Valparaiso (3-3, 0-0 MVC)
Game #7 - Thursday, December 5 - 10 a.m. CT
at Detroit Mercy (0-8, 0-0 Horizon)
Calihan Hall (8,295) - Detroit, Mich.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: After eight days away from competition, the Valpo women’s basketball team returns to action with a morning tipoff on Thursday at Detroit Mercy. With final exam week approaching next week, the matchup with the Titans is Valpo’s lone contest over a stretch of 18 days.
Previously: A combination of lock-down defense in the third quarter and one of the best shooting nights in program history from the 3-point arc by sophomore Carie Weinman helped lift the Valpo women’s basketball team to a 61-54 road victory at Toledo last Wednesday night. Weinman finished the night 6-of-8 from downtown and poured in a game-high 20 points in the win.
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Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans (11-27) 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: Detroit Mercy leads the all-time series with Valpo by a 16-11 margin. Most of the matchups between the two programs came when Valpo was a Horizon League member (2007-2017), a stretch in which the Titans held a 13-10 advantage in the series. However, in the last five years of shared membership in the Horizon League, the two teams split 12 meetings. The two teams each won on their respective home court in 2016-17 in the last matchups: UDM winning 85-60 in Detroit and Valpo winning 57-55 at the ARC. Valpo’s seniors are the only members of the program who have faced UDM, as Grace Hales tallied 13 points and four rebounds in the road game against the Titans that year, while Maya Meredith chipped in five points and four assists in the home win.
- 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.
- Valpo never led in the first quarter, but also never let Toledo gain more than a four-point lead, thanks in large part to hitting 4-of-6 from deep in the first 10 minutes, and the game was tied 18-18 at the end of one.
- Valpo went scoreless for nearly five minutes in the second quarter to allow Toledo to gain a seven-point lead, but rallied to take the lead with a 10-0 run before the Rockets scored four straight to take a 34-33 lead into halftime.
- Toledo scored baskets on each of its first two trips in the third quarter, the latter putting it ahead 38-34 with 9:11 to play in the period. But Valpo locked down the Rockets for the remainder of the period, allowing them just a single field goal at the 5:06 mark as Toledo went 1-of-10 from the field and committed five turnovers over the final nine minutes of the third quarter.
- Valpo took advantage on the offensive end as well, scoring 15 points over the final nine minutes of the period to pull out to a 49-40 lead at the end of the third.
- Valpo scored just five points over the first seven minutes of the third quarter, allowing Toledo to whittle the lead down to 54-52, but Marlee Profitt scored baskets on back-to-back trips to extend the lead back to six points, and Toledo never got closer than four the rest of the way.
- The overall defensive performance stood out. Toledo shot 47.1% from the field in the first quarter, but was just 12-of-44 (27.3%) from the field over the final 30 minutes – highlighted by the nine-minute stretch in the third when it was just 1-of-10 from the floor.
...versus Bowling Green
- Valpo trailed by 12 with 8:32 to play in regulation before quickly rallying to within three, 69-66, with under seven minutes to go.
- BGSU pushed its lead back to 74-66 as the clock ticked under 3:30 remaining, but a 3-point play by Grace Hales and a 3-pointer from Cara VanKempen made it a two-point game with 2:44 to go.
- The teams traded blows from there. The Falcons got a 3-pointer with 45 seconds to go to make it a four-point game, but Valpo raced the ball down and got a quick basket from Shay Frederick.
- BGSU split a pair of free throws before Grace White grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back through contact for a 3-point play with 20 seconds to play, forcing overtime.
- The lid lifted on the scoring in overtime 1:21 into the extra period, as Frederick hit junior Ella Ellenson for a 3-pointer which gave Valpo the lead for good. A circus layup by White on the next trip pushed the advantage to five points, and BGSU never had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead the rest of the way.
- The Brown and Gold will stay away from competition during final exam week, returning to action Sunday, Dec. 15 at the ARC against UIC.
- That is the first of two games in a three-day stretch preceding Christmas, as Valpo will also host Morehead State at the ARC on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
...on the road
- Valpo is 2-2 in true road games this year, most recently taking down Toledo in the fourth of six true road non-conference games.
- Valpo’s first road win of the year, at NDSU, was the program’s largest true road win since a 13-point victory at Evansville on Feb. 25, 2018.
- Valpo has already matched its road win total from last year, as the 2018-19 squad 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 last season came in non-conference action, as it defeated Chicago State and Purdue Fort Wayne.
- Detroit Mercy enters Thursday’s game still in search of its first win of the season, as it comes into the contest at 0-8 this year.
- The Titans most recently dropped a pair of games in Las Vegas, falling 66-60 to Sacred Heart and 69-47 to Tennessee Tech.
- Sylare Starks is the only UDM player averaging in double figures, as she has scored an even 10.0 points per game so far this season, but has shot just 28.7% from the field.
