Valparaiso (2-1, 0-0 MVC)
Game #4 - Tuesday, Dec. 8 - 4:30 p.m. CT
at Miami [Ohio] (0-1, 0-0 MAC)
Millett Hall (9,200) - Oxford, Ohio
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: With back-to-back wins over Big Ten programs in the bag, the Valpo women’s basketball team closes out a stretch of four straight road games to open the 2020-21 season on Tuesday afternoon as it travels to Oxford, Ohio to face Miami (Ohio). Please note tip time has been pushed back 90 minutes from what was originally scheduled.
Previously: It might seem like déjà vu, but this was real life — Wednesday’s win apparently felt so good for the Valpo women’s basketball team that they decided to do it again Sunday afternoon. For the second time in five days, Valpo went on the road to a Big Ten team and came away victorious, this time taking down Purdue in West Lafayette by a final score of 52-47. Senior Grace White came up with key baskets on back-to-back possessions in the final 75 seconds after Purdue had cut the lead to one point to help secure the win.
Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN3
Radio: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)
Live Stats/Streaming Audio: Available via ValpoAthletics.com
Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans (27-37) is in her third season as head coach of the Valpo women’s basketball program in 2020-21. Evans led the Valpo program to a remarkable season across the board in 2019-20, one that concluded among the nation’s top turnarounds from the season before. Valpo posted a 17-12 record in Evans’ second season at the helm, the 17 wins the most by a Valpo team since the 2006-07 campaign and the 10th-most in a single season in program history. Valpo improved its record by 10.5 games over the previous season in 2019-20, tied for the sixth-best improvement in Division I.
Series Notes: Miami has won all 10 previous matchups between the two programs. The two teams met five consecutive years from 2000-2004 before the series took a 10-year hiatus. They then met four out of five years from 2014 through 2018, most recently Dec. 8, 2018 at the ARC - a 68-47 win for the RedHawks. Ella Ellenson started that game for Valpo and finished with eight points and four rebounds, while Shay Frederick and Ilysse Pitts both came off the bench in that contest as well.
- Valpo has been picked to finish in seventh place in the MVC preseason poll, totaling 176 points.
- Valpo is in its fourth season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference in 2020-21.
- The Valley was ranked eighth nationally in conference RPI in 2019-20.
...looking back at last year
- Valpo finished the 2019-20 campaign with a 17-12 overall record, a 10.5-game improvement over the previous year ‑ good for sixth-best nationally.
- Valpo jumped 172 spots in the RPI from the previous year, the largest leap for any D-I team in the nation.
- Valpo’s 17 wins marked the most by a Valpo team since 2006-07.
- The Brown and Gold finished in sixth place in the MVC standings with a 9-9 record - the program’s best finish since joining The Valley.
- The .500 record in conference play was the program’s first since 2008-09.
- Valpo closed the regular season strong, going 6-3 in the second half of MVC play.
- Grace Hales earned Honorable Mention All-Conference accolades, while Carie Weinman was named to the MVC All-Defensive Team.
- As a team, Valpo set the program’s single-season record for free throw percentage (.792), while Hales broke the program’s individual single-season record in the category (.890).
- A 3-pointer from Carie Weinman with 4:03 to play pushed Valpo’s advantage to double figures for the first time at 47-37.
- Purdue came back with seven straight points in just 63 seconds to make it a one-possession game, and a basket by the Boilermakers with 1:28 to play made it a 47-46 game.
- Valpo came down on its next possession and Weinman hit Grace White for a layup with 1:12 to go to push the lead to 49-46.
- Purdue missed on its next trip, and again it was White making the big play in a close game, this time getting her defender to the ground and driving for an easy layup with 44 seconds to play to make it a five-point margin.
- Valpo forced four Purdue misses from the floor over the final 44 seconds, with a free throw in the final seconds accounting for the only point the Boilermakers scored in the final minute.
- White got out to a strong start to the game, scoring seven first-quarter points as Valpo led 11-4 at the end of one. The Brown and Gold held Purdue scoreless over the final 6:59 of the period.
- Purdue scored the first four points of the second quarter to start a period which would be close throughout. Valpo eventually went the last 4:21 of the quarter without scoring, and Purdue took an 18-17 lead into halftime on a putback just before the first half buzzer.
-An 8-2 spurt over the first 2:16 of the second half — a stretch which included 3-pointers by Weinman and White — gave Valpo the lead for good.
- White again paced Valpo, matching her career high with a game-best 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting. The senior also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
- Cara VanKempen joined White in double figures, scoring a career-high 10 points — all of which came in the second half.
- Valpo shot 37.7% (20-of-53) from the floor and connected on seven 3-pointers, while Purdue shot just 27.3% and was 0-for-15 from behind the 3-point line.
- After getting outscored 40-22 in the paint at Illinois, Valpo held a two-point advantage (26-24) in the paint Sunday versus Purdue.
