Valparaiso (7-3, 0-0 MVC)
Game #11 - Monday, December 30 - 6 p.m.
at Eastern Illinois (6-4, 0-0 OVC)
Lantz Arena (5,400) - Charleston, Ill.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: Non-conference action comes to a close for the Valpo women’s basketball team on Monday evening with its final game of the 2019 calendar year, as the Brown and Gold take to the court at Eastern Illinois. A win Monday would not only extend Valpo’s winning streak to seven straight games, but also would finalize the best pre-conference record in program history.
Previously: The only drama at the ARC Saturday afternoon was how large the final margin of victory would be, as Valpo led visiting Chicago State by 22 points after one quarter and cruised from there to a 95-49 win over the Cougars. The victory was Valpo’s sixth straight win, matching the program’s longest winning streak since 2002, and featured career-best efforts from juniors Marlee Profitt and Caitlin Morrison.
Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN+
Live Stats: Available via ValpoAthletics.com
Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans (15-27) is in her second season as head coach of the Valpo women’s basketball program in 2019-20. Evans’ impact on the program was immediately clear in her first year, as Valpo shattered its previous program record of 224 made 3-pointers in a single season by knocking down 276 trifectas - a mark which ranks seventh in MVC history. Valpo ranked among the top-25 nationally in both total 3-pointers and 3-pointers per game in Evans’ first season at the helm of the Valpo program.
Series Notes: Valpo has controlled the all-time series against Eastern Illinois, entering Monday night with an 11-4 advantage in the series. The Brown and Gold have won seven straight against the Panthers - four in Valpo and three in Charleston - dating back to 1996. Monday’s meeting marks the fourth straight season the two squads have met in non-conference play, and Valpo has won each of the previous three. Last year, Valpo edged EIU at the ARC by a 62-60 final, led by a career-best 21 points from Grace Hales. Meredith Hamlet added 14 points and Addison Stoller 10 points and eight rebounds in the win.
- Valpo has been selected to finish in eighth place in the MVC preseason poll, totaling 126 points.
- Valpo is in its third season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference in 2019-20.
...looking back at last year
- Valpo posted an 8-24 record last season in head coach Mary Evans’ first year at the helm and went 3-15 in MVC play.
- Last year’s Valpo squad was ravaged by injuries, many times dressing just nine scholarship players.
- Valpo shattered its program record for 3-pointers in a season in 2018-19, knocking down 276 triples to race past the previous record of 224.
- Valpo also moved into seventh place in a single season in MVC history in 3-pointers made.
- Shay Frederick was named to the MVC All-Freshman Team, while Meredith Hamlet was an Honorable Mention MVC Scholar-Athlete.
...versus Chicago State
- Valpo never trailed on Saturday, as a 3-pointer from senior Grace Hales gave Valpo the lead for good 57 seconds into the game.
- CSU came back with a basket on its next possession before Valpo rattled off 13 straight points over a stretch of 2:40. Junior Grace White had a 3-point play during the run, while junior Caitlin Morrison and sophomore Carie Weinman both had 3-pointers, the latter capping the spurt and giving Valpo a 16-2 lead 4:18 into the game.
- Valpo’s lead extended to 20 points for the first time with 1:34 to play in the opening quarter, as White knocked down the team’s fourth 3-pointer of the period. The advantage was 29-7 at the end of one.
- It was a 47-19 game at halftime, and Valpo’s lead surpassed 30 points for good on a 3-pointer by Hales 4:16 into the second half. The lead reached as many as 37 points in the third quarter, and Valpo entered the final period with a 68-32 advantage.
- The Cougars scored the first basket of the fourth quarter, but Valpo held CSU scoreless over the next four-plus minutes and reeled off 17 consecutive points in that span.
- Offensively, Marlee Profitt led the way, going 7-of-8 from the field for a career-high 17 points – easily surpassing her previous best of 11 points. She also paced Valpo with eight rebounds in the win, a season high and just one off her career best in that category.
- Morrison tied career highs with 11 points and four steals, and set a new personal best with six blocked shots - tied for the third-most in a single game in program history.
- Valpo’s balance was at the forefront on the offensive end, as all 12 players who saw action scored at least two points and 10 of those netted at least five points.
- Valpo finished the game 34-of-63 (54%) from the floor and went 10-of-24 (41.7%) from deep, the fifth time this year the Brown and Gold has made double-digit 3-pointers in a game. Meanwhile, the defense held Chicago State to just 25% (17-of-68) shooting and the Cougars went 0-of-8 from downtown.
- The 46-point margin of victory was Valpo’s largest since defeating IU Kokomo 102-47 on Nov. 21, 2016, and the largest against a Division I opponent since taking down Youngstown State 80-28 on Feb. 13, 2010.
