Valparaiso (5-4, 1-1 MVC)
Games #10/11 - Jan. 14/15 - 4 p.m./4 p.m.
at Illinois State (5-2, 2-2 MVC)
Redbird Arena (10,000) - Normal, Ill.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valpo women’s basketball team makes its second attempt at taking on Illinois State this week, traveling for the first time in MVC play to Normal for a two-game series Thursday and Friday, Jan. 14-15. The series was originally scheduled for Jan. 1-2, but was postponed two weeks.
Previously: Valpo opened up MVC play last week with a split of its opening series as it hosted UNI. The opener on Thursday saw Valpo take down the Panthers by a 63-56 final behind 20 points - 13 of which came in the fourth quarter - from Shay Frederick, as the Brown and Gold overcame an 11-point deficit in the third quarter to earn the win. Friday, it was UNI which came out 79-71 victors as Karli Rucker scored 32 point for the Panthers, while Frederick again paced Valpo with 26 points.
Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN3 or ESPN+
Radio: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)
Live Stats/Streaming Audio: Available via ValpoAthletics.com
Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans (30-40) is in her third season as head coach of the Valpo women’s basketball program in 2020-21. Evans led the Valpo program to a remarkable season across the board in 2019-20, one that concluded among the nation’s top turnarounds from the season before. Valpo posted a 17-12 record in Evans’ second season at the helm, the 17 wins the most by a Valpo team since the 2006-07 campaign and the 10th-most in a single season in program history. Valpo improved its record by 10.5 games over the previous season in 2019-20, tied for the sixth-best improvement in Division I.
Series Notes: Illinois State leads the all-time series 7-3 and owns a 4-2 advantage since Valpo joined the MVC. It was the Brown and Gold who came out victors in the last meeting, however, as Valpo overcame a 2:45 a.m. fire alarm and hotel evacuation the night before the game to earn a 78-70 road win over the Redbirds on Feb. 16, 2020. Addison Stoller led the Valpo effort with a career-high 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Shay Frederick and Grace Hales added 14 points apiece.
- Valpo has been picked to finish in seventh place in the MVC preseason poll, totaling 176 points.
- Valpo is in its fourth season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference in 2020-21.
- The Valley was ranked eighth nationally in conference RPI in 2019-20.
...looking back at last year
- Valpo finished the 2019-20 campaign with a 17-12 overall record, a 10.5-game improvement over the previous year ‑ good for sixth-best nationally.
- Valpo jumped 172 spots in the RPI from the previous year, the largest leap for any D-I team in the nation.
- Valpo’s 17 wins marked the most by a Valpo team since 2006-07.
- The Brown and Gold finished in sixth place in the MVC standings with a 9-9 record - the program’s best finish since joining The Valley.
- The .500 record in conference play was the program’s first since 2008-09.
- Valpo closed the regular season strong, going 6-3 in the second half of MVC play.
- Grace Hales earned Honorable Mention All-Conference accolades, while Carie Weinman was named to the MVC All-Defensive Team.
- As a team, Valpo set the program’s single-season record for free throw percentage (.792), while Hales broke the program’s individual single-season record in the category (.890).
...versus UNI - Thursday win
- Valpo won its MVC opener for the first time in four years as a Valley member.
- UNI entered the series ranked 66th nationally in the NCAA’s NET ranking, being used in women’s basketball for the first time this year. Valpo closed last season with a pair of top-100 RPI wins among its final four wins after going nearly seven years without a top-100 win.
- The win over the nation’s 66th-ranked team per NET is Valpo’s highest-ranked win since defeating Purdue - which finished the season 18th in the RPI - on Dec. 10, 2008.
- Shay Frederick led all players in the win as she finished with 20 points. 13 of Frederick’s 20 points came in the fourth quarter, as she single-handedly outscored UNI 13-11 over the final 10 minutes, including a stretch of 74 seconds where she scored nine points.
- Ella Ellenson enjoyed a season-best performance at the offensive end, scoring 13 points on 5-of-9 scoring.
- Junior Maya Dunson made her Valpo debut after enrolling in graduate school mid-season, playing 11 minutes and tallying two rebounds, an assist and a steal.
