Valparaiso (9-20, 4-14 Horizon)
vs. Youngstown State (9-20, 5-13 Horizon)
Game No. 30 – Friday, March 3 – 1:30 p.m. CT
Joe Louis Arena (20,066) – Detroit, Mich.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: After a solid finish to the regular season, the Valparaiso University women’s basketball team will try to keep its positive momentum going as it begins the Horizon League Tournament on Friday afternoon in Detroit. The Crusaders face off with Youngstown State, a team against whom Valpo split the two regular season matchups. This game will be the second of 18 Horizon League men’s and women’s basketball games that will take place at Joe Louis Arena over a five-day stretch.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders concluded the regular season by leading from nearly start to finish in a 72-63 victory over UIC on Senior Day at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The win allowed the Crusaders to lock down the No. 9 seed in the Horizon League Tournament, while UIC finished 10th in the league standings. Six Crusaders came off the bench and made two or more field goals in a balanced effort. Dani Franklin paced the team with 24 points. The Crusaders dominated the first half, starting with a 17-0 run to take a 22-5 lead.
Following the Crusaders: Friday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN3 with Andy Masur (play-by-play) and Kelley Deyo (color commentary). The hometown call can be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso, with David Horak (play-by-play) and Renee’ Turpa (color commentary). Links to live audio, video and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Tracey Dorow: Tracey Dorow is in her fifth season at the helm of the Valparaiso women’s basketball program in 2016-17. She collected her 250th career victory on Nov. 14, 2014 with a 91-57 win over Butler. In her first season, Dorow led the Crusaders to 11 victories, including five in Horizon League play. Last year, Valpo again reached a double-figure win total by notching 10 triumphs, including an upset of Detroit Mercy in the Horizon League Tournament. Dorow arrived in Valparaiso after 14 seasons at Ferris State. She compiled a 232-163 record while with the Bulldogs. Ferris State posted the No. 1 grade point average in all of Division II for the 1999-2000 women’s basketball season as well as the No. 2 ranking in 2002-03.
Series Notes: The Penguins hold a 25-16 lead in the all-time series between the two teams. Youngstown State has won eight of the last 10 meetings. The Crusaders are 2-2 against the Penguins over the last two years. They split this year’s head-to-head meetings, with Valpo falling 76-70 on Jan. 14 in Youngstown before prevailing 77-60 in the Feb. 2 showdown at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Youngstown State did play without Horizon League Freshman of the Year Mary Dunn in the game Valpo won as she was sidelined by an injury. However, the Crusaders were banged up as well, as they played without Meredith Hamlet and Haylee Thompson. Amber Lindfors had a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds in Valpo’s first league win of the season. The first meeting saw Alison Smolinski go off in the second half for 17 of her team-high 19 points. Hamlet matched a career high with 29 points in the Valpo defeat. This is the first time these teams have squared off in the Horizon League Tournament despite the fact that both have been members of the conference since 2007-08. This matchup leaves Cleveland State and Oakland as the only active members of the Horizon League that the Crusaders have not faced in the tournament. Valpo and Youngstown State did meet in the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament twice, both Penguin wins in 1998 and 2000.
Tournament Update: The winner of the game between the Crusaders and Penguins will advance to play Green Bay on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. CT. The winner of that game will take Sunday off before battling the Oakland vs. Milwaukee winner on Monday at noon CT. The championship game will be held on Tuesday at 11 a.m. CT on ESPNU.
- Valpo defeated four teams in the second meeting of the year after dropping the first matchup. This is the first time since joining the Horizon League that the Crusaders have avenged earlier defeats to four teams in one season.
- Valpo had the biggest jump from the first half of league play to the second of any Horizon League squad. In first matchups against Horizon League opponents, Valpo went 0-9, before going 4-5 in second meetings. The plus-four win turnaround was the best in the Horizon League. No other team was better than plus-two. Green Bay had the worst comparison, as they had a three win drop-off from the first round to second round of league play.
- The Crusaders have just two seniors on their roster and are expected to retain 92.1 percent of their scoring for the 2017-2018 season, second in the Horizon League behind only Wright State (96.8 percent).
- The Crusaders have had good success in the Horizon League Tournament, as they’ve captured wins in four of the last five seasons.
- Valpo went 4-4 over its final eight games of the regular season, its best eight-game finish to a season of the Tracey Dorow era.
- Dani Franklin was named to the all-league second-team earlier this week, becoming the first Valpo player to make the Horizon League first or second team since Tabitha Gerardot in 2012-13.
- Amber Lindfors became the first Crusader since 2011-12 to make the all-defensive team. The Crusaders had an all-league honoree and an all-defensive team member in the same season for the first time since joining the Horizon League.
- Franklin enters the tournament third on Valpo’s all-time single-season scoring list at 526 points. Debbie Bolen holds the top two spots with 550 in 1992-93 and 638 in 1991-92.
