Valparaiso (0-5, 0-0 MVC)
Game #6 - November 29, 2021 - 6 p.m. CT
at Western Michigan (3-2, 0-0 MAC)
University Arena (5,421) - Kalamazoo, Mich.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valpo women’s basketball team returns to action Monday evening as it faces its third MAC opponent of the season, making the trip to Kalamazoo, Mich. for a Monday evening matchup with Western Michigan.
Previously: Valpo rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit Tuesday evening at UIC to forge ahead to a six-point lead in the fourth quarter, but the host Flames struck back and eventually emerged on top, 68-64.
Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN3
Radio: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)
Streaming Audio: TuneIn app
Links for all live coverage: Available via ValpoAthletics.com
Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans is in her fourth year at the helm of the program in 2021-22 and owns a record of 37-54. Evans has made an immediate impact on the program in her first three years, raising the team’s level of play to be competitive in a strong Missouri Valley Conference. Evans’ preferred style of play has been a big part of the program’s turnaround, as Valpo has led the MVC in 3-pointers made per game and in steals per game in each of the last two seasons.
Series Notes: Valpo trails the all-time series with WMU, 8-4, and is just 1-4 all-time in Kalamazoo. The two squads met last season for the first time since 2013, and Valpo earned a convincing 75-51 victory at the ARC. Carie Weinman went 9-of-12 from the field for 24 points in the victory, while Caitlin Morrison dropped 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting and picked up 10 rebounds for a double-double.
- Valpo has been picked to finish in sixth place in the MVC preseason poll, totaling 208 points - just one point shy of fifth place.
- Valpo is in its fifth season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference in 2021-22.
- The Valley was ranked seventh nationally in conference NET in 2020-21 and was eighth nationally in conference RPI in 2019-20.
...looking back at last year
- Valpo posted a 12-13 overall record during the 2020-21 season and went 7-9 in Missouri Valley Conference play.
- Valpo finished the regular season in seventh place in the MVC standings.
- Included among Valpo’s 12 victories were wins at Illinois and at Purdue, the program’s first Power Five wins since 2012-13.
- Valpo closed the season with a NET of 122 - the program’s best final NET/RPI ranking since the 2003-04 campaign.
- Shay Frederick was a First Team All-MVC honoree as she led the Valley in assists and ranked sixth in scoring.
- Carie Weinman earned Honorable Mention All-MVC notice and repeated on the All-Defensive Team as she led the Valley in steals for a second straight season.
- UIC led 20-11 at the end of one quarter and 33-26 at halftime.
- The Flames’ lead reached 10 points with 7:30 to play in the third quarter, but Valpo rallied to take a 49-48 lead with 10 minutes to play.
- The Beacons extended their advantage to 57-51 with 6:48 remaining.
- Valpo went scoreless for a stretch of over three and a half minutes, with UIC scoring eight straight to go back in front.
- Valpo briefly reclaimed the lead with 3:02 to play, but UIC came back with five points in two possessions to take the lead for good. Valpo had a shot to tie in the final 10 seconds, but could not connect.
- Carie Weinman led all players on Tuesday with 23 points, hitting 9-of-14 from the field. It was her ninth effort of 20+ points in her time at Valpo.
- Grace White filled up the stat sheet with 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. She paced Valpo in both rebounds and steals, while her six assists were just one off a career high.
- Caitlin Morrison played in her 117th career game at Valpo on Tuesday, moving her into the program’s all-time top-10 in games played. She closed the evening with 10 points and six rebounds.
Valpo shot a season-best 52.1% from the field on Tuesday, but was just 4-for-16 from 3-point range compared to UIC’s 9-for-16 night from behind the arc.
- Xavier scored six of the first quarter’s final eight points to lead 23-18 at the end of one, and extended the run to 11-2 with the first five points of the second quarter.
- The Musketeers’ lead reached as many as 13 points in the first half and Valpo trailed Xavier 35-24 at intermission.
- The Beacons held the Musketeers to just three points over the first six-plus minutes of the second half as they crept back into the game. Valpo out-scored Xavier 10-3 over that stretch, with five different players scoring, and when Grace White finished a layup with 3:54 to play in the quarter, Valpo was within 38-34.
