Valparaiso (13-10, 5-7 MVC)
Game #24 - Sunday, February 16 - 2 p.m.
at Illinois State (14-8, 6-5 MVC)
Redbird Arena (10,200) - Normal, Ill.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valpo women’s basketball team concludes its swing through central Illinois on Sunday afternoon as it takes on Illinois State in Normal, Ill. The game matches up two of the teams in a logjam in the MVC standings, as entering Saturday’s action, just one win separates fourth place from eighth place.
Previously: Valpo kicked off a three-game stretch away from home on Friday evening at Bradley, falling to a Braves squad which remained unbeaten at home this year by a 90-69 final. Shay Frederick led the way with 18 points, while Ella Ellenson scored a season-high 12 points and Caitlin Morrison added 10 points. Valpo was unable to overcome 56.1% shooting from the field by the Braves.
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 (21-34) 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 7-2 advantage in the all-time series over Valpo and has won the last four meetings after the Brown and Gold claimed the first matchup as MVC conference foes. Earlier this year at the ARC, a 10-point run to end the first quarter proved to be most of the difference as the Redbirds emerged 72-60 victors. A balanced Valpo offense in that contest saw all five starters score at least eight points, with Addison Stoller contributing a team-high 13 points. Tete Maggett had 26 and Lexi Wallen 18 to lead the Redbirds.
- 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 led briefly early in the first quarter, but eight straight points by Bradley gave it the lead for good. The Braves led by as many as 10 in the first quarter and were up 20-13 at the end of one.
- Valpo came out with the first five points of the second quarter and moved to within 22-21 on a Grace Hales triple with 7:49 to play in the first half.
- A scoreless stretch of three minutes allowed Bradley to go on a 7-0 spurt, however, to push its lead to eight points. The Braves led by as many as 13 points in the final minutes of the half and carried a 45-33 lead into halftime.
- Addison Stoller went a perfect 4-for-4 from the foul line in the first 45 seconds of the third quarter to cut the Bradley advantage to 45-37 before the Braves rattled off 10 consecutive points.
- Bradley led by as many as 19 in the third quarter and held a 67-54 advantage at the end of the period.
- A layup from Shay Frederick and two free throws by Carie Weinman in the first 30 seconds of the fourth quarter brought Valpo within single digits at 67-58.
- But Bradley came back with eight straight points to pull back out to a 17-point lead, and after Valpo scored five in a row to make it 75-63 with 6:10 to play, the Braves scored on six straight trips to pull away.
- Valpo shot just 36.2% from the field for the game, while the Braves hit at a 56.1% clip.
- After going 7-for-15 from 3-point range in the first half, the Brown and Gold were just 1-for-8 from deep in the second half.
- Frederick led three Valpo players in double figures with 18 points, including a 5-for-5 effort from the foul line.
- Ella Ellenson set a season high with 12 points off the bench, while Caitlin Morrison finished with 10 points as well.
- Valpo was limited to just seven steals as a team in Friday’s loss, matching the team’s lowest output in the category in MVC play.
...versus Indiana State
- The Sycamores carried an 18-14 lead into the second period.
- ISU’s last basket of the first quarter came with 1:04 to play in the period, while its final point came with 44 seconds remaining. But as the second quarter opened, little did anybody know those would also be the final occurrences in the first half.
- Valpo held the Sycamores scoreless in the second quarter, as ISU shot 0-of-12 from the floor – including 0-of-6 from 3-point range – and committed eight turnovers. The second quarter proved to be the final 17 points of a 19-0 run for Valpo to close the first half with a 31-18 advantage.
- After the scoreless quarter, Indiana State came out and hit its first shot of the third quarter to cut Valpo’s lead to 10. But the Crusaders out-scored the Sycamores 12-4 over the next seven minutes, with five different players scoring for Valpo during the run which extended the lead to a peak of 18 points. Valpo carried a 45-31 lead through three periods.
- Indiana State scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, but a 3-pointer by Addison Stoller pushed the edge back to 48-36 with 6:53 to play. The lead remained in double figures the rest of the game and reached as many as 17 points.