- Franklin enters the tournament with 1,203 career points, ninth in program history. Marlous Nieuwveen (1998-2002) and Tabitha Gerardot (2010-13) are tied for seventh at 1,217, with Stephanie Greer in sixth at 1,224.
- If her average holds, Franklin’s 18.1 points per game would be the fifth-highest single-season scoring average in program history and the highest in the last 23 years.
- Franklin has made 186 field goals this season, fourth in program history.
- Franklin is currently shooting 87.3 percent at the free throw line. If she stays above 85.1, her mark will rank second in program history. Agnieszka Kulaga set Valpo’s free-throw percentage record in 2008-09 at 88.6.
- Hannah Schaub has 123 assists this season, 10th in program history. She’s two away from Katie Boone’s 2003-04 season for ninth and six away from Jessica Carr’s 2014-15 season for eighth.
- The Crusaders had twice as many wins in February (four) than they had in December and January combined (two).
- Lindfors has 65 blocked shots and needs two more to move into a tie for third in program history for blocked shots in a single season. Tamra Braun had 67 blocks in 2004-05, while Lindfors already holds second in program history after notching 71 blocks last year.
- In its 45th season, Valpo is 521-626 all-time.
- Valpo has made two NCAA Tournament appearances (2002-03, 2003-04) and earned one WNIT berth (2001-02).
- The Crusaders have had more all-freshman team honorees in the last two years (3) than they did in the previous 12 seasons combined (2).
- Valpo reached double-figure wins for the first time since 2012-2013 a year ago with 10 victories. They also captured five league wins for the first time since 2012-13.
- Valpo has seven players on the roster listed at 6-foot or taller. The last time Valpo had that many players measure in at 6-foot or taller was the 2010-11 season.
- The five freshmen are also Valpo’s most since 2010-11.
- Valpo has had one first-team all-league selection (Launa Hochstetler, 2008-09) and three second team all-league players (Agnieszka Kulaga, 2007-08; Tabitha Gerardot, 2012-13; Dani Franklin 2016-17).
- Valpo also boasts five representatives on the all-newcomer team (Lauren Kenney, 2008-09; Gerardot, 2010-11; Dani Franklin, 2014-15; Jasmyn Walker, 2014-15; Meredith Hamlet 2015-16), two all-defensive team member (Laura Richards, 2011-12; Amber Lindfors, 2016-17), one Freshman of the Year (Franklin, 2014-15) and one Sixth Player of the Year (Franklin, 2014-15).
Inside the Penguins
- Have qualified for postseason tournaments in back-to-back years for the first time in school history.
- Reached the semifinals of the WBI last year with wins over Stony Brook and UMBC.
- In 2015, advanced to the women’s NIT for the second time in program history.
- Picked to finish fourth in the Horizon League Preseason Poll.
- Season has been derailed by injuries with Nikki Arbanas, Sarah Cash and Kelsea Newman all sidelined for the season. Cash (14.1 ppg) and Arbanas (11.3 ppg) were Youngstown State’s top two scorers last season.
- Cash was a member of the all-league preseason first team. She was a walk-on as a freshman before developing into a second-team all-league player last season. She became the first player in school history to lead the team in points, rebounds, steals and blocks in the same season.
- Mary Dunn, who averages 11.4 points per game and a team-high 4.0 rebounds per game, was named the Horizon League Freshman of the Year on Tuesday. Dunn led all Horizon League freshmen in scoring and field-goal percentage, and was named the Horizon League Freshman of the Week a league-high four times.
- Led in scoring by Alison Smolinski, who is averaging 12.3 points per game.
- Last in the league in scoring defense (74.2 ppg), rebounding (33.6 rpg), rebounding margin (minus-seven) and blocked shots (1.8).
- Strength is 3-point shooting, as they lead the league with 8.5 made 3s per game. Smolinski leads the league with 2.9 made 3s per game.
Youngstown State Head Coach John Barnes
- In his fourth year in charge of the Penguins.
- Has led his team to 21 wins each of the last two seasons.
- Came to Youngstown State after spending the previous season as the associate head coach at Green Bay.
- Led Division-II Michigan Tech to 156 wins and five appearances in the NCAA Tournament during his tenure with the Huskies from 2003-10.
- After leaving Michigan Tech, served as an assistant coach at Wisconsin and Michigan.
- Coached against Tracey Dorow when both were in the GLIAC.
- He and his twin brother are the youngest of 12 children.
- Graduated from Michigan Tech in 1995 with a degree in scientific and technical communication.
- Fast Facts: Snapped a streak of 52 consecutive starts on Feb. 2 against Youngstown State…Only a sophomore, reached the 500-point plateau for her collegiate career on Jan. 14 at Youngstown State.
