Valparaiso (10-7, 2-4 MVC)
Game #18 - Friday, January 24 - 6 p.m.
Loyola (13-4, 4-2 MVC)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valpo women’s basketball team closes out its three-game homestand at the ARC on Friday evening as it hosts Loyola. Valpo looks to continue its recent advantage in the series between the two programs, as it has won four of its five matchups against the Ramblers since joining the MVC.
Previously: The challenging run through the MVC continued Sunday afternoon for Valpo, as first-place Bradley – which entered the day among the top-80 nationally in RPI – paid the Brown and Gold a visit. Valpo hung tough with the Braves, trailing by just four at the half, but Bradley eventually pulled away in the second half for a 75-61 win. Junior Caitlin Morrison led Valpo and set a career high with 15 points in the losing effort.
Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN3
Radio: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)
Live Stats/Streaming Audio: Available via ValpoAthletics.com
Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans (18-31) 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 holds a 22-6 advantage in the all-time series over Loyola and is 12-1 against the Ramblers at the ARC. The MVC is the second conference the two programs have shared a conference affiliation in, as Valpo was 7-5 against Loyola from 2007-13 when both teams were in the Horizon League. Valpo owns the 4-1 edge in the series since joining the Valley in the summer of 2017. Last season saw the two teams both defend their respective home courts, as Loyola won 80-54 in Chicago and Valpo earned an 81-74 win at the ARC. Addison Stoller led Valpo over the two meetings last year, averaging 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
- 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.
- Bradley led throughout the first quarter, taking advantage of shooting 9-of-11 from the field over the opening 10 minutes. But Valpo forced five turnovers by the Braves to limit their chances, ending the first quarter trailing just 20-17.
- A seven-point spurt early in the second quarter extended Bradley’s lead to 27-19, but Valpo answered immediately with eight straight points to tie the game at 27-27.
- A fast-break layup by Ella Ellenson gave Valpo its first lead of the game, as it put the Brown and Gold in front 29-28 with 2:16 to play in the half. The lead proved to be short-lived, however, as the Braves scored the final five points of the first half to carry a 33-29 lead into halftime.
- Bradley hit a pair of free throws to open the scoring in the second half before Valpo put together a quick 7-1 spurt – including five points from Caitlin Morrison – to tie the score at 36-36 with 8:31 to play in the third quarter.
- Bradley responded with back-to-back 3-pointers to regain separation, and the deficit ranged from four to 11 points for the remainder of the quarter. The Braves eventually held a 59-49 lead at the end of the third period.
- Valpo attempted to cut into the Braves’ lead in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, twice moving to within eight points, but both times Bradley answered with a basket of its own. The Braves held the Crusaders scoreless for a four-minute stretch in the middle of the quarter to put the game away.
- Valpo finished the afternoon shooting just 39% (23-of-59) overall and was just 4-of-22 (18.2%) from 3-point range – its worst effort to date in MVC play from downtown, as it entered Sunday’s game connecting at a 44.3% clip against conference opponents from deep.
- Valpo did continue its season-long trend of strong free throw shooting, going 11-of-13 (84.6%) at the charity stripe.
- Valpo fell on Sunday despite out-scoring Bradley off turnovers (15-14), in the paint (38-34), on the fast break (15-9) and off the bench (14-4).
- Morrison paced the Valpo effort on Sunday with a career-best 15 points, while Grace Hales chipped in 13 points.
...versus Illinois State
- Valpo tied the score on three occasions in the middle stages of the opening quarter, the last coming on a fast-break layup by Frederick following a steal to make it 11-11 with 4:14 to play in the period.
- But the Redbirds scored the final 10 points of the quarter over the final four minutes to take a 21-11 lead at the end of the first.
- Illinois State extended the run to 12-0 with the first basket of the second quarter, but Valpo kept ISU off the board for over five minutes, scoring seven straight to close to within 23-18.
- A 12-3 run for the Redbirds out of the media timeout extended their lead to 14 points, and Illinois State eventually took a 37-24 lead into halftime.
- Valpo cut the Redbird advantage to seven points three times in the third quarter, the last with just seconds remaining in the period. But Illinois State’s TeTe Maggett hit a buzzer-beating jumper to give ISU a 54-45 lead entering the fourth quarter.
- Senior Grace Hales sandwiched a pair of driving layups around a third-chance basket from junior Addison Stoller for a 6-0 spurt approaching the midway point of the fourth period, bringing Valpo within 59-53 – as close as it had been in the second half.
- But Illinois State answered with nine points over its next four possessions to extend its lead to 15 points – its largest advantage of the night – with four minutes to play to put the game away.
- The 10-point deficit at the end of the first quarter was Valpo’s worst performance in the opening 10 minutes this season.
- Valpo finished the game shooting just 37.9% from the field.