- Valpo shot just 34.5% from the field (20-of-58), its worst shooting percentage in a win this season and its lowest shooting percentage in a victory since connecting at a 33.3% clip in a Feb. 11, 2018 win over Loyola.
- The defensive effort helped lift Valpo to the win, as it limited UNI to 34.4% shooting. The Panthers hit just 5-of-29 (17.2%) from deep.
- Valpo forced 19 UNI turnovers, the second most miscues by the Panthers this year, and tied a UNI opponent season high with 13 steals.
- Valpo overcame a double-digit deficit for a win for the second time this year, doing so earlier this season against Xavier as well, and now owns eight rallies from down 10 or more for wins in the three-year tenure of head coach Mary Evans.
...versus UNI - Friday loss
- The games Thursday and Friday marked the first time that Valpo played conference games on back-to-back days since Feb. 17 & 18, 1990 versus DePaul and UIC.
- Friday’s loss was Valpo’s first at home this year in its fourth appearance on its home floor. Over the last two seasons, Valpo owns an 11-6 record at the ARC.
- Frederick led Valpo in the scoring column for a third straight game, finishing with 26 points as she went 8-of-20 from the field and 10-of-12 from the foul line while adding six assists as well. The junior, who missed her career high by just one point, scored 20 of her points after halftime.
- Frederick has scored 20 or more points in three consecutive games, the first Valpo player to do so since current assistant coach Dani Franklin did so in December 2017.
- Weinman totaled 19 points, 15 of which came in the second half, on 8-of-12 shooting, including a 3-for-5 mark from deep. The junior tied for game-high honors with three steals and continues to lead the MVC with 2.9 steals/game.
- White rounded out Valpo’s trio of double-figure scorers with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting while also grabbing a game-high six rebounds.
- Valpo improved its shooting from the field by nearly 12% from Thursday’s win, hitting at a 46.4% clip from the floor, but UNI shot 52% on Friday and was 6-of-13 from the 3-point line.
- Valpo tied its season low by making just five 3-pointers on Friday evening. The Brown and Gold did continue their strong recent free throw shooting, hitting 14-of-16 (87.5%) from the stripe.
- Valpo matched a season high by outscoring UNI in the paint by 12 points (40-28). But the Panthers owned a 27-13 advantage in points off turnovers, despite the two teams being separated by just one turnover, and the UNI bench bettered Valpo, 23-2.
- UNI’s Karli Rucker led all scorers Friday with 32 points, the first time Valpo has surrendered 30 or more points to one player since Illinois State’s Simone Goods scored 30 in February 2019.
- Valpo is currently scheduled for a second straight weekend away from home next week, traveling to Carbondale, Ill. to take on Southern Illinois Jan. 22-23.
- The Brown and Gold then return home to face travel partner Loyola on Jan. 27.
...on the road
- This week’s games will be the sixth and seventh true road games for Valpo this year.
- Valpo is currently 2-3 on the road this year, with its most recent road game being its loss at Wisconsin. Valpo played five of its seven nonconference games away from home.
- Valpo went 9-5 in true road games in 2019-20, including a 4-2 mark on the road in nonconference play.
- The nine true road wins marked the most road victories in a single season
since the 2001-02 team won nine true road games - two of which came in postseason play in the WNIT.
- Illinois State enters this week 5-2 overall this year and 2-2 in MVC play, getting swept in its Valley-opening series at UNI before sweeping Indiana State in Terre Haute last week.
- The Redbirds had five games canceled during the nonconference slate.
- Senior guard JuJu Redmond averaged 14.5 points/game on 64.7% shooting in the sweep of Indiana State last week and is the Redbirds’ leading scorer on the year at 13.4 points/game.
Claiming Top 100 Wins
- With the MVC a top-8 conference last year by RPI and this year by NET, it gives Valpo plenty of opportunities for top-100 wins, and the program has taken advantage.
- Valpo opened MVC play this year with a win over UNI, which entered the series ranked #66 in the NET, which is being used by the NCAA for women’s basketball for the first time this season.