...versus Morehead State
- Valpo claimed the lead for good as it held Morehead State scoreless for a stretch of 9:03 on either side of halftime, turning a 25-23 deficit into a 31-25 lead.
- Valpo held a six-point lead at 48-42 past the midway point of the fourth quarter, but saw the advantage sliced quickly to one point as the Eagles closed within 48-47 with 3:27 to play.
- Junior Grace White connected on two free throws on the offensive end to push the lead back to three points, and then Addison Stoller capped an 18-point night with her final basket, coming with 1:19 to play to make it 52-47 Valpo.
- Morehead State split a pair of free throws on its next possession, but also ran 25 seconds off the clock in the process to get it down to a four-point game. Valpo then ran nearly the entire shot clock before losing possession, but the Eagles immediately turned the ball back over to Valpo with 20 seconds to go.
- Not yet in the bonus, Valpo ran another eight seconds before sophomore Shay Frederick was sent to the foul line where she split a pair.
- MSU’s Breuna Jackson converted a 3-point play with 5.8 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 53-51, but Weinman stepped up as she was fouled after the inbounds and made two free throws with 4.7 seconds to play to make it a two-possession game. The Eagles scored a basket with one second to play, but Valpo was able to inbound the ball and run out the clock.
- Much like in the UIC win, the Valpo defensive effort stood out in this win. Valpo limited Morehead State to 38.8% shooting from the floor, including just 4-of-21 from 3-point range, and forced 22 turnovers by the Eagles.
- Stoller led the way offensively for Valpo, finishing with 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 from the foul line.
- The MVC slate opens up at the ARC on Friday, Jan. 3 as Valpo welcomes Southern Illinois to town.
- The opening weekend of conference play concludes with a Sunday afternoon matinee against nationally-ranked Missouri State.
...on the road
- Valpo is 3-2 in true road games this year, most recently taking down Detroit Mercy in the fifth of six true road non-conference games back on Dec. 5.
- The 19-point margin of victory at Detroit Mercy was Valpo’s largest road victory since a 66-41 win at Youngstown State on Jan. 14, 2010.
- The last time before this season the Brown and Gold won multiple non-conference games by 10 or more points came way back in 2003-04.
- This year’s team has already surpassed last year’s total of road wins, as the 2018-19 squad posted a 2-12 record in true road games last season in Coach Evans’ first season at the helm.
- In fact, this year’s squad is now just one shy of matching the program’s highest total of road wins in a season over the last decade, as the 2017-18 and 2011-12 teams won four road games apiece.
- Eastern Illinois enters Monday’s game at 6-4 overall, most recently splitting a pair of games at the Compass Tournament with a win over Western Illinois and a loss to Northern Illinois.
- The Panthers are 2-2 this year at Lantz Arena, with both losses coming to MVC teams - Indiana State and Loyola.
- Abby Wahl leads EIU, averaging 14.4 points and six rebounds per game.
- Karle Pace (12.9 ppg) and Taylor Steele (11.4 ppg) also score in double figures as the Panthers average 66 points per game and out-score their opponents by an average of 9.5 points per game.
The Streak Continues
- Valpo’s win over Chicago State extended its winning streak to six consecutive games - the longest current winning streak among MVC teams. It is the 11th winning streak of six or more games in program history.
- Valpo last won six straight contests Feb. 12-March 3, 2007. That is also the program’s only other winning streak of more than five games since the 2001-02 team won 10 straight Jan. 28-March 4, 2002.
- With a win on Monday, Valpo would have just the seventh winning streak of seven or more straight games in program history.
Best 10-Game Start
- Valpo’s current six-game winning streak has pushed its record to 7-3 through 10 games, a mark which matches the best record through 10 games in program history.
- The 1991-92 squad is the only other team in program history to own a 7-3 record through 10 games – that team eventually improved to 9-3 before suffering its fourth loss of the season.
A Month of Winning
- It’s been over a month on the calendar since Valpo last came out on the wrong side of the final score, as its last loss - at Northwestern - came back on Nov. 21.
- The last time Valpo spanned a month between losses came back in 2007-08, as that season’s team fell at Notre Dame on Dec. 12 and then did not lose again until a game at Loyola on Jan. 12.
- Looking ahead, with a win on Monday, Valpo could close the month of December with a perfect 5-0 mark, which would be just the third perfect month in program history.
- Valpo posted a 7-0 record in February 2002 and an 8-0 mark in January 1998.
Defense Stands Out
- By limiting Chicago State to 49 points, Valpo also extended to five straight games its streak of holding opponents to under 60 points.
- The aforementioned six-game winning streak in 2007 was also the last time Valpo’s defense was that stifling for five consecutive games.
