
- Played in the first five games of the 2016-17 season before suffering a season-ending knee injury on Nov. 25 vs. Liberty.
- Had her best performance of the year in her return to her hometown area on Nov. 19 at Illinois State, turning in nine points and seven rebounds.
- Received the team’s Hardest Worker Award.
- Played in two games during her first season on campus before missing the bulk of the season due to an injury.
- Rattled off 17.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 1.5 blocks in her final prep campaign with the Highland (Ohio) Hornets.
- Was a four-year starter and two-year captain at Rice Lake High School, where she was named to the WBCA All-State Game and Border Battle All-Star Game.
- Brother Wally played basketball in the NBL of Canada in 2016-17 and made the all-rookie team.
- Brother Ellwood is finishing up student teaching at Valley City State University, N.D., where he was the captain of the basketball team and a track athlete.
- Brother Henry is a Detroit Pistons forward and former Marquette standout.
- Helped Herscher High School finish with a 25-2 record in her senior season.
- Played for Example Sports AAU under the direction of coach Barry Bradford, the father of Valpo men’s basketball player Micah Bradford.
- Named MVP of an Example Sports AAU alumni game against college player who had gone through the program.
- Participated in her conference’s all-star game as a senior in high school.
- Named a 2016-17 Indiana All-Star, earning a place on the 13-player roster.
- Led South Bend St. Joseph to the 2016-17 Indiana Class 3A state title, averaging 14.4 points per game and 3.1 assists per game during her senior season.
- Helped the Indians finish her senior campaign with a 26-2 record.
- Started her prep career at LaPorte, approximately 20 miles from Valpo, before transferring to South Bend St. Joseph before her junior season.
- Won over 20 regional and national titles over a five-year span while playing for the SMAC Ballers AAU program.
- Finished fourth on her school’s all-time scoring list with 931 points, while finishing as the program’s all-time leader in both rebounds (767) and blocks (181).
- Averaged 14 points, 4.5 assists, 3 steals and 3.5 rebounds per game during her senior year at Chippewa.
- Helped her team compile a 104-13 record during her four years of high school basketball, including a 55-1 mark in league play.
- Helped her team win league titles in all four seasons.