Valparaiso (6-17, 2-9 MVC)
at Evansville (2-20, 0-11 MVC)
Game No. 24 – Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 – 6 p.m. CT
Meeks Family Field House (1,134) – Evansville, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team will hit the road after four consecutive home dates and attempt to return to the win column on Friday night at Evansville. Valpo will look to make it a season sweep of the Purple Aces and try to start an instate road swing on a high note.
Last Time Out: Valpo came out on the wrong end of a 64-56 score against UNI in a game that featured six ties and nine lead changes on Sunday at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Meredith Hamlet exploded for 12 of her game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter, leading four Valpo players in double figures. The game was a defensive struggle early, and both teams had a hard time connecting on 3s throughout the game. Valpo finished the contest at 4-of-19 (21 percent) from long distance, while UNI was 6-of-27 (22 percent).
Following Valpo: Friday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN+, which is available on a subscription basis for $4.99 per month. On the radio side, it’s Brandon Vickrey (color commentary) joining Ben Ariano (play-by-play) for the call, which can be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso and online via the TuneIn Radio app. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available.
Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans is in her first year as the head coach of the Valparaiso University women’s basketball program in 2018-2019. Evans, who spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio University, became the eighth head coach in program history on April 13, 2018. She brought 15 years of Division I experience with her to Valpo. During her time on Ohio’s staff under head coach Bob Boldon, Evans helped the Bobcats to three seasons of 22 wins or more, three postseason appearances and three Top 75 RPI finishes. The 2014-15 team established a school record with 27 wins, a 21-win improvement from two years earlier and an 18-win improvement from the previous season. The Bobcats won the 2014-15 MAC regular season and tournament titles and reached the NCAA Tournament. Evans has also coached at Youngstown State, Georgia Southern, South Carolina Aiken and Seton Hall.
Series Notes: Valpo has had good success in matchups with its instate foe from Evansville since joining the Missouri Valley Conference. Valpo bumped its record to 3-0 in that time and grabbed an 8-7 lead in the all-time series thanks to a 93-49 victory at the ARC on Jan. 20. That game saw Grace Hales tie a career high with 21 points and Ella Ellenson establish a new personal best with 16. Valpo outscored Evansville 35-7 in the third quarter and shot 85.7 percent (12-14) during that period. Valpo’s most recent trip to Evansville was a 67-54 win on Feb. 25 of last season.
Cashing in at the Stripe: In addition to sustaining her strong play of late by reaching double figures for the sixth time in seven games, junior Grace Hales extended her streak of made free throws on Feb. 10 vs. UNI. She went 4-of-4 at the stripe and has now knocked down 21 straight dating back to the MVC opener on Jan. 6 at Loyola. Hales has not missed at the free-throw line in the last 10 games. She had a similar stretch two years ago as a freshman, making 21 in a row at the charity stripe – a streak that spanned December, January and February. If the season ended today, Hales’ free-throw percentage of .851 would rank tied for fourth in single-season program history.
On the Uptick: Grace Hales is averaging 12.6 points per game in MVC play after scoring 8.6 ppg during the nonconference slate. Hales reached double figures just twice over the first 10 games but has scored in double figures in 10 of 13 games since. She has played 35 minutes or more in three straight contests.
Showing Progress: So far Valpo is 2-for-2 in turning in a better performance in Round 2 of MVC play than Round 1 against the same opponent. Valpo trimmed the margin to 26 against conference powerhouse Drake on Feb. 8 after falling by 31 the first time. The improvement was significant against UNI – the team picked second in the conference – as Valpo fell by 19 in the first meeting before cutting the margin down on Feb. 10, an eight-point setback.
Defending the Arc: UNI had 27 3-point attempts on Feb. 10 at Valpo, second only to Bowling Green’s 30 for a Valpo opponent this season. However, only six tries were successful, marking the eighth time this season Valpo has held an opponent to 25 percent or worse from 3-point range. The Panthers’ 22.2 percent clip from beyond the arc was their worst in conference play and their second-worst overall as they shot 20 percent from 3 against Creighton early in the season.
A Steady Starter: Senior Meredith Hamlet has started 112 of her 114 career games. By the end of this weekend, she is in position to move into a tie for 10th in program history for career games played. If she plays in every game the rest of the season, Hamlet will finish at least tied for second in program history in career games played. She will finish in sole possession of second place if Valpo wins at least one game in Moline and would need Valpo to reach the tournament championship in order to match the program record.
Record Book Watch: To the surprise of no one, Valpo is already seventh in program history for team 3-point attempts in a single season with 598. The program record is 676, set in 1991-1992. Valpo has made 200 3s this season, already the sixth-most in the history of Valpo women’s basketball. The program record is 224, a mark that was set in 1991-92 and matched in 2007-08.
Tossing Up Triples: It’s become no secret that Valpo’s offense entails a large number of 3-point attempts this season. The number of 3-point tries reached a new peak on Feb. 8 vs. Drake as Valpo fired off a program-record 44 3-point attempts, shattering a mark that had stood since Feb. 27, 1992. This year’s team already owns four of the top five single-game 3-point attempt totals in program history. Before this season, Valpo had attempted more than 36 3s in a game just once all-time. The team has done so four times this year (vs. Bowling Green, at Drake, at Missouri State, vs. Drake).