- Former Valpo player Nicole Johanson has played in all eight games off the bench for the Titans and is averaging 6.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Weinman Earns Award
- Sophomore Carie Weinman was tabbed the MVC Newcomer of the Week after scoring a game-high 20 points last week in the win at Toledo.
- 18 of Weinman’s points came from behind the 3-point line, as she connected on 6-of-8 from deep - tied for the sixth-best single-game 3-point percentage (minimum 7 attempts) in program history and the best percentage by a Valpo player since 2011.
- Weinman scored 11 of her 20 points in the third quarter, helping turn a one-point halftime deficit into a nine-point lead with 10 minutes to play.
- Weinman is Valpo’s first Newcomer of the Week honoree since joining the MVC, and only the second weekly honoree in the Valley overall for Valpo, as Meredith Hamlet earned Player of the Week accolades on Dec. 3, 2018.
- Last Wednesday’s win at Toledo was already Valpo’s third of the year versus a program it lost to last season.
- Valpo is now 3-1 this year in such games, defeating North Dakota State, Bowling Green, and Toledo, while dropping a two-point decision at North Dakota.
- Valpo has improved its scoring margin in those four contests by an average of 11 points/game.
- In all, six of Valpo’s non-conference matchups are opportunities for it to flip a result and beat an opponent it lost to last year - North Dakota State, North Dakota, Bowling Green, Toledo, UIC and Morehead State.
Knocking Down the Freebies
- Senior Grace Hales has been literally automatic from the free throw stripe so far this year for Valpo.
- After knocking down a pair at Toledo last time out, Hales is now a perfect 16-of-16 from the foul line this season.
- Hales is one of just two players in the nation who sits at 100% from the stripe and qualifies for the NCAA leaderboard with at least 2.5 makes/game (Eva Hodgson, William & Mary).
- Going back to last season, Hales has now connected on 30 consecutive free throws.
Draining The Threes
- Led by Weinman’s 6-of-8 effort from deep, Valpo ended the win over Toledo with a 10-for-23 mark from the 3-point line.
- The 10 triples already marked the third time in the first six games this year that Valpo has reached double digits in the category.
- While last year’s squad smashed the previous program record for 3-pointers made in a season, it took them a while to get revved up, as it wasn’t until the 15th game last season that Valpo hit the 10-triple threshold for the third time.
- Valpo didn’t blink at the deficits it faced as it rallied for the come-from-behind victory over BGSU.
- The Crusaders faced a maximum deficit of 13 points with 30 seconds to play in the first half before banking in a 3-pointer at the horn to make it a 10-point game at the break.
- It doesn’t take a large memory bank to remember the last 13-point deficit Valpo overcame to win a game, as it erased that exact margin in last season’s MVC Tournament win over Indiana State.
- However, it would require a bit more encyclopedic knowledge to recall the last time a Valpo team rallied from down 12 in the fourth quarter.
- In fact, it hasn’t happened since the move to quarters - the last time Valpo trailed by 12 or more in the final 10 minutes of a game and won came on Feb. 17, 2011 at Loyola, when it was down 63-49 with 8:45 to play and roared back for a 72-68 victory.
- Valpo’s 95 points in the BGSU win marked its highest point total since dropping 101 on Evansville in January 2018.
- It was Valpo’s first overtime win since defeating Detroit Mercy in the 2016 Horizon League Tournament, 94-91. That was also the last time Valpo won a game in which it surrendered at least 90 points.
- Leading Valpo’s 27-of-32 effort from the foul line was Shay Frederick, who finished 13-of-14 – tied for the fifth-most free throws made in a single game by a player in Valpo history, and the most since Ashley Varner connected on 13 at Cleveland State in February 2012.
- Frederick’s 13 free throws propelled her to a 21-point night to tie her for team-high honors and match her career high.
- Grace Hales enjoyed a very efficient afternoon to end up with 21 points to match her career best as well. The senior was 7-of-10 from the field and a perfect 7-for-7 from the foul line.
Life on the Road
- This year’s Valpo squad is getting well acclimated to life away from home, as the Detroit Mercy game is part of an opening stretch in which it will play six of its first seven games away from the ARC - including the first four.
- The last time a Valpo team opened a season with this kind of stretch was back in 2013-14, as that season began with eight of nine away from home.
- Valpo’s second home game this season will not come until Dec. 15, and it’s been a quarter century since the Brown and Gold have gone that deep into a season before a second home game. In fact, the 1994-95 team didn’t contest its home opener until Dec. 20, and didn’t appear at home for a second time until Jan. 7.
- The win against Toledo, which advanced to the second round of last year’s WNIT, was the third of four non-conference matchups for Valpo against postseason teams from a season ago.
- Valpo opened the season against Ohio State (WNIT) and also played at Northwestern, a WNIT finalist, in the early going.
- 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).
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.