- Xavier scored on each of its next six possessions, however, to extend its lead back out to 51-36 with 10 minutes to play.
- Valpo got no closer than 13 points in the fourth quarter.
- Frederick paced Valpo with 14 points and knocked down three 3-pointers. She now ranks ninth in program history with 153 career 3-pointers.
- The senior also led the Beacons’ effort on the glass with eight rebounds.
- Earnest reached double figures in scoring for the second time this year with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting off the bench.
- Valpo shot just 36.6% from the field and was 6-of-28 from 3-point range.
- The stretch of five straight road games concludes at Bowling Green next Sunday, Dec. 5.
- Valpo returns home to the ARC for the first time since Nov. 14 when it hosts Notre Dame on Wednesday, Dec. 8.
...on the road
- Monday marks the fourth of seven non-conference road games and 16 road games in all for Valpo this season.
- Valpo has finished at or above .500 in each of the last two seasons in true road games, going 6-6 on the road last year and 9-5 in 2019-20.
- Western Michigan enters Monday’s matchup at 3-2 on the year, most recently earning a dominating 105-29 win over Olivet this past Tuesday.
- The Broncos were picked to finish 10th in the MAC preseason poll after posting a 6-15 record last season.
- Three WMU players are averaging in double figures in the scoring column, led by 18.2 ppg from Lauren Ross.
Get Accustomed to the Road
- Valpo is in the midst of a stretch of five consecutive true road games, which started last Tuesday at Michigan State and concludes Sunday, Dec. 5 at Bowling Green.
- Interestingly, none of them are part of multi-game trips - they are five separate single-game trips.
- It is the first time Valpo will play five consecutive true road games since...the end of the regular season last year, as it closed the MVC slate with one game at Loyola and two games each at Southern Illinois and at Drake.
- It is the first time in program history Valpo will play five consecutive true road games in pre-conference play.
- Valpo last played five straight away from home in pre-conference play in November/December 2013. That year’s squad had road games at Tennessee Tech, Florida International and Toledo, as well as neutral-site games, hosted by the latter two schools, against Montana State and Chicago State.
Suiting Up Again and Again
- Sixth-year forward Caitlin Morrison cracked Valpo’s career top-10 for games played last time out at UIC.
- Morrison made her 117th appearance in the Valpo uniform on Tuesday, matching Carie Wickham and Marlous Nieuwveen for the 10th-most games played in program history.
- Morrison has started in 113 of her 117 appearances.
- She is just eight games shy of reaching Kathryn Knoester’s program record of 125 career games played.
Knocking Down Shots
- Valpo enjoyed its best shooting game of the season last time out at UIC.
- The Beacons hit at a 52.1% clip (25-of-48) from the floor.
- Valpo connected on 21-of-32 from inside the 3-point line.
- It was the first time Valpo has hit at least 50% from the field this year after doing so just twice last season.
- Despite shooting so well from the floor, the Beacons fell to UIC. It marked the first time Valpo has lost a game when hitting at least 50% from the field since March 2014, when it lost 101-80 at Wright State while shooting 59.6%.
Frederick Approaches 1K; Climbs Assists Chart
- Junior guard Shay Frederick is nearing a scoring milestone.
- With her nine points on Sunday, Frederick now owns 960 career points, just 40 shy of 1,000 for her career.
- Frederick - who ranks second on the team with 10.8 points/game this season - moved into 20th place in program history in career scoring at Xavier.
- When she hits 1,000 career points, Frederick will become the 17th player in program history to reach the milestone. She will also become just the second player all-time at Valpo with at least 1,000 points and 300 assists.
- Speaking of assists, Frederick jumped not one but two spots on Valpo’s career assists chart last time out as she dished out a team-best seven assists at UIC.
- Frederick now has 370 career assists, good for fifth in program history. Next up is Laura Richards in fourth position with 392 career assists.
- The last two seasons have featured a combined 29 wins for Valpo, including many notable victories.
- The 2020-21 squad counted some big wins among its 12 victories, including a pair of literal B1G wins, as the Brown and Gold beat multiple Big Ten teams in the same season for the first time in program history.
- Entering the season without a win over a Power Five program since 2012-13, Valpo won at Illinois for its first-ever win over the Illini, and followed four days later with a road win at Purdue - the second win in program history over the Boilermakers.