Centier Bank Getting Its Money’s Worth: Valpo converted 15 3-pointers – which are sponsored by Centier Bank at the Athletics-Recreation Center – on Feb. 8 against Drake. That marked just the fifth time in program history but already the second time this season Valpo has hit 15 or more 3s in a game. The previous instances were March 10, 2016 vs. Detroit (at GB), Feb. 28, 2015 vs. UMKC, Dec. 8, 2004 vs. Central Michigan (17) and this season vs. Bowling Green (17). The 15 made 3s in a game are tied for third all-time, while the performance against Bowling Green earlier this season matched the school record.
Another 3-Point Feat: Valpo accomplished yet another feat related to 3-pointers on Feb. 8 vs. Drake as two different players connected on five triples in a single game, the first time that had happened for Valpo since March 10, 2016 when Hannah Schaub and Meredith Hamlet had five apiece in an overtime victory over Detroit Mercy in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament. Ella Ellenson had five 3s against Drake after previously having no more than two in a single game, while Grace Hales had the fourth game of her career and second this season with five triples.
Shay’s Six Steals: Freshman Shay Frederick swiped six steals on Feb. 8 vs. Drake, the most by a Valpo player in a single game since Jan. 23, 2014 vs. Detroit Mercy. In that game, two players had six steals or more as Jessica Carr had seven while Abby Dean added six.
Schofield’s Three-riffic Sunday: Valpo has had many accomplishments related to 3-point baskets this season, but Allison Schofield’s was a new one on Feb. 3 vs. Illinois State. The senior knocked down six 3s in a single game, becoming the first Valpo player to do so since Meredith Hamlet on Feb. 11, 2016 at Oakland. In addition, she became the first Valpo player with six triples in a home game since Betsy Adams on Jan. 20, 2010 vs. Wright State. Two others have done it on the road in recent years – Jessica Carr (March 12, 2014 at Green Bay) and Rashida Ray (Feb. 26, 2011 at Milwaukee). Schofield finished the Feb. 3 game with 22 points, rewriting her previous career high of 16 (Nov. 14, 2018 at Illinois).
What a Difference a Year Makes: The career day for Allison Schofield on Feb. 3 was the latest development in a season-long surge for the Valpo senior. This season, Schofield has played in every game when healthy, averaged 23.2 minutes per game and has played as many as 36 minutes. A year ago, she did not play due to coach’s decision in 11 games and played fewer than 10 minutes in 15 others. She is averaging 7.9 points per game after scoring 1.0 point per game a year ago. In addition, Schofield went 1-for-12 from 3-point range all of last season and is 31-of-76 from distance this year.
A Trio of 20s: Valpo accomplished the rare feat of having three players score 20 points or more in a single game in the Feb. 1 win over Bradley. Meredith Hamlet (23), Shay Frederick (21) and Addison Stoller (20) reached that plateau in a 76-73 triumph. That was the first time in at least 20 years Valpo had three 20-point scorers in a game. Indiana State turned the trick against Grand Canyon earlier this season, though the Sycamores had the benefit of overtime. Valpo, Indiana State and Drake are the only current MVC programs that have had a game with three players scoring 20 points or more in the last two decades.
Showcasing Various Standouts: In two games over a three-day span during the first weekend of February, Valpo remarkably had five different players enjoy 20-point games. Over a span of five games in January and February, the team was led in scoring by five different players: Grace Hales (21 vs. Evansville), Addison Stoller (22 at Southern Illinois), Shay Frederick (17 at Missouri State), Meredith Hamlet (23 vs. Bradley) and Allison Schofield (22 vs. Illinois State).
Down to the Wire: Valpo played back-to-back games decided by exactly three points on Feb. 1 and Feb. 3, defeating Bradley 76-73 before falling to Illinois State 70-67. That marked the first time Valpo had played in consecutive games decided by three points or fewer since January 2010 (W 71-68 at Cleveland State, L 72-70(ot) vs. Detroit Mercy). Valpo has now played in seven games decided by five points or fewer this season – already the program’s most in the last six years.
Number of Games Decided by Five Points or Fewer
2018-19 – 7
2017-18 – 2
2016-17 – 6
2015-16 – 6
2014-15 – 0
2013-14 – 4
2012-13 – 7
Have Yourself a Day, Shay: With two Valpo point guards now sidelined for the remainder of the season with injuries, Valpo has turned to Shay Frederick as the team’s starter. The true freshman responded in a big way in her first career start on Feb. 1 vs. Bradley, playing 38 minutes on her way to career bests in points (21) and assists (eight). Her previous watermarks in both categories came on Nov. 17 vs. St. Francis (Brooklyn), when she had 19 points and five assists. Frederick’s 21 points against the Braves were the most by a Valpo freshman since current senior Meredith Hamlet had three games with 21 points or more during her rookie campaign in 2015-16.
Lineup Tracker: Shay Frederick made her first career start on Feb. 1 vs. Bradley and has now made four career starts. Addison Stoller and Meredith Hamlet have been fixtures in the starting five for all 23 games this year. Hamlet has started 112 of her 114 career games. Ellenson has started 20 times this season, while Hales has made 18 straight starts.
