Valparaiso (10-5, 2-2 MVC)
Game #16 - Friday, January 17 - 6 p.m.
Illinois State (10-4, 2-1 MVC)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: Coming off consecutive road victories in MVC play last weekend, the Valpo women’s basketball team opens up a three-game stretch at home Friday evening when it hosts Illinois State at the ARC. With a win, Valpo would move above .500 in MVC play for the first time since joining the conference.
Previously: Valpo extended its longest road winning streak since 2005 and earned its first two-game sweep of a conference road weekend since 2008 as it capped the swing through its fellow Indiana schools with an 88-66 victory at Evansville Sunday afternoon. The Brown and Gold matched a season high with 14 3-pointers in the win and registered a season-best 21 steals, tying the most by a Valpo squad in a single game since 1995.
Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN+ - Jordan Bernfield (PxP) and Laura Leonard (Analyst)
Radio: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)
Live Stats/Streaming Audio: Available via ValpoAthletics.com
Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans (18-29) 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: Illinois State holds a 6-2 advantage in the all-time series over Valpo and has won the last three meetings after the Brown and Gold claimed the first matchup as MVC conference foes. Last season, the Redbirds earned a season sweep, winning 70-67 at the ARC and 74-53 in Normal. The game at the ARC featured a pair of chances for Valpo to go ahead in the final 10 seconds that wouldn’t fall. It was a tale of two games for Valpo’s 3-point shooting, as Valpo hit 13-of-32 from deep at the ARC, but was just 2-of-25 in the road loss.
- 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 opened the game on an 8-0 run and led 26-13 at the end of the first quarter, hitting 6-of-12 from the 3-point line in the opening 10 minutes.
- Carie Weinman scored 11 points, including three triples, in the opening quarter.
- The hot shooting continued into the second quarter, as the Brown and Gold were 9-of-13 from the floor in that period, including 4-of-6 from deep.
- The Valpo advantage reached 20 points for the first time on a layup from Weinman with 1:40 to play in the half, and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Ella Ellenson sent Valpo into halftime with a 50-31 advantage.
- After a hot-shooting first half, Valpo cooled down to start the second half, as a layup by Caitlin Morrison 6:20 into the third quarter was its first field goal of the period. But the Crusaders were able to keep pace thanks to the foul line, where they went 9-of-10 in the third quarter.
- The Valpo lead was 63-46 at the end of the third, and the advantage never fell under 16 points as the Brown and Gold put away the game in the final quarter.
- Four Valpo players finished in double figures in the scoring column on Sunday as the Brown and Gold racked up 88 points, their highest total in a road game since an 88-77 win at UIC on March 6, 2010.
- Weinman led the way as she went 7-of-11 from the floor for a game-high 19 points, while Shay Frederick was right behind her with 18 points and shared game-high honors as well with five assists. For both sophomores, it was their second-highest scoring output of the season.
- Valpo finished the game shooting 57.7% (30-of-52) from the field and was 14-of-29 from 3-point range.
- Defensively, the Crusaders held the Purple Aces to 35.1% shooting and forced 27 Evansville turnovers, 21 of which were steals.
...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.
- Valpo continues its homestand on Sunday afternoon against Bradley.
- The three-game home stretch concludes next Friday with a visit from Loyola.
...at the ARC
- Friday will be Valpo’s seventh home game of the season, as it currently owns a 4-2 record at home this year, falling last time out at home to #21/19 Missouri State.
- Valpo swept all four of its non-conference home games, with wins over Bowling Green, UIC, Morehead State and Chicago State.
- Valpo went 4-11 at the ARC last year in Mary Evans’ first season at the helm of the program.
- Valpo was just 1-5 last season at home in non-conference action before earning a trio of home wins during MVC play.
- Illinois State enters Friday’s game at 10-4 overall on the season and with a 2-1 mark in MVC play.
- The Redbirds lost last time out at Bradley after sweeping Indiana State and Evansville to open the conference schedule.
- The lone common opponent for Valpo and Illinois State in the non-conference slate was at North Dakota - Valpo suffered a narrow 65-63 loss, while the Redbids claimed a 66-58 win.
- Lexi Wallen leads ISU, averaging 16.7 ppg on 59.3% shooting and 6.6 rpg, while TeTe Maggett is right behind her at 16.2 ppg and 6.3 rpg.
What the Last Win Meant/What a Win Would Mean
- Valpo’s win on Sunday at Evansville made it the the fastest Valpo team to reach double-figure wins since the 2005-06 squad started 10-5.