- Trailing by five entering the fourth quarter, Valpo surrendered the first basket of the period to the Illini, but bounced back with six points over its next two trips, and eventually tied the game on a 3-pointer by Cara VanKempen with 6:41 left.
- For a five-minute stretch after VanKempen’s triple, just three total points were scored — all of which went on Illinois’ side of the scoreboard as the Illini led 59-56 with under two minutes to play.
- Perhaps the biggest basket of the game came from Grace White, as on Valpo’s first possession under two minutes, she drove down the left side and finished up and over a pair of Illinois defenders from the block to make it a one-point game.
- Illinois missed two shots on its next possession, and Valpo called timeout after rebounding the second miss to advance the ball into the frontcourt with 49.3 seconds to go. The inbounds went to White, whose attempted drive on the right side was cut off. But Caitlin Morrison flashed down the center of the paint, and White found her with a perfect pass for an easy inside bucket with 42.8 seconds remaining to put Valpo ahead 60-59.
- Illinois missed three shots over its next two trips, with Valpo going 2-for-4 at the foul line to extend the lead to three points with 10 seconds left. Illinois’ final 3-point attempt in the waning seconds was off the mark and the rebound bounced around until the final buzzer, securing the win.
- After trailing by seven points after 10 minutes, Valpo outscored the Illini 25-16 in the second quarter to lead 31-29 at halftime.
- Illinois scored five points in the final minute of the third quarter to pull out to a 50-45 lead with 10 minutes to play.
- For the second straight game, White paced Valpo on the offensive end, scoring a game-high 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting. She also led Valpo with nine rebounds and dished out five assists as well.
- Carie Weinman joined White in double figures with 16 points, including a 4-of-6 mark from behind the 3-point line.
- Morrison and VanKempen added nine points apiece. Seven of Morrison’s nine points came in the final quarter, while VanKempen knocked down three triples for her nine points to match a career high. The sophomore also set a new career best with six rebounds.
- After going just 6-of-30 from the 3-point line in the season opener, Valpo enjoyed a massive edge from deep Wednesday. The Brown and Gold were 10-of-26 (38.5%) from downtown while holding Illinois to just 1-of-16 3-point shooting.
- Valpo finally opens at home this Saturday, Dec. 12, as it welcomes Western Michigan to the ARC.
- The Brown and Gold will remain at home for a second straight game, a matinee against Xavier next Wednesday, Dec. 16.
...on the road
- Valpo is slated to play five true road games out of its seven contests in the nonconference schedule. Valpo is currently 2-1 on the road this year following the win at Purdue.
- Valpo went 9-5 in true road games in 2019-20, including a 4-2 mark on the road in nonconference play.
- The nine true road wins marked the most road victories in a single season since the 2001-02 team won nine true road games - two of which came in postseason play in the WNIT.
- Miami enters Tuesday’s game 0-1 on the year, losing to Notre Dame 88-68 on Nov. 29. The RedHawks have had two games either postponed or canceled to date.
- The RedHawks were picked to finish in ninth place in the MAC preseason poll.
- Sophomore guard Peyton Scott is the leading returning scorer from a team which went 11-20 overall and 4-14 in the MAC last year, as she averaged 12.5 points/game.
A B1G Victory...and Another
- Sunday’s win was the second win in program history over Purdue, and the first since dropping the nationally-ranked Boilermakers at the ARC on Dec. 10, 2008.
- Wednesday’s win at Illinois marked Valpo’s first-ever win over the Illini, as the Brown and Gold were previously 0-4 in the series - all four losses coming by at least 19 points.
- Valpo defeated multiple Big Ten teams in the same season for the first time in program history.
- The victory at Illinois was Valpo’s first over a Big Ten team — or any Power Five program, for that matter — since taking down Indiana 64-52 at the ARC to open the 2012-13 campaign.
- After entering last week with just one road win all-time against Big Ten opponents, Valpo now has three such victories.
Taking Down Power Conference Teams
- This year’s squad becomes the third team in program history to defeat two power conference teams in the same season.
- The 2001-02 team beat Wake Forest and Michigan, while the 2008-09 squad defeated Florida State in addition to Purdue.
- This year’s team is the first to earn two true road wins over power conference programs, however.
- In all, the wins over Illinois and Purdue were Valpo’s ninth and 10th victories over a power conference program in team history - see page five of the notes for a table of all 10 wins.
White Leads the Way
- It was senior Grace White leading the way in both victories last week, joining some elite company in the history of Valpo women’s basketball.
- White led Valpo in scoring in both games, becoming just the second player in program history to lead the team in scoring in multiple power conference wins - Agnieszka Kulaga led Valpo with 22 points in the 2008 win over Florida State and 17 points in the 2008 Purdue win.
- White also led Valpo in rebounding in both games, making her one of two players in program history to lead the team on the glass in multiple power conference wins - Tamra Braun had 10 boards apiece in the 2005 win over Northwestern and the 2004 win at Washington State.