Continuing the Climb: The latest achievement in the storied career of Valpo senior guard Meredith Hamlet occurred on Jan. 25 at Southern Illinois as Hamlet moved into the Top 10 in program history in career scoring. She enters Friday’s game with 1,244 career points. She currently owns seventh in program history and is attempting to chase down Amber Schober (1998-2002), who is sixth at 1,273. Betsy Rietema (2003-2007) owns the mark needed to crack the Top 5 at 1,276.
3-Point Watch: Meredith Hamlet has made 191 career 3-pointers, which ranks fourth in program history. The mark needed to crack the top three is 215 (Carrie Myers, 2003-2007).
Ascending the Assist Chart: Redshirt junior point guard Hannah Schaub finished her season with 289 career assists and currently sits in ninth in program history. She usurped Lauren Bechtold (287, 2002-2006) for ninth on Jan. 27 at Missouri State. Meredith Hamlet also ranks in the Top 20 in career assists with 240, which ranks 16th. Hamlet needs to get to 246 to move into a tie with Lexi Miller (2012-2016) and crack the Top 15.
Damage from Distance: Valpo has equaled or bettered its opponent in made 3-pointers in 18 of the last 21 games. Valpo has made eight 3s or more 13 times this season and made 10+ triples on nine occasions. Seven of those contests with 10 or more made 3-pointers have come in the last nine games.
Inside the Purple Aces
- Picked to finish 10th in the MVC Preseason Poll.
- Led in scoring by Kerri Gasper, who is a member of the 1,000 career point club, at 11.3 per game. She also paces the team in rebounding with 7.1 per contest. However, Gasper did not play in Sunday’s game against Bradley and also missed the fourth quarter of the previous game against Illinois State.
- Coming off an 81-63 loss at Bradley on Sunday. Marley Miller had 21 points to lead the team.
- Played a close game on Feb. 1 vs. Indiana State, falling 76-69. Closest game in MVC play was on Jan. 18 at Loyola, a 61-56 defeat.
- Matt Ruffing has held the position of head coach since Dec. 21, 2016. He served as an assistant coach for five seasons and was the interim head coach from March 2015 through December 2016 before earning the full-time role.
So You Want to be a Coach: For the second consecutive season, Valpo will have a participant in the “So You Want to be a Coach” program, hosted by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in partnership with WeCOACH. Senior Meredith Hamlet will represent Valpo this year after 2018 alum Dani Franklin did so a year ago. This marks the 17th annual “So You Want to be a Coach” program as each member will participate in a three-day workshop with speakers provided by WeCOACH on April 3-5 in conjunction with the WBCA Convention in Tampa Bay, Fla.
Inside the Assistants
- All members of Valpo’s coaching staff are in their first season in 2018-19.
- Mary Gleason has returned to the collegiate ranks after a stint as the head girls basketball coach at St. Piux X High School in Houston, Texas. She was the head coach at Houston Baptist from 2010-2013, guiding the team during the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division I. She has been an assistant at Dartmouth College (2007-2010), Princeton University (2003-2007) and New York University (2000-2003).
- Gabby Johnson joined Valpo’s staff after a tenure as the head coach at Dominican University in River Forest, Ill. that began in 2012. She was an assistant at Northern Kentucky from 2010-2012. During her playing career, Johnson helped Thomas More to an impressive 99-16 record.
- Tyeasha Moss previously served as a graduate assistant at Ohio University, where Mary Evans was an assistant coach. During her playing days, Moss was a standout at Xavier, where she led the Musketeers to three A-10 regular season championships, two undefeated conference regular seasons and an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2009.
- Director of Basketball Operations Sean Eaton graduated from Valpo with a master’s in sports administration in May 2018 after completing his undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
- Graduate assistant Kaylin Speedy served as a manager for the Purdue women’s basketball program from 2014-2018 and was the head manager by the end of her time in West Lafayette.
- Athletic trainer Carrie McKiddy is in her fourth season working with the Valpo women’s basketball program and previously served as an athletic trainer at the University of Illinois from 2005-2011.
Who’s Next: Coopersville (Mich.) High School senior Cara VanKempen has signed her National Letter of Intent to play for Valpo next season. The two-time all-conference performer has also garnered all-area first team and all-state honorable mention recognition. As a junior last season, VanKempen averaged 14 points, six rebounds and three assists per game. The daughter of a coach who has played for her father from a young age, VanKempen became the first high school recruit to sign with Valpo under first-year head coach Mary Evans’ watch.
Champions in Classroom: The Valpo women’s basketball team has developed a tradition of having players thrive academically. The 2017-2018 season saw Valpo have 11 players finish the spring semester with a GPA of 3.0 or better. Two players were named MVC Scholar-Athletes of the Week during the season and two were recognized as part of either the MVC Scholar-Athlete team or MVC Scholar-Athlete honorable mention. The 2018-2019 team has players with the following majors: biology, biomedical engineering, communications, public relations, marketing, healthcare leadership, health sciences, exercise science, psychology, finance, elementary education, business management and secondary/physical education.