- With a win on Friday, Valpo would be 11-5 - the best 16-game record since the 2001-02 team sat at 12-4 through 16 games.
- The win at Evansville extended Valpo’s road winning streak to five straight games - the longest streak since the 2004-05 team won five straight road contests Dec. 18-Jan. 5.
- The Evansville win improved Valpo to .500 in MVC play for the first time since joining the Valley.
- A win over Illinois State would push Valpo’s conference record over .500 - the first time Valpo would sit better than .500 multiple games into league play since the 2008-09 team finished the Horizon League slate 10-8.
- The wins at Indiana State and Evansville combined for Valpo’s first two-game sweep of an MVC weekend since joining the conference.
- It was Valpo’s first two-game sweep of a league weekend since beating Cleveland State and Youngstown State in January 2016, and the first two-game sweep of a league road weekend since winning at CSU and at YSU Feb. 28 and March 1, 2008.
- With a win Friday against the Redbirds, Valpo would have its first three-game winning streak in conference play since Jan. 10-17, 2009.
- Valpo has enjoyed its strongest shooting performances of the year over the last few outings.
- Last weekend saw Valpo post its top two shooting percentages of the year, as it hit at a 56.9% clip (29-of-51) at Indiana State before shooting 57.7% (30-of-52) at Evansville.
- The threes were falling as well, as Valpo went 7-of-16 (43.8%) from deep against the Sycamores and then 14-of-29 (48.3%) from downtown against the Purple Aces.
- Valpo has hit at least 40% of its shots from deep in five of the last six games 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 Jan. 5 against #21/19 Missouri State.
- The 14 triples against UE and MSU are tied for the sixth-most 3-pointers made in a single game in program history. Four of the top-seven 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 versus MSU is not only easily the team’s season best, it is the only 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.
- Already averaging double figures in steals/game this year, Valpo took it to another level on Sunday at Evansville.
- The Brown and Gold recorded 21 steals in the win over the Purple Aces, tied for the seventh-most in a single game in MVC history.
- 21 steals also is tied for 10th-most in a single game in program history and matches the most in a single game since 1995.
- Shay Frederick and Carie Weinman each tallied six steals in the win, matching and setting career bests, respectively.
- Valpo has now recorded at least 10 steals in each of its first four MVC games and in eight of its last nine games overall.
- The Crusaders are averaging 10.9 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.
Another Honor For Weinman
- Sophomore Carie Weinman was named MVC Newcomer of the Week Jan. 13, her second weekly honor of the season from the conference office.
- Weinman earned the award after averaging 14 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game on 64.7% shooting from the floor over Valpo’s wins at Indiana State and at Evansville.
- Weinman opened the week by tallying nine points on 4-of-6 shooting and four rebounds as Valpo won at Indiana State, the program’s first regular season win against the Sycamores since 2001.
- She then stood out Sunday in the victory at Evansville, pouring in a game-high 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting – including a 4-of-7 mark from 3-point range. Weinman also was strong on the defensive end against the Purple Aces, setting a career high with six steals on that side of the ball.
- Weinman previously claimed MVC Newcomer of the Week accolades Dec. 2 after a 20-point output in Valpo’s win at Toledo.
Hales On a Roll
- Leading the charge offensively recently for Valpo has been senior Grace Hales.
- Hales tallied 26 points, shooting 9-of-13 from the field and 5-of-8 from 3-point range, last weekend in the wins at Indiana State and Evansville.
- Over the last six games, Hales is averaging 14.8 points per game and hitting at a .667 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 Friday’s game with 955 career points scored, 19th in program history and just 16 points shy of Agnieszka Kulaga for 18th position.
- Hales is now just 45 points shy of becoming just the 16th player in program history with 1,000 career points.
- At the charity stripe, Hales is now 153-of-176 over the last three years, a .869 free throw percentage in that span good for seventh in MVC history.
Streak Comes to a Close
- The MVC-opening 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.
- 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.
- Valpo took full advantage of the chances it had this year to avenge defeats from last season’s non-conference slate.
- Six games on this year’s non-conference schedule were against teams the Crusaders lost to last year, and Valpo went 5-1 in those games - defeating North Dakota State, Bowling Green, Toledo, UIC and Morehead State, while dropping a two-point decision at North Dakota.
- Valpo improved its scoring margin in those six contests by an average of 14.7 points/game.