Valparaiso (9-5, 1-2 MVC)
Game #15 - Sunday, January 12 - 1 p.m.
at Evansville (3-11, 0-3 MVC)
Meeks Family Fieldhouse (1,164) - Evansville, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valpo women’s basketball team looks for its first two-game sweep of a conference weekend since joining the Missouri Valley Conference on Sunday afternoon, as coming off a 19-point win at Indiana State Friday, the Brown and Gold close out the weekend’s action at Evansville.
Previously: Valpo earned its first victory in Missouri Valley Conference play this year and extended its road winning streak to four straight games Friday in Terre Haute, Ind., leading start-to-finish in a 75-56 victory over Indiana State. Valpo never trailed in the win, racing out to an early 15-4 lead. Addison Stoller paced three Valpo players in double figures with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN+
Radio: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)
Live Stats/Streaming Audio: Available via ValpoAthletics.com
Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans (17-29) 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: Valpo and Evansville have split 16 meetings all-time, with each squad winning on eight occasions. Valpo holds a 3-1 advantage in the series since joining the MVC prior to the 2017-18 campaign, but last season saw both teams earn victories on their respective home courts: Valpo 93-49 at the ARC, and Evansville 77-65 in Evansville. Grace Hales averaged a team-best 15.5 points per game over the two contests, including 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting in the home victory.
- 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 Indiana State
- Valpo led from before the opening tip on Friday evening, as an administrative technical foul was issued to Indiana State pre-game as the host for equipment failure. Grace Hales stepped up and hit both free throws to give the Brown and Gold a lead they would not relinquish.
- The early free throws propelled Valpo to a fast start, as it hit its first six field goal attempts into the first media timeout to race out to a 15-4 lead. Valpo eventually led 20-12 at the end of the first quarter.
- Valpo’s lead reached as many as 17 points in the second quarter, and after Indiana State had cut the advantage to 11 with 80 seconds to play in the half, the Brown and Gold scored the final two baskets of the half to take a 39-24 lead into the locker room.
- Hales drove for an inside basket and Addison Stoller knocked down a 3-pointer as Valpo scored the first five points of the second half, holding Indiana State scoreless for the opening 3:50 of the quarter as the lead extended to 20 points.
- Valpo led by as many as 21 points in the third quarter, but the Sycamores scored the final six points of the quarter to cut the lead to 51-36 with 10 minutes to play.
- Valpo scored on five of its first six possessions of the fourth quarter to push the lead back to 20 points and put the game away.
- It was the program’s first win in the regular season over Indiana State since 2001, as the Sycamores had entered Friday with five consecutive wins in regular season matchups.
- Valpo ended the game hitting a season-high 56.9% from the floor, including a combined 22-of-31 from the Crusaders’ starting quintet.
- 44 of Valpo’s points came in the paint, just two shy of a season best as the Crusaders held an 18-point advantage in the paint over the Sycamores.
- Valpo limited ISU to 38.3% shooting from the field, including just a 3-for-11 clip from the 3-point line. Valpo also forced 22 turnovers by the Sycamores.
...versus #21/19 Missouri State
- A back-and-forth first quarter saw the teams trade the lead on six occasions, as Valpo battled toe-to-toe with one of the nation’s top-20 teams. The Bears scored six of the quarter’s final eight points to pull ahead 17-16.
- Missouri State put together runs of 8-0 and 12-0 during the second quarter, out-scoring Valpo 24-7 in the period to take a 41-23 lead into intermission.
- Valpo knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to cut MSU’s lead to 13 points early in the third quarter before the Bears put together an 11-2 run to push their advantage to 53-31.
- Out of the media timeout, Valpo scored 13 straight points to get the deficit into single digits, and a Marlee Profitt 3-pointer with just over a minute to go in the quarter brought Valpo within 55-47.