Champions in Community: The program also has a commitment to serving the community. During their time on campus, players have visited elementary school students and wrote letters back and forth to encourage and promote healthy lifestyles as pen pals. In addition, Valpo women’s basketball players assembled over 1,000 informational packages for runners and spectators at the Chicago Marathon as part of the team’s annual Pack-a-thon. Athletes on the team engaged the greater Valparaiso community by volunteering and organizing supervision of the Valparaiso Popcorn Fest’s Little Kernel Puff Run. Valpo players ran with children to the finish line of the event and helped set up the race. Valparaiso was the hometown of Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn company. Numerous Valpo players have also volunteered their time at the Valpo Boys & Girls Club.
- Shortly after Valpo’s new coaching staff was assembled, the group sat down to discuss a program hashtag. Despite being new to Valpo, the staff members were well educated on the University’s history and tradition. That’s how #RingTheBell was born.
- Head Coach Mary Evans: “Ringing the bell here at Valpo is something you do when you graduate, so the concept speaks to our goal of being successful both on the court and in the classroom. We want to be one of the best programs in our conference and continue to have great success academically and in our personal lives. My message to our players is that whatever they do in life, it’s important to put in the time and effort to be very good at it. That’s what #RingTheBell has become to us.”
- Senior Allison Schofield: “I love the idea by our coaching staff and think it’s a tremendous concept. Ringing the bell is synonymous with Valparaiso University as a whole and has been for quite some time. This allows us to become closely associated with something that is University wide rather than separating ourselves as women’s basketball. To me, #RingTheBell means victory and finishing the close games that we’ve struggled to finish in the past.”
- Senior Meredith Hamlet: “To me, #RingTheBell is about winning games. That’s our goal. We have confidence that we can win the games on our schedule and we have a fair shot to beat every team we play. The team that works the hardest is going to win.”
- Redshirt Sophomore Addison Stoller: “#RingTheBell gives us a consistent message and establishes a trend that we want to continue. As a program, we want to be consistent in everything we do, from our messaging to our play on the court. We’ve seen our coaches get excited about ringing the bell and that’s allowed us to dedicate ourselves to it as well.”
A Look Back at 2017-18
- Valpo won a league tournament game for the sixth time in the last seven years by topping Loyola in the first round of Hoops in the Heartland before falling to eventual conference champion Drake in the second round.
- The program finished with 13 wins, the team’s highest win total since 2008-09, when it won 16 games. The team also equaled its highest conference win total since 2009-10 and had the most road wins in a single season since the 2011-2012 campaign.
- Valpo finished with the second-best free-throw percentage in program history at 76.0 and had its highest scoring average (65.1) since 2007-2008 (66.3).
- Senior Dani Franklin closed out her noteworthy career and was named to the 2017-18 All-MVC First Team and Scholar-Athlete First Team following the season. She finished second in program history in career points.
On the court…
- Exploded for 12 points in the fourth quarter to finish with a game-high 17 on Feb. 10 vs. UNI.
- Matched a career high and set a season best with six assists on Feb. 1 vs. Bradley while also pouring in a game-high 23 points.
- Cracked the Top 10 in program history in career scoring with a 17-point effort on Jan. 25 at Southern Illinois.
- Knocked down seven of her eight field-goal attempts on Jan. 20 vs. Evansville, accumulating 17 points and a team-high six boards.
- Burst out of a minor slump with a 26-point effort on Jan. 18 vs. Indiana State that also featured four assists, five rebounds and three steals. She knocked down seven shots in that game while moving into the Top 20 in program history in career assists.
- Held the outright team lead in rebounding for the first time since Jan. 14, 2017 (10 at Youngstown State) on Dec. 19 at Purdue Fort Wayne, pulling down six boards.
- Led all scorers with 15 points and pulled down a season-high eight rebounds on Dec. 16 vs. North Dakota State.
- Played in her 100th career game and made her 98th career start on Dec. 8 vs. Miami (Ohio).
- Was named the MVC Player of the Week on Dec. 3 after averaging 22.7 points per game over three games the previous week. She became the first Valpo basketball player – men’s or women’s – to earn a Valley Player of the Week distinction. She was the first Valpo women’s player to win a conference player of the week award since 2013.
- Upped her season high to 28 points on Nov. 29 at Chicago State while also racking up five assists, four steals and draining five 3-pointers.
- Turned in a then season-high 26 points on Nov. 26 vs. Toledo, three points shy of a career high that she has reached on three occasions.
- Became the 15th player in program history to reach the 1,000 point milestone on Nov. 17 vs. St. Francis Brooklyn. Her milestone point came on a made layup with 9:22 remaining in the third quarter. She finished the game with 18 points.
- Scored 12 of her game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter in the home opener on Nov. 11 against North Dakota.
- Started the season opener for the fourth consecutive year on Nov. 7 at UIC and swished in a career-high 12 free throws while scoring a team-high 19 points in that contest.
- Set the school record for made 3-pointers by a freshman in a single season in 2015-16 with 69, a mark that ranked fifth overall in program history.
- Named to the 2015-16 Horizon League All-Freshman Team and received 2017-18 MVC Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention.
- Has enjoyed numerous notable single-game performances, including reaching 29 points on three occasions – Dec. 15, 2017 vs. IU Northwest, Jan. 14, 2017 at Youngstown State and Dec. 30, 2015 at Northern Kentucky. Perhaps her most memorable game, however, was Feb. 11 of last season at Loyola, when she exploded for 19 points in the fourth quarter to help Valpo to a comeback victory after being held scoreless for the first three quarters.
