Valparaiso (14-10, 6-7 MVC)
Game #25 - Saturday, February 22 - 2 p.m.
at Loyola (15-9, 6-7 MVC)
Gentile Arena (4,963) - Chicago, Ill.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: With just five games left in the regular season, each game carries so much weight, and Saturday’s game carries a ton of weight for the Valpo women’s basketball team as it travels to Loyola. A win over the Ramblers would move Valpo a game ahead of their Chicago-based counterparts in a tight pack in the MVC standings and give the Brown and Gold a tiebreaker over Loyola as well.
Previously: Valpo closed its swing through central Illinois with a strong performance Sunday at Illinois State, leading nearly start to finish in taking down the Redbirds, 78-70. The effort was led by a career performance from Addison Stoller, who posted a career-best 25 points and pulled down a season-high 10 rebounds.
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 (22-34) 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: Valpo holds a 23-6 advantage in the all-time series over Loyola and is 5-1 against the Ramblers since joining the MVC in the summer of 2017. 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. Earlier this season, Valpo delivered an epic comeback victory, erasing an 11-point deficit with three minutes to play for a 66-64 win over the Ramblers. Shay Frederick scored the final seven points for Valpo in a span of 14.5 seconds, including the game-winning 3-point play with 5.2 seconds remaining.
- 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 moved into seventh place in a single season in MVC history in 3PTM.
- Shay Frederick was named to the MVC All-Freshman Team, while Meredith Hamlet was an Honorable Mention MVC Scholar-Athlete.
...at Illinois State
- The first 10 minutes were sparked by Valpo’s team defense and the offense of Addison Stoller. The defense limited Illinois State to just nine points, as the Redbirds shot 2-of-10 from the field and committed seven turnovers.
- Meanwhile, on the offensive end, Stoller outscored Illinois State by herself, going 5-of-6 from the field for 13 points as Valpo led the Redbirds 18-9 at the end of one.
- Valpo led by as many as 15 in the second quarter and carried a 35-25 lead into halftime.
- The story of the third quarter was Valpo finding a way to overcome foul trouble. The Brown and Gold were whistled for 10 fouls in the period which sent the Redbirds to the foul line 18 times, where they converted 15 of 18. By the end of the period, three Valpo starters were saddled with four fouls and another had three.
- Despite the number of free throws for Illinois State, Valpo was able to do enough offensively – led once again by Stoller – to only lose the period by two points, 24-22, and head into the fourth quarter leading 57-49. Stoller posted 10 points and five rebounds in the third quarter alone to lead the way.
- The Redbirds closed to within four points at 68-64 with 3:22 to play, as close as they had been since the middle stages of the first quarter. Illinois State had two chances on offense to make it a one-possession game, but missed both attempts, and a nice pass from Marlee Profitt to Caitlin Morrison for a basket with the shot clock about to expire gave Valpo a 70-64 lead with 2:05 to play. Illinois State would get no closer the rest of the way.
- Stoller had a career game to lead the way in the victory, finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. The 25 points is a career high for the junior, who finished the game 9-of-13 from the floor, 3-of-4 from the 3-point line, and 4-of-4 at the foul line.
- Grace Hales and Shay Frederick added 14 points apiece. Hales was 3-for-4 from long range and a perfect 5-for-5 at the foul line to improve to 59-for-63 at the charity stripe this year.
- 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.
- Valpo closes out the 2019-20 home slate next weekend as it welcomes the Valley’s two Iowa teams to town.
- UNI will visit the ARC on Friday night and Drake comes in on Sunday afternoon.
...on the road
- Valpo is 7-5 in true road games this year. The Brown and Gold went 4-2 in non-conference road play and owns conference road wins over Indiana State, Evansville and Illinois State.
- Valpo has won seven road games this season, the most road victories in a single season since the 2006-07 team won eight true road games.
- 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.
- Loyola enters Saturday’s game at 15-9 overall this year and an identical 6-7 record to Valpo’s in MVC play.
- The Ramblers lost both their games last weekend, falling in double overtime at Illinois before dropping a decision at Bradley.
- Loyola is paced by Abby O’Connor, who averages 13.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game to lead the squad.
- Allison Day adds 10.7 points per game and hits at a 51.6% clip from the field.
A Big Win
- Sunday’s win over Illinois State meant a great deal to the Valpo women’s basketball program.
- With the Redbirds currently sitting at 91 in the RPI, they are the highest-ranked opponent Valpo has beaten since the 2012-13 squad beat a Youngstown State team which ended the season at 75 in the RPI.
- It was Valpo’s first true road win over a top-100 RPI team since the 2001-02 team went on the road for the first two rounds of the WNIT and beat Michigan and Ball State.
- It was Valpo’s seventh road win of the year, the most for a Valpo team since the 2006-07 team won eight true road games.
- Valpo also reached six wins in MVC play, its highest number of league wins since the 2009-10 squad picked up six Horizon League victories.
- With 14 wins now on the season, it is the most wins in a single year by a Valpo team since the 2008-09 team finished 16-14.
- One more victory would also secure the program’s first .500 record or better since the aforementioned 2008-09 campaign.
Hitting the Freebies
- Valpo has been strong all season long from the foul line, and that continued last weekend.
- The Brown and Gold hit 27-of-31 (87.1%) from the stripe against Bradley, matching their season best for free throws made, and then knocked down 26-of-28 (92.9%) from the foul line in the win at Illinois State.
- The pair of strong performances raised Valpo’s season free throw percentage to 80.4%, second nationally behind only William & Mary and on pace to rank among the top-15 single-season marks in NCAA history.
- Within MVC play, the Crusaders are hitting at an 84.0% rate from the foul line.
- While she is just shy of the minimum to qualify, Grace Hales’ 93.7% 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 three full percentage points ahead of its single-season record of 77.6% from the stripe, set in 2013-14.
- With four made free throws last time out, Addison Stoller extended her streak of consecutive makes at the line to 29 straight, dating back to Jan. 24
- Hales connected on five free throws against the Redbirds and has made 23 straight dating back to Jan. 12.
Troves of Triples
- Valpo has knocked down shots from behind the arc all season long, hitting an MVC-best 8.8 3-pointers/game.
- This year’s squad is quickly moving up the program’s single-season record book in the category, as with the 10 triples last time out at Illinois State, Valpo moved up into sixth position with 211 3-pointers this year.
- Valpo enters the Loyola game just two 3-pointers away from fifth place, three from fourth place, and 13 from a tie for second place.
- With at least six games remaining in the season, this year’s team sits 65 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 1,071 career points, just six shy of 14th and 10 away from 13th.
- Hales reached the mark thanks to her consistency, as she has played in all 118 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 ranks eighth on Valpo’s career 3-pointers made chart, as she currently owns 159 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. (.868) and third in 3-point pct. (.379).
- In the MVC record book, which will only count years played in the Valley, Hales currently ranks fourth all-time in free throw pct. (176-199; .884) and tied for 16th in 3-point pct. (137-344; .398).
- Valpo has trotted out the same starting five through each of its first 24 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 10.3 steals/game, good for 32nd 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.