- The win over the nation’s 66th-ranked team per NET is Valpo’s highest-ranked win since defeating Purdue - which finished the season 18th in the RPI - on Dec. 10, 2008.
- Valpo now has three top-100 wins in its last eight MVC games dating back to last year, as the Brown and Gold earned top-100 wins over Illinois State and UNI in the second half of last year’s conference slate.
- Prior to last year’s win at Illinois State, Valpo had gone nearly seven years since its last top-100 win.
- Valpo has two more opportunities for a top-100 win this week, as Illinois State enters the week at #37 in NET.
Competing in the MVC
- Now in its fourth season as an MVC member, Valpo has turned a corner in being competitive within conference play.
- Over its first two and a half seasons in the MVC, Valpo posted an 11-34 conference record, with eight of those wins coming against just two programs: Evansville and Loyola.
- But since the midway point of last season, Valpo owns a 7-4 record and has defeated six different schools in that time frame.
Shay Scores Some More
- After closing nonconference play with a career-best 27-point effort at Wisconsin, junior Shay Frederick continued to produce at a high level as MVC play got underway against UNI.
- Frederick started the two-game series with the Panthers with a game-high 20 points in Valpo’s Thursday victory, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter and nine of which came in a three-possession stretch which gave Valpo the lead for good.
- Frederick followed by just missing her career high the next day, posting 26 points - 20 of which came in the second half - in the Friday loss.
- Frederick has now scored 20+ points in three straight games, the first time a Valpo player has done that since current assistant coach Dani Franklin in December 2017.
- No Valpo player has scored 20+ in four straight games since November 2008.
- After scoring 13 in the fourth quarter Thursday, Frederick scored 10 over the final 10 minutes Friday and now has scored in double figures in the fourth quarter alone three times this season and seven times for her career.
- Beyond the scoring column, Frederick led all players in both games with six assists in each of the two contests - she now leads the MVC with 5.1 assists/game, a category in which no Valpo player has led the league since the 2008-09 campaign.
Erasing Double-Digit Deficits
- Thursday’s win against UNI featured Valpo rallying from an 11-point deficit to win - its second win when trailing by double figures this year.
- Against Xavier, Valpo found itself down by as many as 12 points in the first quarter before eventually earning the win.
- Eight times in Mary Evans’ tenure as head coach has Valpo erased a double-figure deficit in a victory - last year’s team did so four times, while the 2018-19 team did so twice. Seven of those wins have come since the last time Valpo surrendered a double-digit lead in a loss (Feb. 15, 2019).
- The speed with which Valpo has turned around and gained a lead when trailing by double figures in both this year’s wins has been impressive - versus Xavier, Valpo went from down 12 to leading in just 3:10, and then in the win over UNI, Valpo went from down 10 to leading in just 3:05.
A Normal(ish?) Nonconference
- With all that has happened this year, Valpo had about as normal a nonconference schedule as could be expected.
- All seven of the games that were announced prior to the season were played on their scheduled date, with no postponements or cancellations.
- With that, it was still a truncated nonconference slate, as Valpo played just seven games over a span of 23 days.
- The seven nonconference games are the fewest Valpo has played in a single season since first joining a conference prior to the 1987-88 campaign.
- It also is the fewest games prior to the team’s first conference game since the 1999-2000 squad opened Mid-Con play with a single game in early December after just four nonconference games.
- Valpo finished the pre-conference slate with a 4-3 record after going 8-3 in pre-conference play last year. Before last season, Valpo had finished at or above .500 in pre-conference action just once in the last 10 years.
A Winning Calendar Year
- While 2020 came to a close with the loss at Wisconsin for Valpo, the program still finished with a winning calendar year.
- Valpo went 9-9 in January, February and March, and then went 4-3 in November and December to post a 13-12 record.
- 2020 was the first winning calendar year for the program since going 20-10 in 2007.
A B1G Victory...and Another
- The Dec. 6 win was the second win in program history over Purdue, and the first since dropping the nationally-ranked Boilermakers at the ARC on Dec. 10, 2008.
