Valparaiso (1-2, 0-0 MVC)
Game #4 - Thursday, November 21 - 7 p.m.
at Northwestern (3-0, 0-0 B1G)
Welsh-Ryan Arena (7,039) - Evanston, Ill.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valpo women’s basketball team closes out its four-game stretch away from home to open the 2019-20 season on Thursday night, as it makes the trip up to Evanston to face off with Northwestern, a WNIT finalist last season. The game is the second of the young campaign for Valpo against a Big Ten foe.
Previously: Valpo traveled to Grand Forks Sunday afternoon to take on the Fighting Hawks of North Dakota. A low-scoring fourth quarter featured six lead changes, and Valpo had a chance with 8.9 seconds left to tie or take the lead, but its last-second shot was off the mark as it suffered a 65-63 defeat. Addison Stoller led Valpo with 23 points and nine rebounds.
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Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans (9-26) is in her second season as head coach of the Valpo women’s basketball program in 2019-20. Evans’ impact on the program was immediately clear in her first year, as Valpo shattered its previous program record of 224 made 3-pointers in a single season by knocking down 276 trifectas - a mark which ranks seventh in MVC history. Valpo ranked among the top-25 nationally in both total 3-pointers and 3-pointers per game in Evans’ first season at the helm of the Valpo program.
Series Notes: Thursday marks the third all-time meeting between Valpo and Northwestern, but it’s been over a decade since the two squads last met. The Wildcats earned a 64-45 win in Evanston on Nov. 10, 2006, while Valpo came out 57-51 victors at the ARC on Nov. 30, 2005. There are a couple people currently associated with the program who have familiarity with Northwestern - director of basketball operations Kaylin Speedy was formerly a manager for Purdue women’s basketball prior to arriving at Valpo, while Dr. Jamie (Gutowski) Stangel - a former Valpo player, current home analyst on ESPN broadcasts and professor in the department of kinesiology at Valpo - played in the Valpo win over the Wildcats at the ARC in 2005, going for six points, four rebounds and three steals.
- Valpo has been selected to finish in eighth place in the MVC preseason poll, totaling 126 points.
- Valpo is in its third season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference in 2019-20.
...looking back at last year
- Valpo posted an 8-24 record last season in head coach Mary Evans’ first year at the helm and went 3-15 in MVC play.
- Last year’s Valpo squad was ravaged by injuries, many times dressing just nine scholarship players.
- Valpo shattered its program record for 3-pointers in a season in 2018-19, knocking down 276 triples to race past the previous record of 224.
- Valpo also moved into seventh place in a single season in MVC history in 3-pointers made.
- Shay Frederick was named to the MVC All-Freshman Team, while Meredith Hamlet was an Honorable Mention MVC Scholar-Athlete.
...at North Dakota
- Valpo used a 9-0 second-quarter run to turn a six-point deficit at the end of one quarter into a 36-34 lead at intermission.
- The Fighting Hawks started the second half on a 9-0 run to pull ahead by seven, but Valpo clawed back and regained the lead with under three minutes to play in the third.
- The game was tied at the end of the third quarter, 54-54, before Valpo scored five quick points to take a five-point lead to open the fourth.
- Valpo led 63-62 with 4:46 to play after a pair of free throws, and the two teams both went scoreless for the next four-plus minutes.
- North Dakota took the lead on a second-chance basket with 29 seconds to play, and following a Valpo turnover, split a pair of free throws with 8.9 seconds remaining.
- Valpo’s last-second attempt at the game-tying basket was off the mark.
- Addison Stoller led Valpo with 23 points, a game high and just one off her career high, and nine rebounds.
- Valpo limited North Dakota to just 32.8% shooting from the field and forced the Fighting Hawks into 21 turnovers, but shot just 33.3% and committed 20 turnovers of its own.
...at North Dakota State
- NDSU pulled out to a 16-8 lead seven minutes into the game, but Valpo would rally and gain the lead late in the second quarter as part of a 10-0 run which had it up 26-23 at the half.
- The Bison scored six of the first eight points of the second half to briefly pull in front, but Valpo responded with 3-pointers on each of its next three possessions to lead, 37-31.
- The Brown and Gold never trailed again, and used a 14-4 stretch in the fourth quarter during which they held NDSU without a field goal to pull away.
- Stoller led all scorers in the game with 21 points, going 3-5 from behind the arc to match a career high with three 3-point makes. It was her first 20-point effort of the year after having six such games a season ago.
- Hales added 14 points and tied a career-best with nine rebounds.
- Valpo finally opens up at home this Sunday, Nov. 24, as it hosts Bowling Green.
- But then it’s right back to the road for the Brown and Gold for the next two games, starting next Wednesday evening, Nov. 27, at Toledo.
...on the road
- Valpo is 1-1 in true road games this year, following the narrow loss at North Dakota last time out in the second of six true road non-conference games.
- The road win at NDSU was Valpo’s largest true road win since a 13-point victory at Evansville on Feb. 25, 2018.