- Valpo scored 28 points off of ISU’s 31 turnovers, a season-best output in MVC play.
- Beyond the turnovers, Valpo limited ISU to 36.2% shooting and just a 2-of-16 effort from the 3-point line.
- The defensive effort enabled Valpo to emerge victorious despite shooting just 35.3% for the game and just 8-of-24 from the 3-point line.
- Valpo’s stellar recent free-throw shooting continued in the win, as the Brown and Gold finished the game 17-of-18 (94.4%) from the charity stripe. It is the second time in program history Valpo has posted a 17-of-18 line on free throws (Evansville; February 1988), tied for the sixth-best single-game percentage in program history.
- Senior Grace Hales was honored before the game for surpassing 1,000 career points last week, and then proceeded to pace Valpo in the scoring column for the third time in the last four games, finishing with 14 points, including a 6-of-6 mark from the free throw line..
- Next weekend is the travel partner weekend for the Brown and Gold, as the lone contest of the weekend will be Saturday afternoon at Loyola.
- Valpo then closes out the home slate the following weekend as it hosts UNI on Friday and Drake on Sunday.
...on the road
- Valpo is 6-5 in true road games this year. The Brown and Gold went 4-2 in non-conference road play and swept the Indiana State/Evansville road trip before falling at Drake, UNI and most recently Bradley.
- Valpo has won six road games this season, the most road victories in a single season since 2006-07.
- Valpo has earned its three largest road wins in the last decade this season - a 22-point win at Evansville and 19-point wins at Detroit Mercy and at Indiana State.
- The 22-point win at Evansville was Valpo’s largest road win 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 had a five-game road winning streak earlier this year and went more than two months between road losses (Nov. 21-Jan. 31). The five-game streak on the road was the program’s longest since the 2004-05 team won five straight road contests Dec. 18-Jan. 5.
- Illinois State enters Sunday’s game at 14-8 overall this year and 6-5 in MVC play.
- The Redbirds come into the game coming off a thrilling 86-85 double overtime win over Loyola on Friday evening to snap a two-game losing skid.
- Lexi Wallen scored a game-high 35 points in that victory and leads the Redbirds with 17.6 ppg and 6.4 rpg this year.
- TeTe Maggett backs Wallen up with 16.0 ppg and 6.2 rpg and also hands out better than four assists/game.
Defense - The Highs and the Lows
- The effort on the defensive end helped lift Valpo to its pair of wins last weekend.
- First, Valpo limited Evansville to 54 points, at that point the fewest points it had allowed in MVC play this year.
- The Crusaders then limited Indiana State to just 45 points. The 45 points were the second-fewest by a Valpo opponent this year (UIC, 37) and were the fewest points allowed by Valpo in a conference game since joining the MVC.
- Valpo forced 31 turnovers by the Sycamores, a season high for a Valpo opponent. In fact, the 31 miscues match the most by a Valpo opponent since St. Francis (Ind.) committed 33 turnovers in November of 2003.
- The highlight of the defensive effort against the Sycamores was the scoreless second quarter, as ISU shot 0-of-12 from the floor – including 0-of-6 from 3-point range – and committed eight turnovers.
- The scoreless quarter was the first for Valpo defensively since the women’s game moved to quarters prior to the 2015-16 season.
- In all, Valpo held ISU without a point for a span of 11:17.
- On the flip side, last time out at Bradley saw the Braves score 90 points - the most surrendered by Valpo in MVC play this year and tying the most it has given up all season.
- Bradley shot 56.1% from the floor - its second effort in as many games over 50% against Valpo this year - and hit 45% from 3-point range, the second-highest percentage by a Valpo opponent in MVC play this year.
- Valpo also forced just 14 Bradley turnovers, its fewest turnovers forced in conference play this season.
Hitting the Freebies
- Valpo has been strong all season long from the foul line, and that continued last time out at Bradley, as it matched a season high by hitting 27 free throws.
- The 87.1% (27-of-31) clip from the stripe against the Braves raised Valpo’s season free throw percentage to 79.5%, second nationally behind only William & Mary.