- MSU scored the final four points of the period, however, and Valpo would get no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
- Valpo forced 16 Missouri State turnovers, 11 of which were steals as the Crusaders reached double figures in the category for the seventh time this year and the sixth time in the last seven games.
- Valpo went 14-for-22 from the 3-point line, a season high for 3-pointers made and 3-point percentage. It ties for the sixth-most 3-pointers in a single game and comes just up just .007 shy of cracking the top-10 chart for single-game 3-point percentage in program history.
- Despite entering the game third in the nation in free throw rate, the Brown and Gold set a season low for free throw attempts, going 6-of-8 from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, Missouri State went 28-of-36 from the foul line – the 28-free throw deficit the program’s largest in a single game since January 2011.
- The 13-point loss marked Valpo’s closest result against a nationally-ranked team since December 13, 2008, when it hosted #8/8 Notre Dame and dropped a narrow 63-55 decision. Valpo had played 20 games against nationally-ranked opposition since that contest.
- Valpo returns home for its next three games, starting Friday night against Illinois State.
- The Crusaders then welcome Bradley to the ARC on Sunday afternoon.
...on the road
- Valpo is 5-2 in true road games this year. The Brown and Gold went 4-2 in non-conference road play before winning their MVC road opener Friday night.
- Valpo has won at least five road games in a season for the first time since 2008-09.
- The 19-point wins at Detroit Mercy and at Indiana State are Valpo’s largest road victories since a 66-41 win at Youngstown State on Jan. 14, 2010.
- Three of Valpo’s four road non-conference victories came by double figures - the first time the program won three road non-conference games by 10+ points since 1999-2000.
- Valpo enters Sunday’s game with a four-game road winning streak.
- Evansville enters Sunday’s game at 3-11 overall and has opened MVC play 0-3, most recently falling 71-61 to Loyola at home on Friday night.
- The Purple Aces and Valpo had two mutual opponents in the non-conference - both teams beat Chicago State, while Valpo won at Eastern Illinois and Evansville lost at home to the Panthers.
- Freshman Abby Feit leads Evansville, averaging 14.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, while Lola Bracy is averaging 13.7 points per game in seven games since becoming eligible.
What a Win Would Mean
- With all the success Valpo has enjoyed in the first half of this season, a win on Sunday would be a milestone in a number of ways for the 2019-20 squad.
- It would be the team’s 10th win of the season, making them the fastest Valpo team to reach double-figure wins since the 2005-06 squad started 10-5.
- It would extend Valpo’s road winning streak to five straight games, which would be the longest streak since the 2004-05 team won five straight road contests Dec. 18-Jan. 5.
- It would be Valpo’s sixth road win of the season, the program’s most road victories since 2006-07.
- It would move Valpo to .500 in MVC play for the first time since joining the Valley.
- It would be Valpo’s first two-game sweep of an MVC weekend since joining the conference.
- It would be Valpo’s first two-game sweep of a league weekend since beating Cleveland State and Youngstown State in January 2016.
- It would be Valpo’s first two-game sweep of a league road weekend since winning at CSU and at YSU Feb. 28 and March 1, 2008.
- Valpo has enjoyed its strongest shooting performances of the year over the last couple outings.
- Last time out at Indiana State, Valpo shot a season-best 56.9% (29-of-51) from the floor.
- Against the Sycamores, the Brown and Gold connected on seven 3-pointers despite attempting a season-low 16 triples.
- The .438 3-point percentage was the fourth time in the last five games that Valpo has hit at least 40% of its shots from deep, after eclipsing 40% just once in the season’s first nine games.
- The recent 3-point shooting binge was highlighted by a 14-for-22 effort from deep last Sunday against #21/19 Missouri State.
- The 14 triples were a season high and tied for the sixth-most 3-pointers made in a single game in program history. Three of the top-six single-game totals have come since the arrival of Mary Evans as head coach prior to last season.