- Valpo posted a 2-12 record in true road games last season in Coach Evans’ first season at the helm.
- Both of Valpo’s road victories came in non-conference action, as it defeated Chicago State and Purdue Fort Wayne.
- Northwestern enters Thursday night’s game at 3-0 on the season, most recently winning 63-42 at Duke on Sunday.
- The win over the Blue Devils was highlighted by a 29-4 advantage in the third quarter.
- A First Team All-Big Ten performer a year ago, Lindsey Pulliam poured in a game-high 26 points in Northwestern’s win at Duke and is averaging 23 ppg through three contests.
- Abbie Wolf adds 13.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game as well for the Wildcats.
- It’s early in the season, but Valpo has turned up the defensive aggression and has forced 21 turnovers through the first three games.
- The Brown and Gold helped cause 18 turnovers in the season opener against Ohio State, forced 22 miscues in the win at NDSU and then saw North Dakota commit 21 turnovers last time out.
- The turnover differential was eye-popping in the win over the Bison, as while the defense forced 22 NDSU turnovers, Valpo committed just eight turnovers of its own on the offensive end.
- The +14 turnover margin was the largest single-game difference in Valpo’s favor since the Brown and Gold forced 27 turnovers while committing just 11 in a win over Colorado State on Nov. 22, 2009.
- Over half of Valpo’s opponent’s turnovers have been steals by the Brown and Gold, as they have averaged a conference-best 10.3 steals/game through the season’s first three games.
- That mark is up from an average of 8.9 steals/game last year.
- Shay Frederick has led the way with three steals per contest, including four last time out at North Dakota - second-most in the MVC.
The Difference From Deep
- Having a +30 advantage in points from the 3-point line is typically a good start towards winning a game, and that’s exactly what Valpo enjoyed in the win at North Dakota State last Friday night.
- Valpo finished the game 10-of-30 from the 3-point line, while holding the Bison without a 3-point make (0-for-14).
- It was the first time Valpo has held an advantage of at least 10 triples over its opponent since canning 13 3-pointers to Illinois State’s two on Feb. 3 of last season.
- Prior to last Friday, the last time Valpo had kept its opponent from hitting a 3-pointer over the course of an entire game came on Nov. 29, 2013 at FIU.
Life on the Road
- Valpo is in the midst of a four-game stretch away from home to open the 2019-20 campaign.
- The Crusaders have one neutral site game and three road contests before finally opening up at home on Nov. 24.
- It is Valpo’s longest stretch of games away from home to open a season since beginning the 2007-08 season with six consecutive games away from the ARC.
- The Nov. 24 home opener is the program’s latest since the 2010-11 squad also took to the ARC floor for the first time on Nov. 24.
- The lid-lifter against Ohio State was one of four non-conference matchups for Valpo against postseason teams from a season ago.
- A WNIT finalist from last year awaits Valpo tonight, as it makes the short jaunt to Evanston to face Northwestern.
- Valpo will take on Toledo, which advanced to the second round of the WNIT last year, in a road game on Nov. 27.
- The quartet of WNIT opponents rounds out with a home game at the ARC against Morehead State - which defeated Ohio State in the opening round of last year’s WNIT - on Dec. 17.
- That sets the stage for an MVC slate which features two matchups apiece against three postseason teams last year: Missouri State (NCAA Sweet 16), Drake (NCAA) and UNI (WNIT).
Valpo Versus the Bee One Gee
- Thursday marks Valpo’s second game against a Big Ten opponent this year, as it previously faced Ohio State to open the year.
- This comes after Mary Evans’ squad took on Illinois last year in non-conference play.
- Valpo is in search of its first win over a Big Ten foe since a 64-52 victory over Indiana at the ARC to open the 2012-13 campaign.
From Way Downtown
- Valpo showcased a new style of play a year ago in the first season under head coach Mary Evans, far surpassing the program’s previous highs regarding 3-pointers.
- The 2018-19 squad set a single-season record with 276 3-pointers made, shattering the previous mark of 224 shared by the 1991-92 and 2007-08 Valpo teams and moving into seventh place in a single season in MVC history.
- Last year’s team also established a new watermark with 837 3-point attempts, roaring past the previous record of 676 held by the 1991-92 squad.
- The 2018-19 team boasts two of the top-five games in program history in 3-pointers made, including a record-tying 17 on Dec. 21, 2018 versus Bowling Green.
- Last year’s squad also holds five of the top-six games in terms of 3-pointers attempted, highlighted by a record-setting 44 tries from downtown on Feb. 8, 2019 against Drake.
- Looking at advanced metrics, Valpo ranked seventh nationally in 3-point rate (41.0%) - the percentage of all scoring attempts that are 3-point attempts - and eighth nationally in percentage of points from 3-point attempts (40.5%).
- It was a balanced effort from beyond the arc as well, as no one player had more than 58 triples on the year. Seven different players attempted at least two 3-pointers/game, with three of those seven trying at least four triples per contest.