- Was featured as part of the MVC Scholar-Athlete Spotlight on Nov. 21.
- Comes from a Valpo family as the third of three sisters to play women’s basketball at Valpo. Oldest sister Elizabeth graduate transferred to Valpo for the 2013-2014 season after starting her career at Oakland. Middle sister Annemarie also went from Oakland to Valpo for the 2013-14 season but sat out that year due to transfer rules. Annemarie played the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, the second of which was Meredith’s freshman year.
- The Valpo legacy within the family goes beyond the sister trio as both of her sisters have married former Valpo athletes. Elizabeth is married to former Valpo men’s basketball player Bobby Capobianco, who closed out his collegiate career with the 2013-14 season. This past summer, Annemarie married Jake Hanson, who played baseball at Valpo as recently as 2017.
- Serves as the co-President of Valpo’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSSA) on campus.
- Traveled to Ethiopia this past summer as part of Athletes in Action, a 10-day trip that sends a team of collegiate women’s basketball players from across the country to compete and train alongside Ethiopian university and professional teams. Athletes in Action is a faith-based group and the goal of the trip was to teach people about the glory of God. The players did missionary work, played against the Ethiopian national team, visited schools, attended church and shared their testimony during the 10-day stay in Africa.
- Majoring in public relations with minors in sports management and professional writing.
On the court…
- Became the first Valpo player in three years to knock down six 3-pointers in a game on Feb. 3 vs. Illinois State on her way to a career-high 22 points.
- Was one of four Valpo players in double figures with 13 points in a lopsided win over Evansville on Jan. 20.
- Tied a career high with four made 3s on Jan. 11 at UNI, sharing the team lead with 13 points.
- Saw her first action since Nov. 17 on Jan. 6 at Loyola after being sidelined by an injury. Had three points in 16 minutes in her return to the court.
- Went off for a career-high 16 points on six made field goals, also a career watermark, on Nov. 14 at Illinois. Drained four 3-pointers, matching a career high.
- Made her first career start on Nov. 7 at UIC and played a career-high 29 minutes, going 2-for-2 both from the field and from 3-point range.
- Notched a career-high 15 points and led the team in scoring in the final game of the 2016-17 season, a Horizon League Tournament matchup with Green Bay. She went 4-for-4 from 3-point range in that contest.
- Appeared in 62 games over her first three seasons.
- Graduated on Sunday, Dec. 9 with a major in biology and minor in business. Has begun her Master of Business Administration.
- Has garnered experience in her field by doing job shadows for pharmaceutical and medical device sale companies during her time on campus. She shadowed with Eli Lilly two summers ago and Stryker this past summer.
On the court…
- Incurred a season-ending injury on Jan. 27 at Missouri State.
- Dished out a season-high six assists in a win over Evansville on Jan. 20.
- Moved into the Top 10 in program history for career assists by dishing out three assists on Jan. 16 vs. Indiana State while also registering a season-high 14 points.
- Knocked down four triples on her way to a season-high 13 points on Dec. 21 vs. Bowling Green. Also dished out five assists to equal a season watermark.
- Turned in a balanced stat line of eight points, four assists, five rebounds and two steals in a win at Purdue Fort Wayne on Dec. 19.
- Equaled a career best with a game-high four steals on Nov. 26 vs. Toledo.
- Had a season-high 11 points to go along with four assists, no turnovers, two steals and two made 3s on Nov. 16 at Morehead State. Led her team in scoring for the first time since the fourth game of her collegiate career. In addition, her four assists allowed her to reach the 250-assist mark for her collegiate career, becoming just the 14th player in program history to do so.
- Had a team-high five assists on Nov. 14 at Illinois to crack to Top 15 in program history for career assists.
- Hauled in a team-high six rebounds in the season opener on Nov. 7 at UIC, leading the team in boards for the first time since March 11, 2016, when she had seven in a Horizon League Tournament game against Northern Kentucky. Started the season opener for the fourth straight season.
- Has returned to the court after suffering a season-ending injury in the second game of the 2017-2018 season.
- Enters Friday ranked tied for 15th in program history in career assists with 246, equaling former teammate Lexi Miller (2012-2016). Megan Newcomer (1996-2000) sits in 14th at 247.
- Had 134 assists during the 2016-2017 season, the seventh-most in a single season in program history.
- Has twice knocked down five 3-pointers in a single game, doing so on Nov. 28, 2015 vs. Northern Colorado and March 10, 2016 vs. Detroit.
- Member of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee
- Older sister Nicole played basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and younger sister Danielle is a sophomore on the basketball team at Concordia University, St. Paul.
- Is majoring in marketing with minors in business analytics and communication.
On the court…
- Made five 3s in a single game for the fourth time in her career and the second time this season on Feb. 8 vs. Drake. Led the team in both scoring (17) and rebounding (8) in that game, the first time she’s paced the squad in both categories in the same game in her career.
- Had her third 21-point game of the season, again matching a career high on Feb. 3 vs. Illinois State.