- Meanwhile, Valpo’s .636 shooting percentage from deep is not only easily the team’s season best, it marks the first time in Evans’ tenure that it has hit at a .500 clip or better from 3-point range. It also came just .007 shy of cracking the top-10 chart for single-game 3-point percentage in program history.
Hales On a Roll
- Leading the charge offensively recently for Valpo has been senior Grace Hales.
- Hales tallied 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field (2-of-4 3PT) last time out in the win at Indiana State.
- Over the last five games, Hales is averaging 15.4 points per game and hitting at a .652 clip from 3-point range.
- Included in that run is a 5-for-6 effort from deep against #21/19 Missouri State, matching her career high for 3-pointers made and tying for 10th on Valpo’s single-game individual 3-point percentage chart, as well as a career-high 25 points in Valpo’s non-conference win at Eastern Illinois.
- Hales enters Sunday’s game with 943 career points scored, 20th in program history and just one point shy of Aimee Litka for 19th place in the record book.
- Hales is now just 57 points shy of becoming just the 16th player in program history with 1,000 career points.
- One area in which Valpo has continued to excel in MVC play is the steals column.
- Valpo registered 12 steals in the MVC opener against SIU, led by four from Addison Stoller and three from Carie Weinman.
- Last Sunday versus MSU, the Brown and Gold tallied 11 steals, led by a season-high five by Shay Frederick and three by Caitlin Morrison.
- In the win over Indiana State last time out, Valpo finished with 10 team steals, led by three from Stoller.
- Valpo has racked up double-digit steal totals in eight games this year, including seven of its last eight contests.
- The Crusaders are averaging 10.1 steals/game this year, a mark which puts them on pace to enjoy the highest single-season steals total the program has had in nearly two decades.
Streak Comes to a Close
- Last Friday’s loss to Southern Illinois snapped Valpo’s seven-game winning streak, just the seventh-such winning streak in program history and the first since 2002.
- It was the team’s first loss since Nov. 21, a span of 43 days. Along the way, Valpo posted a perfect 5-0 record in December - just the third perfect month in program history.
- The defeat was also the Crusaders’ first of the season at the ARC after going 4-0 at home in non-conference play.
- This year’s squad just missed matching the 1991-92 team for the most wins before suffering its fourth loss of the season - the 1991-92 team started 9-3 before dropping its fourth game.
Best Pre-Conference Mark
- With its win Dec. 30 at Eastern Illinois, Valpo closed pre-conference play with an 8-3 record, setting a new program standard for the best winning percentage before the start of conference action.
- The 2001-02 team held the previous best winning percentage in pre-conference play, going 9-4 before opening Mid-Continent Conference action.
Defense Stands Out
- Valpo’s defense led the way for much of its seven-game winning streak.
- By limiting Chicago State to 49 points Dec. 28, Valpo had a stretch of five straight games where its opponents scored fewer than 60 points.
- Valpo’s late-season winning streak in 2007 was the last time the defense was that stifling for five consecutive games.
- The 37 points Valpo surrendered to UIC Dec. 15 were the seventh-fewest given up by a Valpo squad in a single game in program history.
- It was Valpo’s best defensive performance on the scoreboard since giving up just 32 points at Northern Kentucky on Feb. 11, 2016. It also marked Valpo’s fewest points allowed against a non-conference Division I opponent in program history.
- The Valpo defense forced 29 UIC turnovers in that win, the most by a Valpo opponent since the Crusaders forced Wright State into 31 miscues on Jan. 8, 2009.
- Valpo forced 20 or more turnovers six times in the season’s first 10 games, including four straight (25 at UDM, 29 vs. UIC, 22 vs. MSU, 23 vs. CSU). The last time Valpo forced 20+ turnovers in four straight games came Jan. 19-31, 2004.
- Chicago State was 0-for-8 from 3-point range, the third Valpo opponent this year to go scoreless from the 3-point line (NDSU 0-for-14; UIC 0-for-7). Prior to this year, the last time a Valpo opponent went scoreless from 3-point range was FIU in November of 2013.