- Each of Valpo’s last three opponents have scored 53 or fewer points, the first time that has happened since Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2011.
- The 37 points Valpo surrendered to UIC were the seventh-fewest given up by a Valpo squad in a single game in program history.
- It was Valpo’s best defensive performance on the scoreboard since giving up just 32 points at Northern Kentucky on Feb. 11, 2016. It also marked Valpo’s fewest points allowed against a non-conference Division I opponent in program history.
- The Valpo defense forced 29 UIC turnovers in that win, the most by a Valpo opponent since the Crusaders forced Wright State into 31 miscues on Jan. 8, 2009.
- Valpo has forced 20 or more turnovers five times in the season’s first nine games, including each of the last four (25 at UDM, 29 vs. UIC, 22 vs. MSU, 23 vs. CSU). The last time Valpo forced 20+ turnovers in four straight games came Jan. 19-31, 2004.
- Chicago State was 0-for-8 from 3-point range last time out, the third Valpo opponent this year to go scoreless from the 3-point line (NDSU 0-for-14; UIC 0-for-7). Prior to this year, the last time a Valpo opponent went scoreless from 3-point range was FIU in November of 2013.
Morrison’s Awesome Afternoon
- It’s unusual for a player to have a career game on both ends of the court in the same content, but that’s exactly what redshirt junior Caitlin Morrison did Saturday in the win over Chicago State.
- Offensively, Morrison went 5-of-7 from the floor for 11 points to tie her career high in the scoring column.
- On the defensive end, Morrison tallied four steals to tie a career best as well.
- But that wasn’t even her biggest defensive impact, as Morrison ended the win with six blocked shots to set a career high.
- Morrison’s six rejections were not only a Valpo season high and tied an MVC season best, but it also tied for the third-most blocks in a single game in program history.
- Only a pair of efforts of nine and seven blocks by Michelle Mader in 1992 surpassed Morrison’s total Saturday.
- The six rejections bumped Morrison’s career total to 65, enough to crack Valpo’s career top-10 in the category as well.
- It seems simple enough - if you hit a higher percentage of your shots, you’ll likely win.
- This year’s team has ended with a better shooting percentage than its opponents in eight of the season’s first 10 games and is 7-1 in those games.
- This comes after a 2018-19 campaign in which Valpo held a better shooting percentage than its opponent just five times in 32 games.
- Valpo went 10-of-24 (41.7%) from 3-point range in the win over Chicago State, its fifth time reaching double figures in 3-pointers made this season.
- Valpo has won all five times it has hit 10 3-pointers, and also owns a win when making nine triples.
- On the flip side, Valpo connected on just two triples (2-for-17) in the win over MSU, its first victory when hitting two or fewer 3-pointers since going 2-for-13 from deep in a 68-50 win over Fort Wayne on Dec. 21, 2017.
Weinman Earns Award
- Sophomore Carie Weinman was tabbed the MVC Newcomer of the Week on Dec. 2 after scoring a game-high 20 points the previous week in the win at Toledo.
- 18 of Weinman’s points came from behind the 3-point line, as she connected on 6-of-8 from deep - tied for the sixth-best single-game 3-point percentage (minimum 7 attempts) in program history and the best percentage by a Valpo player since 2011.
- Weinman scored 11 of her 20 points in the third quarter, helping turn a one-point halftime deficit into a nine-point lead with 10 minutes to play.
- Weinman is Valpo’s first Newcomer of the Week honoree since joining the MVC, and only the second weekly honoree in the Valley overall for Valpo, as Meredith Hamlet earned Player of the Week accolades on Dec. 3, 2018.
- Valpo took full advantage of the chances it had this year to avenge defeats from last season’s non-conference slate.
- Six games on this year’s non-conference schedule were against teams the Crusaders lost to last year, and Valpo went 5-1 in those games - defeating North Dakota State, Bowling Green, Toledo, UIC and Morehead State, while dropping a two-point decision at North Dakota.
- Valpo improved its scoring margin in those six contests by an average of 14.7 points/game.
- Valpo tested itself in the non-conference schedule with four matchups against programs which appeared in the postseason a year ago.
- Valpo opened the season against Ohio State (WNIT) and also played at Northwestern, a WNIT finalist, in the early going.
- Valpo’s pre-Thanksgiving win at Toledo came against a program which also advanced to the second round of the 2019 WNIT, and most recently, the Brown and Gold defeated Morehead State, which also was a second round WNIT team last year.
- The four contests against postseason teams from a season ago set the stage for an MVC slate which features two matchups apiece against three postseason teams last year: Missouri State (NCAA Sweet 16), Drake (NCAA) and UNI (WNIT).