- Equaled a career high and set a season best with nine rebounds on Feb. 1 vs. Bradley.
- Matched a career high with 21 points on Jan. 20 vs. Evansville. She knocked down eight of her nine field-goal attempts, tying for sixth in program history for single-game field-goal percentage
- Finished three points shy of a career high with 18 on Jan. 13 at Drake. She scored 15 of those points in the second half on her way to equaling a career watermark with seven made field goals. She also set career bests in assists (4) and steals (4) in a game against a team receiving votes nationally.
- Buried five 3s on Dec. 21 vs. Bowling Green to lead the team and contribute to the team’s total of 17, which equaled a school record. That matched a career high and marked the third time in her career Hales hit five 3s in a game.
- Hit a key 3-pointer in the final minute of a four-point win at Purdue Fort Wayne on Dec. 19 to cap a 17-point output.
- Had her best day in a Valpo uniform on Dec. 2 vs. Eastern Illinois with 21 points, seven made field goals, three made 3s, seven rebounds, two assists and one turnover.
- Made her first start of the season on Nov. 26 against Toledo, marking the third straight year she has started exactly one game.
- Scored all 12 of her points in the second half to become one of four Valpo players in double figures on Nov. 14 at Illinois.
- Has been named the team’s Sixth Player of the Year each of the last two seasons.
- Appeared in all 31 games last season.
- Ranked second on the team in free-throw percentage last year at .863 and is first among returnees.
- Averaged 8.0 points per game last season, third on the team and second among returnees.
- Father Ross played football and basketball at Indiana University. He played for the Hoosiers during the 1993-1994 season, a team that was under the direction of coach Bob Knight.
- In high school, was a four-time all-conference performer in three different sports – basketball, volleyball and track and field.
- Participated in a spring tournament with the Valpo volleyball team during her freshman year when the volleyball squad was plagued by injuries and did not have enough healthy bodies to compete.
- Is on track to finish her undergraduate degree in just three years and graduate in May. Plans to remain at Valpo to play her senior season and pursue a master’s degree.
- Majoring in communications with a journalism concentration and sport management minor. Is interning in Valpo’s sports information department and has aspirations of a career in sports media or athletic communications.
On the court…
- Finished two points shy of a career high with 20 and two rebounds shy of a double-double in a Feb. 1 win over Bradley.
- Had career highs in scoring (22) and rebounding (11) while turning in Valpo’s first 20&10 game since November 2017 on Jan. 25 at Southern Illinois, her second career double-double.
- Scored in double figures for the seventh time in an eight-game span by sharing the team lead with 13 points on Jan. 11 at UNI.
- Posted a career-high 20 points to lead all scorers in a 68-64 win on Dec. 19 at Purdue Fort Wayne. She also had a game-high four steals.
- After coming close on several prior occasions, enjoyed her first career double-double on Dec. 16 vs. North Dakota State with 11 points and 10 rebounds, equaling a career best on the boards.
- Made 10 free throws on her way to a career-high 18 points on Nov. 29 at Chicago State. Finished one rebound shy of a double-double.
- Was on double-double watch in both games at the Vinewood Farm Classic, first turning in nine points and a career-high 10 rebounds on Nov. 16 at Morehead State before accumulating nine points and pulling down eight boards on Nov. 17 vs. St. Francis Brooklyn. Her 10-rebound game allowed her to become the first Valpo player with a double-figure rebounding effort this season.
- Continued her early-season surge with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting in front of numerous family members and friends while playing close to her hometown of Cissna Park on Nov. 14 at Illinois.
- Filled the stat sheet with nine points and a career-high eight rebounds in the first home start of her career on Nov. 11 vs. North Dakota.
- Poured in a career-high 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting while making her second career start on Nov. 7 at UIC. Also pulled down five rebounds and achieved a personal best in steals with four.
- Is back this season after being limited to five games in 2016-17 and 17 games in 2017-18 due to injuries.
- Received the team’s Hardest Worker Award each of the last two seasons.
- Is involved in several organizations on campus including Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Kinesiology Club and FMS research team.
- Had an internship this past summer at a gym called Elite Sport and Fitness in Gibson City, Ill.
- Has helped with her parents’ business, Illiana Insulation, a foam and coating insulation business in Cissna Park, Ill.
- Older sister Samantha played volleyball at Trinity International University and is currently an executive assistant in athletics at UMKC, where she oversees office management, student-athlete scholarships and the distribution of sponsorships and trade.
- Father Sam participated in rugby at Purdue and mother Sue played a year of basketball at Biola University in California.
- Younger sister Olivia is attending cosmetology school and younger brother Penn is a junior in high school and is into football and basketball.
- Enjoys water sports and the outdoors. Family goes camping and boating frequently over the summer. Will ski, slalom, surf and tube and also loves hiking, four wheeling and other outdoor activities.
- Made it to state in volleyball as a junior and senior in high school.
- Growing up, her favorite sport was soccer. She played travel soccer in junior high, but stopped because her high school didn’t offer soccer.
- Majoring in exercise science with plans of getting a master’s in athletic training. Minoring in human biology.
On the court…
- Swiped six steals on Feb. 8 vs. Drake, the most by a Valpo player in a single game since 2014.