- Within MVC play, the Crusaders are hitting at an 82.7% rate from the foul line.
- While she is just shy of the minimum to qualify, Grace Hales’ 93.1% free throw percentage would rank second nationally and is on pace to smash Valpo’s single-season record of 88.6%.
- As a team, Valpo is nearly two full percentage points ahead of its single-season record of 77.6% from the stripe, set in 2013-14.
- Three Crusaders currently own significant free throws made streaks: Addison Stoller 25 straight dating back to Jan. 24, Hales 18 straight dating back to Jan. 12 and Shay Frederick 18 straight dating back to Jan. 17.
Troves of Triples
- Valpo has knocked down shots from behind the arc all season long, hitting an MVC-best 8.7 3-pointers/game.
- This year’s squad is quickly moving up the program’s single-season record book in the category, as with the eight triples last time out at Bradley, Valpo moved up two spots into seventh position with 201 3-pointers this year.
- Valpo enters the Illinois State game just nine 3-pointers away from sixth place, 12 from fifth, and 13 from fourth.
- With at least seven games remaining in the season, this year’s team sits 75 3-pointers behind last year’s record-setting total of 276.
Hales Making Her Mark
- Hales became the 16th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point milestone for her career with a basket in the final minute Jan. 31 at Drake and currently ranks 15th in program history with 1,057 career points, just 20 shy of 14th.
- Hales reached the mark thanks to her consistency, as she has played in all 117 Valpo games since she stepped on campus. She has seen her scoring average go up year by year and is averaging a team-best 12.6 points/game this year.
- Hales moved up into eighth place on Valpo’s career 3-pointers made chart last weekend, as she currently owns 156 career triples.
- Hales also ranks among Valpo’s all-time best in a pair of shooting categories, as she sits second in free throw pct. (.866) and tied for third in 3-point pct. (.375).
- In the MVC record book, which will only count years played in the Valley, Hales currently ranks fifth all-time in free throw pct. (171-of-194; .881) and tied for 19th in 3-point pct. (134-340; .394).
A Helping Hand
- Sophomore point guard Shay Frederick handed out eight assists in last Thursday’s win over Evansville to match her career best in the category.
- Frederick then followed that up last Saturday with eight assists in the win over Indiana State to again match her career best for the fourth time in her career.
- Frederick is currently third in the conference with 4.6 assists/game and is tied for second in MVC-only play with 5.1 assists/game.
- Frederick owns an assist rate of 34.5%, good for 29th nationally.
- The sophomore has led Valpo in assists in 16 of its 23 games this season.
- With 105 assists already this year, Frederick is just one assist shy of her freshman year total and is just 19 helpers away from Valpo’s single-season top-10 in the category.
- Valpo has trotted out the same starting five through each of its first 19 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.
- 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.
- All five starters scored in double figures in the game at UNI, the first time that has happened for Valpo this 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 10.5 steals/game, good for 29th nationally.
- The team is currently on pace to finish with its highest single-season steals total in nearly two decades.
- Valpo took the thefts to another level in the win at Evansville, registering 21 steals - 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.
What A Rally
- The 13-point comeback in the fourth quarter against Loyola was Valpo’s largest final-quarter rally since the women’s game moved to four quarters.
- Ironically, the last time Valpo rallied from that kind of deficit within the game’s final 10 minutes came at Loyola on Feb. 17, 2011. The Crusaders trailed that day by 14 points with 8:45 to play (and later 8 points with 2:45 to play) and went on to a 72-68 victory.
- Valpo’s largest deficit in the win over the Ramblers was a 14-point deficit late in the third quarter, the largest deficit it has come at any point in a game to win since rallying from down 15 for a 67-59 win at Youngstown State on Jan. 12, 2013.
- It was the second rally of that type this year for Valpo, as in non-conference play against BGSU, it trailed by 12 in the fourth quarter and by 8 with 3:30 to play before coming back to force overtime and eventually win.
- In the home win over Evansville, Valpo recovered from a double-figure deficit to win for the third time this year, but this deficit came early in the second quarter, as Valpo trailed 27-16 with 7:52 to play in the first half.