- Valpo was out-rebounded 41-26 by the Redbirds, who improved to 11-4 overall this year with the win. But after trailing in the category 27-8 at intermission, the Brown and Gold out-rebounded ISU in the second half, 18-14.
- Stoller led Valpo with 13 points, while Shay Frederick and Carie Weinman each knocked down three 3-pointers en route to 12-point nights.
- With just one game this week, Valpo looks ahead to the Iowa road swing next weekend, as it heads west to take on Drake on Friday and UNI on Sunday.
...at the ARC
- Friday will be Valpo’s ninth home game of the season, as it currently owns a 4-4 record at home this year.
- Valpo swept all four of its non-conference home games, with wins over Bowling Green, UIC, Morehead State and Chicago State, but is now 0-4 in MVC play to date. All four conference home games have been against top-80 RPI teams.
- 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.
- Loyola enters Friday’s game at 13-4 overall this season and with a 4-2 mark in MVC play, having won four of its last five.
- The Ramblers opened the season with nine consecutive wins, and come into the ARC with a perfect 8-0 road record this year.
- Valpo and Loyola shared four common non-conference opponents - Detroit, Eastern Illinois, Chicago State and Bowling Green - and both went 4-0 against the group.
- Abby O’Connor leads the Ramblers, averaging 13.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, while Allison Day scores 13.0 points per game as well.
Gotta Hit the Twos
- So far this season, Valpo’s 2-point percentage has been a strong indicator of whether it will emerge victorious or not from any given ballgame.
- In 10 wins this year, Valpo is shooting at a 57.2% clip from inside the arc.
- Meanwhile, in its seven losses, Valpo is shooting just 40.1% from 2-point range.
- The difference has been even more pronounced early on in MVC play, as Valpo has hit 65.5% of its 2-point attempts in its two Valley wins versus just 40% in its four losses.
- Valpo did enjoy its best performance inside the arc in a loss this season last time out against Bradley, going 19-of-37 (51.4%) from 2-point range, but was undone by going just 4-of-22 from behind the 3-point line.
- Valpo has trotted out the same starting five through each of its first 17 games of the season: Shay Frederick, Carie Weinman, Grace Hales, Addison Stoller and Caitlin Morrison.
- Hales and Stoller were regular starters a season ago, while Frederick joined the starting lineup midway through last year. Morrison was a regular starter each of her first two years as well before missing last season due to injury.
- Within MVC play, the quintet has played 74 minutes together and has out-scored the opposition 140-123 (75.7-66.5 per 40 minutes). That includes a 33-30 advantage in 17:58 of playing time together against Missouri State.
- Valpo has never had a season where the same five players started every single game. The 2007-08, 1997-98 and 1983-84 Valpo squads had four players who started every game of the season.
- One area in which Valpo has been consistent all year long has been coming up with steals on the defensive end.
- Valpo has recorded at least six steals in all but one game this season and is averaging an MVC-best 10.7 steals/game, good for 33rd nationally.
- The team is currently on pace to finish with its highest single-season steals total in nearly two decades.
- The numbers have picked up in conference play, as Valpo has tallied 10 or more steals in five of six MVC games and is averaging 12.2 steals/game against MVC foes.
- Valpo took the thefts to another level in the win 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.
Hitting the Boards
- Through the first four and a half games of MVC play, Valpo had sustained struggles on the defensive glass.
- Over that stretch, Crusader opponents snagged 68 of 158 potential offensive rebounds, a 43% clip - including Illinois State grabbing 11 of 18 potential offensive rebounds in the first half of last Friday’s game.
- But in the three halves since, Valpo has shored up the defensive boards. The Crusaders grabbed all 14 defensive rebounds in the second half against the Redbirds.
- Then, last time out against Bradley, the Braves secured just six of 22 potential offensive rebounds.
- Combined, in the last three halves, Valpo’s opponents have just a 16.7% offensive rebounding rate.
Morrison Rises Up
- Junior Caitlin Morrison has enjoyed a couple of the best performances of her career recently.
- Morrison set her career high with 13 points early in MVC play against Missouri State, and then broke that last time out with a team-high 15 points versus Bradley.
- After scoring just 4.6 points/game in the non-conference slate, Morrison has nearly doubled her scoring average since MVC play began, as she is currently posting 8.8 points/game in conference action.
Hales Approaches 1K
- Senior Grace Hales is nearing the 1,000-point milestone for her career, as she enters Friday’s game with 976 career points.
- She currently ranks 18th in program history in scoring, and with two more points would move into 17th.
- When she hits the 1,000-point mark, Hales will become the 16th player in program history to reach the milestone, and just the fourth in the last decade.
- Hales also ranks among Valpo’s all-time best in a pair of shooting categories, as she sits second in free throw pct. (.859) and tied for sixth in 3-point pct. (.363).
- In the MVC record book, which will only count years played in the Valley, Hales currently ranks fifth all-time in free throw pct. (159-of-182; .874).
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.