- Made her first career start on Feb. 1 vs. Bradley and turned in career highs in points (21) and assists (8) while seeing 38 minutes of action.
- Led all scorers on Jan. 27 at Missouri State with a 17-point performance that included a career-high six made field goals. She matched a personal best with four made triples while finishing two points shy of a career watermark.
- Went 5-of-7 from the field to score 12 points off the bench on Jan. 18 vs. Indiana State.
- Knocked down four 3-pointers and shared the team lead with 15 points on Dec. 21 vs. Bowling Green.
- Dished out a game-high six assists on Nov. 26 vs. Toledo, setting a career watermark.
- Became just the fourth Valpo player since the 2001-02 season to average double figures over the first five games of her freshman year by turning in 10.2 points per game through the first five games this season. Joined good company in a group that also includes Meredith Hamlet (10.6 ppg, 2015), Dani Franklin (2014, 13.2) and Jamie Gutowski (Stangel) (11.2, 2002).
- After scoring 10 points on Nov. 16 at Morehead State, finished in double figures for the third time in four games on Nov. 17 vs. St. Francis Brooklyn. She racked up career highs in points (19), assists (5), made 3s (4), made field goals (5) and made free throws (5) while committing just one turnover.
- Had the first double-figure output of her collegiate career in her first home appearance, turning in 11 points while racking up six rebounds on Nov. 11 vs. North Dakota.
- Had a strong showing in her collegiate debut on Nov. 7 at UIC, racking up seven points, three steals and a team-high four assists.
- Was a four-year letter winner and a captain as a junior and senior at Hortonville High School.
- Led Hortonville to its first state tournament final four appearances in 30 years as a junior and senior.
- Won regional titles all four years of high school.
- Fab Five (Preseason Top 5 Players for Northeast Wisconsin) as a sophomore, junior and senior. All-Area First-Team selection all four years, WBCA D2 All-State First Team as a junior and senior and honorable mention as a sophomore, Associated Press Third Team All-State as a senior and honorable mention as a junior, McDonald’s All-American nominee.
- Finished as her school’s all-time leader in points, assists, steals and 3-pointers (boys and girls).
- Involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus.
- Majoring in business marketing with a minor in sports management.
- Is close friends and former AAU teammates with two other Missouri Valley Conference freshmen – Drake’s Maggie Negaard and Illinois State’s Ally Gietzel.
On the court…
- Connected on five triples on Feb. 8 vs. Drake after she had previously made no more than two 3s in a single game in her career. Scored 15 points in that game, one shy of a career watermark.
- Poured in a career-high 16 points on Jan. 20 vs. Evansville.
- Equaled a career high with 15 points to go along with a team-best six rebounds on Jan. 18 vs. Indiana State. She also matched a career best with five made field goals in a game and needed just seven shots to do so.
- Hit double figures for the second time this season with 10 points on Jan. 13 at Drake. She also led the team in rebounds with five and had a career-high four steals.
- Achieved a career high with 15 points while also blocking two shots on Dec. 19 in a win at Purdue Fort Wayne.
- Came within one rebound of a career high and set a season best on Dec. 16 vs. North Dakota State, corralling eight caroms. She also chipped in five points.
- Set a season high with eight points and matched a career best with five rebounds on Dec. 8 vs. Miami (Ohio).
- Made her first career start in the season opener on Nov. 7 at UIC, going 2-of-3 from the field for five points.
- Played in 30 games as a true freshman at Valpo.
- Scored a career-high 13 points on Jan. 26, 2018 vs. Evansville.
- Brother Wally played basketball in the NBL of Canada in 2016-17 and made the all-rookie team.
- Brother Ellwood was a captain of the basketball team and a track athlete at Valley City State University, N.D.
- Brother Henry is a former Detroit Pistons forward and Marquette standout.
- One of the most competitive sports in Ella’s home area of Northern Wisconsin is curling. Her mother is a P.E. teacher and taught curling.
On the court…
- Dished out a career-high six assists while scoring eight points and matching a career best with three steals on Jan. 13 at Drake.
- Matched a career high with 10 points while establishing a personal best with eight rebounds on Dec. 16 vs. North Dakota State.
- Was a key contributor in both of Valpo’s games at the Vinewood Farm Classic, reaching double figures for the first time in her career with 10 points on Nov. 16 at Morehead State before tossing in seven on Nov. 17 vs. St. Francis Brooklyn.
- Made her collegiate debut on Nov. 11 vs. North Dakota.
- Four-year letter winner in high school.
- Averaged 12.5 points, 4.5 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 steals as a senior.
- Led her team to a state runner-up finish in 2018. Helped Montini Catholic to a 33-2 overall record as the Broncos finished in third place in the 2017 IHSA 4A state tournament.
- Team also finished third in the 3A state tournament in 2015.
- Majoring in exercise science.
On the court…
- Saw her first game action since Nov. 14 at Illinois on Jan. 27 at Missouri State, knocking down a 3-pointer on her only field-goal attempt. She missed 15 games with an injury to her lower legs.
- Hit a buzzer-beater from nearly half court to send the Feb. 16, 2018 game against Southern Illinois to overtime. That shot was No. 9 on the next morning’s SportsCenter Top 10.