- Last Time Out: Had two points, five assists and three rebounds on Saturday against UIC.
- Season Highlight: Posted her first career double-double on Jan. 14 at Youngstown State, matching a career high with 29 points while shattering personal bests in rebounds (10) and made field goals (12).
- Career Highlight: Exploded for 29 points at Northern Kentucky on Dec. 30, 2015. Went 10-of-11 shooting, the third-highest single-game field goal percentage in program history.
- Worth Noting: Made a game-winning layup at the buzzer to beat Chicago State on Nov. 16… Made 69 3-pointers last season, tying for the fifth most in a single season in school history. In addition, she set the record for the most 3-pointers by a freshman… Finished in double figures 16 times a year ago and is Valpo’s leading returning scorer at 10.6 points per game.
- Awards & Honors: Named to Horizon League all-freshman team last year… Team Captain this season.
- Fast Fact: After 14 straight games with no more than two made field goals, matched a career high by knocking down five shots on Jan. 31 at UIC.
- Last Time Out: Chipped in five points, four rebounds and four assists on Saturday against UIC.
- Season Highlight: Scored a season-high 12 points on Jan. 31 at UIC, her first time in double figures this season.
- Career Highlight: Went 5-for-7 from beyond the arc on Nov. 28, 2015 against Northern Colorado, tying for the 10th best 3-point field goal percentage in a single game in program history. Also knocked down five triples against Detroit in the Horizon League quarterfinals later that season.
- Fast Fact: After making four 3-pointers in her first 18 games of the season, knocked down five triples in a three-game span from Jan. 22 to Feb. 2… Has over 50 assists this season after having four in her career before this year.
- Last Time Out: Scored seven points in 11 minutes on Saturday against UIC.
- Career Highlight: Enjoyed the most productive game of her Valpo career with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting on Feb. 2 against Youngstown State. Also grabbed four rebounds and handed out four assists. Had a career-high three 3-pointers in the victory.
- Season Highlights: Reached double figures for the first time in her Valpo career on Dec. 4 at No. 1 Notre Dame by scoring 10 points… Matched a career-high 10 points on Jan. 12 against Cleveland State. Established a new personal watermark in made field goals with five.
- Worth Noting: Had a career-high eight rebounds on Dec. 29 at Detroit Mercy to lead the team in rebounding for the first time in her Valpo career. Also scored six points to surpass the 100-point mark for her career in that game… Picked up her first career block on Jan. 5 against Green Bay.
- Awards and Honors: Named a team captain this season.
- Fast Facts: Recorded three blocks on Dec. 29 against Detroit Mercy, becoming the third player in Valpo history with 100 career blocks… Has 65 blocked shots this season, fourth most in a single season in Valpo history. Became the first player in Valpo history with two 50-block seasons on Feb. 9 against Wright State … Leads the Horizon League with 2.4 blocks per game… Reached 300 points for her Valpo career on Feb. 18 against Detroit Mercy.
- Last Time Out: Came off the bench due to Senior Day and scored eight points on 3-of-5 shooting in 19 minutes on Saturday against UIC. This marked the first time in her collegiate career that she had come off the bench.
- Career Highlight: Turned in a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds on Feb. 2 against Youngstown to shatter her previous career high in scoring, which was 17 earlier this season against Grace. Also established a new personal best in made field goals by going 9-of-15 and equaled a season-high in rebounds.
- Season Highlight: Had a career-high 17 points on Dec. 10, 2016 against Grace College. Her previous career high of 15 had stood since Dec. 21, 2015 against IU Kokomo.
- Worth Noting: Finished the 2015-16 season with 71 blocks, the second most in a single season in program history… Was the first Crusader to reach 70 blocks in a single season since Michelle Mader in 1991-1992… Led the Horizon League with 2.4 blocks per game in 2015-2016.
- Fast Facts: First Valpo player in the last 23 years to score 500 points in a single season… Had already set a new single-season career high for made 3-pointers, free throws, points and rebounds with nine games left in the regular season… Had as many double-doubles in a five-game stretch from Jan. 12-20 as she did in the first 73 games of her collegiate career… Scored the 1,000th point of her Valpo career on Jan. 17 at Green Bay, becoming the 14th player in program history to join the 1,000-point club… Enters the tournament second in the league in scoring at 18.1 points per game and second in 3-point percentage at 42.6… Hadn’t swiped four steals in any of the first 80 games of her Valpo career, then notched four steals in back-to-back contests on Feb. 2 against Youngstown State and Feb. 4 against Cleveland State… Has gotten to the free-throw line more this year than she did in her first two collegiate seasons combined.
- Last Time Out: Led the Crusaders with 24 points on Saturday against UIC.
