IU Northwest (7-7, 1-0 A.I.I.)
at Valparaiso (4-4, 0-0 MVC)
Game No. 9 – Friday, Dec. 15 – 7 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team will return to the court on Friday night as the Crusaders clash with the IU Northwest RedHawks, a local NAIA opponent from nearby Gary. The Crusaders will look for their third win in the last four games and attempt to up their home record to 4-0 on the season.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders pulled away late for a 71-60 victory over Chicago State on Sunday afternoon at the ARC. Senior Dani Franklin led all scorers and rebounders with a double-double of 23 and 11, while sophomore Maya Meredith had her best day in a Valpo uniform, scoring 10 of her career-high 12 points in the fourth quarter. Freshman Nicole Konieczny dished out six assists, while Meredith Hamlet also reached double figures with 10 points.
Following the Crusaders: Friday’s game can be seen on The Valley on ESPN3 with Dave Huseman (play-by-play) and Renee’ Turpa (color commentary) on the call. The game can also be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso featuring Ben Ariano’s play-by-play. Links to live video, audio and stats can be found on ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Tracey Dorow: Tracey Dorow was named head coach of the Valparaiso women's basketball program 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: Friday’s game will mark the third meeting between Valpo and Indiana University Northwest. The Crusaders have won both prior meetings, most recently prevailing 79-57 in December 2015. Meredith Hamlet was Valpo’s top performer in that game, as the then-freshman poured in 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting and knocked down all five of her 3-point attempts. Dani Franklin went 7-for-9 off the bench to finish as Valpo’s second-leading scorer with 15 points. The only meeting before that was Nov. 30, 2011, an 80-47 Valpo victory.
Valpo in The Valley: Valparaiso University is competing in its first season as a member institution in the Missouri Valley Conference after a 10-year run in the Horizon League. The Valley is celebrating 25 years of women’s athletics in the conference over the course of the 2017-18 academic and athletic year. Valpo head coach Tracey Dorow played at Illinois State during the first season of women’s athletics in The Valley and is back for Year 25 and her first season as a head coach in the conference.
- Valpo has a chance to run its home record to 4-0 on Friday. If the Crusaders can beat the RedHawks, they’ll start 4-0 at home for the first time since 2007-08, when Valpo won its first five home games. Valpo currently owns a five-game home winning streak that dates back to the final two games at the ARC last season, Valpo’s longest home winning streak since winning 10 straight – a streak that spanned the end of the 2006-07 season and the start of the 2007-08 season.
- Dani Franklin has now reached the following milestones – 1,000 career points, 500 career rebounds and 500 career made field goals. She’s joined in that elite group by Debbie Bolen, Jeanette Gray and Sarrah Stricklett as the only players in Valpo history to achieve all three of those feats.
- A win on Friday would give the Crusaders a winning record through nine games for the second consecutive season. Last year’s 5-4 mark was the latest into the season Valpo had a winning record since 2008-09, when the Crusaders were 9-7 through 16 games.
- A victory would also allow Valpo to reach five nonconference wins for the second straight year, the first time the Crusaders have won five nonconference games in consecutive seasons since 2007-08 and 2008-09.
- Free throw shooting has been indicative of the team’s results so far this season, as the Crusaders have won all four games they’ve had a better free throw percentage than their opponent and lost all four games they’ve had a worse free throw percentage than their opponent.
- Freshman point guard Nicole Konieczny has turned in five or more assists in six of her last seven games.
- Sophomore Caitlin Morrison has had four blocks or more in each of her last two home games.
- Valpo has shot above 30 percent from 3-point range in all eight games this season and above 35 percent in seven straight. This is the first time Valpo has shot better than 30 percent from 3 in each of its first eight games since the turn of the century. In addition, the Crusaders are the only team in The Valley that has shot better than 30 percent from 3 every game this season.
- Valpo has used the same starting lineup in six straight games – and four players (Dani Franklin, Bryce Blood, Caitlin Morrison and Meredith Hamlet) have started every game this season. Franklin has the team’s longest streak of consecutive starts with 35.
Milestone/Record Book Watch
- Dani Franklin enters this game with 1,364 career points, which ranks fourth in Valpo history. She needs 97 more points to pass Jeanette Gray and move into third.