- Shattered a program-record that had stood since 1992 in her first career start by dishing out 16 assists on Dec. 15, 2017 against IU Northwest. She became the 10th player in Missouri Valley Conference history to reach 16 assists, a mark that ranks tied for sixth in the conference’s prestigious history. She also became the second player in the nation with a 16+ assist game that season.
- Loves to buy sneakers and has over 50 pairs.
- Enjoys adrenaline rush activities such as bungee jumping, free falls and parasailing.
- Uncle Kevin “Coach K” Lee is the founder of Quality Control Music, which has produced artists such as Migos, Lil Yatchy and Cardi B.
- Younger brother Donyell Meredith II is a freshman on the IU South Bend men’s basketball team.
- Majoring in healthcare leadership.
On the court…
- Registered her first career basket, rebound and block in six minutes of action on Jan. 20 vs. Evansville.
- Made her collegiate debut on Nov. 26 vs. Toledo.
- Sat out her first season on campus as a redshirt.
- Helped Herscher High School finish with a 25-2 record in her senior season.
- Played for Example Sports AAU under the direction of coach Barry Bradford, the father of Valpo men’s basketball player Micah Bradford.
- Majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry.
- Planning to go to veterinary school after finishing at Valpo with hopes of becoming a large animal vet.
- Lives on a farm.
- Scored her first career points by crashing the boards off her own 3-point miss and converting the put-back on Jan. 20 vs. Evansville. She finished that game with five points and four rebounds in only 12 minutes.
- Made her collegiate basketball debut on Dec. 19 at Purdue Fort Wayne.
- Joined the team as a walk-on on Dec. 18.
- Finished a successful four-year career on the volleyball court by earning second team all-MVC this season.
- Helped volleyball team make a run to the NIVC quarterfinals and garner the first postseason victories in program history this season.
- Accumulated 1,273 kills over her four years to rank sixth in Valpo history.
On the court…
- Out for the season with an injury.
- Appeared in 22 games and made 30 starts as a true freshman.
- Ranked fourth in The Valley in assists per game at 3.2 and second in assist to turnover ratio at 1.6 in 2017-18.
- Beyond basketball…
- Was originally a Northwest Indiana local and started her prep career with two seasons at LaPorte before moving to South Bend and playing her final two seasons at Saint Joseph, where she led her team to the 2016-17 Indiana Class 3A state title.
- Is a rare Valpo basketball player to participate in Greek Life on campus as a Chi Omega.
- Member of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
- Majoring in business management.
On the court…
- Expected to be out for the season due to an injury.
- Played in 14 games as a freshman in 2017-18 while battling injuries.
- Had a season-high seven points and went 3-for-3 shooting on Dec. 15, 2017 vs. IU Northwest.
- Mother Jennie ran track at Akron and father Tom ran track at Bowling Green. Brother Trent is currently a student at Akron.
- Majoring in health sciences with a minor in health care leadership.
- Was a straight “A” student from kindergarten through her senior year of high school.
On the court…
- Expected to be out for the season due to an injury.
- Is Valpo’s leading returning rebounder for 2018-19 at 4.5 per game.
- Ranked fourth in The Valley in blocks per game as a junior at 1.3 per contest.
- Led the team in points (11) and rebounds (7) in the final game of the season on March 9 in an MVC quarterfinal against Drake. Matched her career high in scoring in that game, and both 11-point outputs have come in conference tournament contests.
- Father Scott Morrison is a former Valparaiso men’s basketball player and played under Homer Drew from 1990-1992.
- Is majoring in finance with a minor in business analytics.
- Volunteers for an organization called CAAEL, which participates in events held for special education and at-risk students around Illinois.
On the court…
- Expected to be out for the season due to an injury.
- Played in two games in 2016-17 before missing the remainder of the season with an injury, but returned to the court to play in 28 games in 2017-18.
- Shattered her previous career high in rebounding prior to halftime and had nine boards (eight in the first half) to lead the team on Jan. 21, 2018 at Southern Illinois.
- Is involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCS), Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Bioengineering Club.
- Majoring in biomedical engineering with a minor in Spanish.
- In a human movement research lab.
- Interned with her knee surgeon this past summer, shadowing ACL surgeries and seeing patients in the office.
- Attended the annual American Society of Biomechanics Meeting this past summer and presented research.
- Volunteers at dog shelters.
- Her mother played volleyball at Youngstown State and her aunt did so at Cleveland State. Profitt, her mother and her aunt have all played in the Horizon League at one point in their careers.
- Brother is a junior in high school and plays varsity football and basketball. He broke the school’s single-season record for receiving touchdowns this fall.
On the court…
- Started her college career at Denver, where she shot 44 percent from 3-point range and averaged 6.4 points per game in 2017-2018.
- Has to sit out this season due to transfer rules.
- Poured in 34 points on Dec. 3, 2017, helping Denver to an 80-73 victory over Northern Arizona. The 34-point output ranked tied for fourth in program history and was the highest single-game total by a Pioneer in 17 years.
- Was prep and AAU teammates with Valpo’s Caitlin Morrison.
- Majoring in psychology.
- Father played football at Grand Valley State.
- Was able to share a season of varsity basketball with her sisters Carly and Catie when she was a freshman in high school.