- Career Highlight: Set a career high and notched Valpo’s best individual scoring performance since 1992 and fifth-best in program history with 34 points at Stetson on Nov. 12, 2016… Franklin bested her previous career high by nine points, a mark that was established on Dec. 30, 2014 against Purdue Calumet and matched on Feb. 11, 2016 against Oakland… Only two players in program history have reached the 34-point mark before Franklin. Debbie Bolen did so three times, while Stephanie Greer owns the all-time single-game scoring record with 39 in 1990.
- Season Highlight: Scored 33 points on Dec. 3 against Eastern Illinois, finishing one shy of a career high. She became just the third player in program history who has scored 33 points or more in at least two games. Matched a career best with 12 made field goals, and went 6-of-7 at the free-throw line, with the misfire just her second of the year.
- Awards & Honors: Horizon League Freshman of the Year and Sixth Player of the Year in 2014-15. Team captain this season.
- Worth Noting: Shot 43.3 percent from 3-point range as a freshman in 2014-2015, the fourth best single-season mark in program history.
- Fast Fact: Has scored seven points or more five times in the last eight games after doing so once in her first 19 games of the season.
- Last Time Out: Scored six points and matched a career-high with two made 3s on Saturday against UIC.
- Career Highlight: Set a career high with eight points including two made 3s on Dec. 4, 2016 against Notre Dame.
- Season Highlight: Scored eight points at Wright State on Feb. 9, matching a career high.
- Fast Fact: Led Valpo in scoring for the first time this year on Jan. 22 against Wright State.
- Last Time Out: Pulled down a career-high nine rebounds on Saturday against UIC. Also chipped in three points.
- Season Highlight: Matched a career high with 16 points against IU Kokomo on Nov. 21. Went 6-of-8 from the floor in the game.
- Career Highlight: Poured in a career-best 16 points on Dec. 7, 2015, an effort that was needed for Valpo to earn a 63-62 win over Cardinal Stritch. Thompson scored 14 of her game-high 16 points after halftime.
- Worth Noting: The longest-tenured Crusader as she enters her fourth season with the program. Only her third year playing after sitting out one season due to transfer rules. Came to the Crusaders from Utah State… Led the team in field goal percentage at 51.9 percent last season.
- Fast Facts: Had three offensive rebounds on Feb. 12 at Northern Kentucky, matching a career high.
- Last Time Out: Had four points and five rebounds in 18 minutes on Saturday against UIC.
- Season Highlight: Reached double figures for the first time in her Valpo career with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting against Grace College on Dec. 10.
- Worth Noting: Father Scott Morrison is a former Valparaiso men’s basketball player.
- Fast Fact: Knocked down three 3s in her Crusader debut, becoming the first player to do so since Annemarie Hamlet in 2014. Hales became the first freshman to pour in three 3s in a season opener in the last decade…. Snapped a streak of 21 straight made free throws at Northern Kentucky on Saturday, her first miss at the stripe since Dec. 29.
- Last Time Out: Rounded out a strong week with eight points on 3-of-6 shooting on Saturday against UIC.
- Season Highlights: Scored nine points at Stetson on Nov. 12, marking the third straight year a Valpo freshman has scored nine points or more on opening night. Meredith Hamlet and Dani Franklin did so each of the last two seasons, and both went on to make the Horizon League all-freshman team… Opened conference play in style with a career-high 13 points on Dec. 29 at Detroit Mercy, her second consecutive game in double figures…. Led her team in scoring for the first time in her Valpo career on Feb. 16 against Oakland. Was the only Crusader in double figures, posting 11 points in the defeat. Scored seven of the team’s 13 second-quarter points.
- Worth Noting: Father Ross played football and basketball at Indiana University.
- Fast Fact: Notched her first-career made basket against a Division-I opponent on Jan. 14 at Youngstown State. Did so in style, finishing an important layup despite being fouled.
- Last Time Out: Had five points in nine minutes, knocking down both of her field-goal attempts on Saturday against UIC.
- Season Highlight: Scored seven points on Feb. 16 against Oakland, a new career high. Shattered her previous best of four, which she had reached on Jan. 14 against Youngstown State and Jan. 22 against Wright State. Also dished out a career-high four assists in 26 minutes, by far the most playing time she’s received in a game. Before that game, Meredith hadn’t played more than 15 minutes in a contest.
- Worth Noting: Received honorable mention all-state recognition as a senior in high school.
- Fast Fact: Made her first appearance since Jan. 5 on Feb. 2 against Youngstown State.
- Last Time Out: Made her first collegiate start on Saturday against UIC. Did not score in 13 minutes of action.
- Season Highlight: Made her season debut on Nov. 21 against IU Kokomo and turned in seven points.
- Career Highlight: Rose up to the competition against Louisville on Dec. 5, 2015, leading the team with 12 points.
- Worth Noting: Set the NJCAA record for 3-pointers in a single season (143) in 2014-15 at Dakota College at Bottineau.