- Franklin holds a career scoring average of 13.9 points per game, which ranks second in program history. The program record is 18.4 points per game, set by Debbie Bolen (1989-93).
- Franklin now ranks third in Valpo history with 505 career made field goals. She moved past Sarrah Stricklett (1996-2000, 502) on Sunday against Chicago State. She is 91 makes away from passing Jeanette Gray for second in program history.
- Franklin has amassed 149 3-pointers in her illustrious career, a total that ranks seventh in program history. She needs three more to pass current Valpo ESPN3 color commentator Jamie Gutowski (Stangel) for sixth in program history. Gutowski made 151 3s during her Valpo career, which spanned 2002-2006.
- Franklin owns a career 3-point field goal percentage of .387, which currently sits third all-time.
- Franklin overtook Jill Otto (1985-89) and moved into the Top 15 in program history in career rebounds on Sunday against Chicago State. She has 543 career rebounds, 15th in program history.
Inside the RedHawks
- Graduates of the following local high schools are represented on their roster – Griffith, Chesterton, Lake Central, Hobart, Bishop Noll, River Forest, Hanover Central, Kouts and LaPorte.
- Under the direction of 11th-year head coach Ryan Shelton, who has led the team to eight winning seasons in the last nine years and has averaged more than 20 wins per season.
- Have won four A.I.I. conference championships during Shelton’s tenure.
- Led in scoring by Grayce Roach, who is averaging 24.3 points per game. Chloe Salman (16.2) and Weslee Wilson (14.1) are also in double figures, while Alexis Blake is the team’s leading rebounder with 8.7 per game.
- Coming off a 75-71 home win over Trinity Christian College on Wednesday night.
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 Horizon League opponents, Valpo went 0-9 before going 4-5 in second meetings. The plus-four win turnaround was the best in the Horizon League. 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 Horizon League 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 season.
- 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.
- Had a season-high five made 3s on Dec. 8 at Purdue, all in the first half. Scored 19 points in the game, all coming before halftime. Became the first Crusader with a 19-point half this season and the first Valpo player to hit five 3s in one half since she did so at Northern Kentucky on Dec. 3, 2016.
- Has scored 20 points or more in five games in her collegiate career, and none of them have come at the Athletics-Recreation Center. She has four 20-point performances in true road games and one in a neutral site affair.
- Poured in a season-high 25 points on Dec. 3 at Longwood, making a career-high nine free throws.
- Posted a team-high 14 points, the 25th double-figure scoring game of her Valpo career, on Nov. 21 at Miami (Ohio). Followed by scoring 14 more in Valpo’s win over Grand Canyon on Nov. 25.
- Started in Valpo’s season opener for the fourth consecutive year.
- 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 on Jan. 14, 2016 at Youngstown State, 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, she 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.
- 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.
- Had her first double-double of the season and the 10th of her career on Dec. 10 against Chicago State, pulling down a season-high 11 rebounds to go along with 24 points.
- After being held to four points at Liberty on Dec. 2 and six through three quarters on Dec. 3 at Longwood, had an 11-point fourth quarter to help the Crusaders fend off the Lancers.
- Started her senior season with a game-high 26 points against IU Kokomo. She knocked down nine field goals in the win, including four 3s.
- Moved into fourth in program history in career scoring with her 23-point output on Nov. 25 against Grand Canyon. This marked the 17th time in Franklin’s Crusader career that she scored 20 points or more.
- 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).
- 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 free-throw line on Jan. 28 at UIC, becoming the 10th player in program history to go perfect at the foul stripe 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.
- Made a key steal that led to a fast-break 3-pointer by Dani Franklin in a five-point win over Grand Canyon on Nov. 25.
- Knocked down the only shot she attempted at Miami on Nov. 21.
- Set what was at the time a career high with eight points including two made 3s on Dec. 4, 2016 against 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.
- Has four blocks or more in each of her last two home games, most recently notching four on Dec. 10 against Chicago State.
- Swatted a career-high five shots on Nov. 25 against Grand Canyon, including a block of a 3-point try that would have tied the game with less than 10 seconds left. Previously hadn’t had more than two blocks in any game in her career.