Close Games Go Our Way
- Edging out the Illini by three points and beating the Boilermakers by five points continues a trend under Mary Evans for Valpo to excel in tight games.
- Since Evans’ arrival, Valpo is 11-5 in games decided by five or fewer points.
- The Brown and Gold were 4-2 last year and 5-3 in 2018-19 in close games.
- With the graduation of its two leading scorers from last year’s team, Valpo would need players to step up and fill the void.
- So far, senior Grace White has done exactly that for this year’s squad.
- White opened the season with a team-high 15 points, six rebounds, four blocked shots and four steals at BGSU, and followed with a team-best 17 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists in the Illinois win.
- Last time out at Purdue, White matched her career high with 20 points, made a career-high nine baskets (9-14) and led Valpo with eight rebounds.
- For her performances against Illinois and Purdue, White was named MVC Player of the Week and College Sports Madness National High-Major Player of the Week.
- In fact, White has now led Valpo in scoring in five consecutive games dating back to last year, as she closed last season with 18 points at Missouri State and 16 points at Southern Illinois.
- The stretch of five straight games leading the team in scoring is the most for a Valpo player since current assistant coach Dani Franklin paced the Brown and Gold five consecutive times from Dec. 18, 2017 to Jan. 5, 2018.
Life on the Road
- Valpo is in the midst of a four-game stretch of road contests to open the 2020-21 campaign before finally opening up at home on Dec. 12.
- This marks the second straight season that Valpo has played four straight away from home to open the year, as last year’s squad had one neutral-site game followed by three true road games.
- It matches Valpo’s longest stretch of games away from home to open a season since beginning the 2007-08 season with six consecutive games away from the ARC.
Big Ten Challenges
- Of Valpo’s seven scheduled nonconference games, three are against Big Ten programs - Illinois, Purdue and Wisconsin.
- Valpo has played three nonconference games versus Big Ten teams in Mary Evans’ first two full seasons - Illinois in 2018-19; Ohio State and Northwestern in 2019-20.
- Should all three games be played as scheduled, it would be the first time in program history Valpo has faced three Big Ten opponents in a single season.
- The games at Illinois and Purdue came back to back, the first consecutive games against Big Ten foes for Valpo since opening the 2006-07 season at Northwestern and Indiana.
Just Win, Baby, Win
- 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.
- Last year’s squad 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 last year was sixth-best nationally, while the program’s 172-spot jump in the RPI was the largest leap in the nation.
- Valpo’s 17 wins made it the program’s winningest campaign since 2006-07.
- The wins 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 9-9 in MVC play – its first .500 or better record in league play since 2008-09 – in a conference which finished the season ranked eighth nationally in RPI.
- The 9-9 mark in MVC play was a six-win improvement over the previous year.
- Per WarrenNolan.com, Valpo’s record in games outside of quadrant 1 opponents was an impressive 17-4.
It’s Been Awhile
- With the start date for the 2020-21 season pushed back by the NCAA, Valpo ended up going 267 days between games.
- Valpo’s last game of last season came on March 7, a 69-58 win at Southern Illinois, and the Brown and Gold returned to the court Nov. 29 at BGSU.
- The Nov. 29 season opener was the latest for the Valpo women’s basketball program since the 1992-93 team opened on Dec. 1 against Western Michigan.
- Valpo’s scheduled home opener is slated for Dec. 12 versus Western Michigan, which would be the program’s latest home opener since 1994-95, when the Brown and Gold hosted Aurora on Dec. 20.
Threes and Thieves
- As head coach Mary Evans has implemented her preferred style of play on both ends of the court through her first two years at the helm, Valpo fans have come to know that they’ll see 3-pointers and they’ll see steals when the team takes the floor.
- Valpo paced the Valley last season in both 3-pointers/game (8.6) and steals/game (10.3).
- Valpo finished last year ranked 14th nationally in 3-pointers/game and 27th in steals/game.
- Last year’s squad made 250 3-pointers, second-most in a single season in program history - trailing only the 276 triples by the 2018-19 team.
- In Evans’ first two seasons, Valpo has connected on 14 or more 3-pointers in a single game five times after doing so just eight times total before her arrival.
- Valpo tallied double digits in steals 16 times last year, highlighted by a 20-steal performance at Evansville - the program’s highest single-game steals total since 2003.
- With 300 steals, last year’s team 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.
- The 2019-20 Valpo squad became the first team in program history to trot out the same starting five in every game: Shay Frederick, Carie Weinman, Grace Hales, Addison Stoller and Caitlin Morrison.
- Valpo had three previous seasons (2007-08, 1997-98, 1983-84) where four players started every game of the season.
- Stoller graduated having started the final 61 games of her career in a row, while Hales closed her career with 56 consecutive starts.
- Three of the starters are back this year. Frederick has made 45 straight starts dating back to the middle of her freshman year, while Weinman and Morrison have now made 32 consecutive starts. Morrison owns a total of 86 starts during her time at Valpo.