- Valpo became the first women’s basketball program with multiple nonconference road wins at Big Ten programs since 2017-18.
- The team picked up some big wins once the schedule flipped to Missouri Valley Conference play as well last season, as three of Valpo’s seven conference victories came over teams in the top-100 of the NET.
- The 2019-20 Valpo squad had one of the top turnarounds in program history from the previous year and one of the best turnarounds in the nation. It more than doubled the win total from the prior season, as the 2018-19 team went 8-24 overall, while the 2019-20 squad went 17-12.
- It was the second-largest improvement in the win column from one year to the next in program history, trailing only the 2001-02 team, which improved an astounding 19 wins from the previous season (7-22 -> 26-7).
- Valpo’s 10.5 game improvement ranked sixth nationally.
- Valpo’s 17 wins in 2019-20 made it the program’s winningest campaign since 2006-07.
- The wins in 2019-20 came in non-conference play, where Valpo posted an 8-3 record – the best pre-conference mark in program history.
- The wins came away from home, as Valpo went 9-5 in true road games – the most road wins since the 2001-02 team won nine true road games.
- The wins came when the schedule shifted to MVC action, as Valpo finished 2019-20 9-9 in MVC play – its first .500 or better record in league play since 2008-09.
- In her time at the helm of the Valpo program, head coach Mary Evans’ teams have become known for their propensity to shoot 3-pointers.
- Evans’ first three seasons at the helm have seen Valpo’s top-3 single-season total 3-pointers made, including a program-record 276 in her first season in 2018-19 - a mark which ranks seventh in MVC history.
- Valpo has ranked among the top-25 in the nation in 3-pointers/game all three years, with the 2020-21 squad setting a program single-season record by averaging 9.0 triples/game.
- Prior to Evans’ arrival, Valpo had made 14 or more 3-pointers in a game just nine times in program history.
- In the three seasons with her at the helm, Valpo owns nine more games with 14+ triples, including twice matching the program single-game record of 17.
- The style of play isn’t a surprise if you follow the coaching tree. Evans coached under Bob Boldon at Ohio for five years before getting the head job at Valpo, and Boldon was a former assistant coach at FGCU under their legendary head coach, Karl Smesko, whose teams have ranked among the top-5 in the nation in 3-pointers made in each of the last 10 years.
- As much as the offensive end has been highlighted by the 3-point numbers under Evans, the defensive side has seen prolific steal numbers over the last three seasons.
- Valpo has averaged at least 8.9 steals/game in each of Evans’ three seasons.
- Each of the last two years has seen Valpo rank among the top-40 teams nationally in steals/game.
- Carie Weinman has led the MVC in steals in each of the last two seasons. She ranked 16th nationally last year, averaging 2.9 steals/game.
- Valpo tallied double figures in steals 12 times in 25 games in 2020-21, after doing so 16 times the previous season.
- With 300 steals, the 2019-20 squad finished the campaign eighth in program history in the category. The 2001-02 team (330 steals) is the only Valpo team in the last quarter-century to have registered more steals.
A Look at the Non-Conference
- Head coach Mary Evans has put together a challenging non-conference schedule to help prepare Valpo for the grind of MVC play.
- The non-conference slate features five teams which finished within the top-100 of the NCAA NET ranking last season, including three teams which appeared in the NCAA Tournament.
- Valpo will take on four MAC opponents, including the reigning regular season (Bowling Green) and tournament (Central Michigan) champions.
- The Beacons will host Notre Dame at the ARC on Dec. 8.
- Valpo also has trips to two programs - Michigan State and South Dakota - which finished in the top-40 of the NET last year.
- Four regular starters return for Valpo in 2021-22, including a trio who own extensive streaks of consecutive games started.
- Shay Frederick, Caitlin Morrison and Carie Weinman were three of the four players who started every game a season ago.
- Frederick has started 71 consecutive games dating back to the middle of her freshman year, while Morrison and Weinman have made 59 starts in a row.
- The three were members of a quintet which started every single game in the 2019-20 season - the first time in program history the same five players started every game.
- Grace White started all 22 games she was available for last season as well.
- In contrast to that quartet, Maya Dunson made her first start in the Valpo uniform in the season opener.