- Squeezed a career-high 10 rebounds on Nov. 21 at Miami, five of which came in the first quarter.
- Established career watermarks in assists (four) and steals (three) in Valpo’s season opener against IU Kokomo.
- 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 high 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.
- Has made at least one 3 in seven of her eight games this season.
- Hit seven straight 3-point attempts on Dec. 2 at Liberty and Dec. 3 at Longwood, going 4-for-4 against the Flames before knocking down her first three triples against the Lancers. Scored a career-high 14 points at Liberty, the only Crusader in double figures in that game.
- Only Crusader who scored double figures in each of Valpo’s first three games. That marked the first time in the sophomore’s Valpo career that she has reached double figures in scoring in three straight.
- Drained a career-high four 3-pointers to finish with 12 points on Nov. 21 at Miami (Ohio).
- Made a career-high five field goals while scoring 12 points – one shy of a career best – in the season-opening win over IU Kokomo. Hales reached double figures for the sixth time in her career.
- 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.
- 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.
- Had 10 of her career-high 12 points in the fourth quarter of a 71-60 win over Chicago State on Dec. 10.
- Made a pair of impressive blocks on Dec. 8 at Purdue.
- Knocked down a pair of 3s in a game for the first time in her Crusader career and finished with a career-high 11 points on Nov. 28 at Bowling Green. The 3-point makes were her first of the season, but she hasn’t attempted one in either game since then.
- Played 13 minutes in Valpo’s season opener against IU Kokomo, scoring four points.
- 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 her first game in over a calendar year on Dec. 2 at Liberty, scoring her first basket of the season by converting a layup despite being fouled.
- 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.
- Set career highs in points (nine) and rebounds (six) on Nov. 21 at Miami (Ohio), knocking down all three of her attempts from the floor while going 3-of-4 at the line.
- Scored the first field goal of her collegiate career in Valpo’s season opener against IU Kokomo, a memorable coast-to-coast layup. Also hauled in a career-high five rebounds in that contest.
- 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.
- Contributed six points and six rebounds in the first game of her collegiate career, the season opener against IU Kokomo.
- 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 players who had gone through the program.
- Participated in her conference’s all-star game as a senior in high school.
- Has registered five or more assists in six of her last seven games.
- Was two assists shy of a double-double on Nov. 28 at Bowling Green, finishing with personal bests in both points (13) and assists (eight).
- Became the first Crusader to have eight or more assists and score double figures in the same game since Jessica Carr posted a double-double of 13 points and 11 assists on Jan. 21, 2015 in a 90-79 loss at Milwaukee.
- Made her first career start on Nov. 25 against Grand Canyon and dished out seven assists while scoring eight points to lift Valpo to an 80-75 win.
- Handed out six assists in the first road game of her career on Nov. 21 at Miami.
- Had six points in her collegiate debut on Nov. 16 against IU Kokomo.
- 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.
- Matched a season high with five made field goals – an efficient 5-of-6 shooting – on Dec. 3 at Longwood on her way to 11 points, one of three Crusaders in double figures.
- Contributed nine points including 5-of-5 at the free-throw line on Nov. 28 at Bowling Green, a game played close to her hometown of Toledo.
- Chipped in nine points and five rebounds in a win over Grand Canyon on Nov. 25.
- Became the first Crusader since 2008 with a double-double in a season opener by scoring 13 points and grabbing 13 boards in her collegiate debut on Nov. 16 against IU Kokomo.
- 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).
- Scored the first point of her collegiate career on Dec. 2 at Liberty with a made free throw.
- Made her collegiate debut on Nov. 16 against IU Kokomo, playing eight minutes.
- 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.
- Left early in the game against Miami (Ohio) with an injury and did not return. Has been sidelined since that contest.
- Started in Valpo’s season opener for the fourth consecutive year.
- Led the team in assists in 18 games during her sophomore season. Her 134 assists in 2016-17 ranked seventh in program history and were the most by any Crusader in the last 17 years.
- Entered 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.
- Played in the exhibition game against St. Francis (Ill.), but since then has been sidelined by an injury.
- 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 2016-17 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.