- The win at Illinois marked Valpo’s first-ever win over the Illini, as the Brown and Gold were previously 0-4 in the series - all four losses coming by at least 19 points.
- Valpo defeated multiple Big Ten teams in the same season for the first time in program history.
- The victory at Illinois was Valpo’s first over a Big Ten team — or any Power Five program, for that matter — since taking down Indiana 64-52 at the ARC to open the 2012-13 campaign.
- After entering the season with just one road win all-time against Big Ten opponents, Valpo now has three such victories.
- B1G teams owned a 39-4 record in home nonconference games this year; Valpo is responsible for two of the four losses.
- Valpo is the first team with multiple nonconference road wins at Big Ten programs since 2017-18.
...and Then a Big Win
- Valpo rolled to an easy win over Western Michigan in its home opener, as the Brown and Gold led by double figures for the final 31 minutes en route to the 24-point win.
- The 24-point margin of victory was Valpo’s largest over a MAC school since defeating WMU 88-54 way back in December 1996.
Taking Down Power Five Teams
- This year’s squad becomes the third team in program history to defeat two teams from Power Five conferences in the same season.
- The 2001-02 team beat Wake Forest and Michigan, while the 2008-09 squad defeated Florida State in addition to Purdue.
- This year’s team is the first to earn two true road wins over Power Five programs, however.
- In all, the wins over Illinois and Purdue were Valpo’s ninth and 10th victories over Power Five programs in team history - see page five of the notes for a table of all 10 wins.
- The win over Xavier was the ninth in program history against a current Big East program, but victories over Butler were responsible for the other eight wins.
White Does It All
- Senior Grace White has been described by head coach Mary Evans as a player who can do it all on the court, and White has done just that so far this year.
- White currently ranks among the top-8 in the conference in scoring (14.3), rebounding (6.5), assists (3.6), steals (2.1) and blocked shots (1.1) - the only player among the top-10 in all five categories.
- No MVC player has ranked in the top-10 of all five categories at season’s end since 2015-16, when Missouri State’s Tyonna Snow did so en route to being named the Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the Year.
- White leads Valpo in rebounding and is second on the team in scoring, assists, blocks and steals.
- White especially impressed in Valpo’s two Big Ten wins, posting a team-best 17 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists in the Illinois victory.
- White followed at Purdue by matching her then-Valpo high with 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting and leading Valpo with eight rebounds.
- For her performances against Illinois and Purdue, White was named MVC Player of the Week and College Sports Madness National High-Major Player of the Week.
- White led Valpo in scoring in both games, becoming just the second player in program history to lead the team in scoring in multiple Power Five wins - Agnieszka Kulaga led Valpo with 22 points in the 2008 win over Florida State and 17 points in the 2008 Purdue win.
- White also led Valpo in rebounding in both games, making her one of two players in program history to lead the team on the glass in multiple Power Five wins - Tamra Braun had 10 boards apiece in the 2005 win over Northwestern and the 2004 win at Washington State.
Weinman Goes Off
- Junior Carie Weinman averaged 15.5 points/game last week in the split with UNI and enters the series with Illinois State averaging a team-best 14.6 points/game on the season.
- Weinman has excelled in Valpo’s wins, posting 16.8 points/game and hitting at a 53.6% clip from 3-point range in this season’s five victories versus 11.8 points/game and 22.7% from deep in the four losses.
- Weinman scored 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting in just 24 minutes in Valpo’s rout of Western Michigan.
- Weinman connected on all five of her 3-point attempts in the win over WMU, the first Valpo player since Hannah Schaub in March 2016 against Detroit to hit at least five triples without a miss.
- Weinman followed with a game-high 26 points to again surpass her Valpo best in the win over Xavier, going 8-of-15 from the field and 8-of-10 from the foul line.
- Weinman’s 50 combined points were the most by a Valpo player in consecutive games since Meredith Hamlet combined for 54 points against Toledo and Chicago State in November 2018.
- An MVC All-Defensive Team selection and the conference leader in steals last year, Weinman has tallied at least two steals in eight of nine games this year, including four steals four times. She currently leads the MVC with 2.9 steals/game.