Valparaiso (4-2, 0-0 MVC)
Game #7 - Sunday, Dec. 20 - 2 p.m.
at Wisconsin (2-2, 0-2 Big Ten)
Kohl Center (17,142) - Madison, Wis.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The abbreviated nonconference slate comes to a close for the Valpo women’s basketball team on Sunday afternoon with a trip to Madison, Wis. to take on the Badgers of Wisconsin. Valpo is in search of its third win versus a Big Ten opponent this season.
Previously: Another day, another win over a power conference program for the Valpo women’s basketball team, as the Brown and Gold used a big first-half run to take control against Big East foe Xavier Wednesday afternoon at the ARC and then held off a rally from the Musketeers down the stretch to win, 88-83, thanks in large part to a clutch 3-pointer from senior Caitlin Morrison in the final minute. Carie Weinman (26 points) and Grace White (23 points) both set new respective bests in the scoring column during their time at Valpo.
Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: BTN+
Radio: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)
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Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans (29-38) 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: Sunday is just the second meeting in the all-time series between Valpo and Wisconsin, and the first since December 1988. That matchup saw the Badgers emerge victors by a final score of 79-52, thanks in large part to 45 Valpo turnovers.
- 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).
- Valpo got off to a slow start offensively Wednesday, scoring just one field goal in the first six minutes of the contest as Xavier pulled out to a 14-2 lead.
- But like flipping a switch, the offense got hot really quick. In all, Valpo scored on seven of its last eight possessions of the first period in a 17-2 run over the final 3:47 of the quarter to pull ahead 19-16 at the end of one.
- The quarter break did nothing to slow the offense down. Carie Weinman scored baskets on each of Valpo’s first three possessions in the second quarter to start a stretch of seven straight trips with baskets to open the period.
- The run closed just as it opened — with a 3-point play by Grace White to extend the lead to 37-20.
- Valpo outscored Xavier 18-4 over the first 4:09 of the second quarter, making it a 35-6 run over 7:56 spanning the two periods which saw the Brown and Gold score 14 times in a 15-possession span.
- The lead remained in double digits for the remainder of the second quarter, with Valpo eventually carrying a 41-29 advantage into the locker room.
- Xavier pulled to within eight points halfway through the third period, but five straight points from Weinman and a pair of free throws by White comprised a quick 7-0 spurt to push the lead back to 15 points. The advantage was 15 at the end of the period as well, 66-51, thanks to a Frederick layup at the buzzer.
- The lead reached its apex at 18 early in the fourth quarter and was still at 14 (81-67) with 4:03 to play. But Xavier scored 10 straight points to pull within 81-77 with 1:39 to play, and after Valpo split a pair of free throws, got a basket with 56 seconds left to make it a one-possession game at 82-79.
- But Valpo made sure Xavier never got the ball back with a chance to tie the game. After running down the shot clock on an iso play, Shay Frederick found Caitlin Morrison behind the 3-point line on the left wing and the senior buried the triple to push the lead back to six points with 33.2 seconds remaining. Xavier would get no closer than four points the rest of the way.
- Wednesday’s win was the first in program history over Xavier. The Musketeers had won each of the prior eight meetings between the two schools, including seven wins by double figures.
- For the third straight game, it was Weinman leading the way in the scoring column, as she finished with a game-best 26 points — the second consecutive outing she has bested her previous best in a Valpo uniform.
- The junior went 8-of-15 from the field and 8-of-10 from the foul line while also tying for team-high honors with five rebounds and adding a pair of steals.
- Not to be outdone, White also set her new high in a Valpo uniform with 23 points. Most of White’s damage was done from the foul line, where she set a career best with 14 made free throws — tied for third-most in a game by an individual in program history and the most by a Valpo player since February 1995.
...versus Western Michigan
- Valpo scored 11 straight points — five of which came courtesy of Weinman — following WMU’s first point to take an 11-1 lead at the first media timeout. The Brown and Gold held the Broncos without a field goal for the first 6:29 of the game.
- WMU closed to within six twice late in the first quarter, but in the final 63 seconds, Carie Weinman got a steal and fast-break layup, followed by a 3-pointer on Valpo’s next possession to push the advantage to 18-7 at the end of 10 minutes.
- Weinman’s hot hand continued into the second quarter, as she connected on two 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the period to push the lead to 24-7 and force a timeout by WMU. At that point, Weinman already had 16 points, just 12 minutes into the contest.
- Caitlin Morrison scored five points of her own following the timeout as the lead broke into the 20s, and when Leah Earnest got a put-back basket with 6:09 left in the first half, Valpo had scored 18 straight over a span of seven minutes and enjoyed a 31-7 lead.
- WMU had a scoring drought of 7:32 spanning the two quarters and went 9:23 between field goals.
- The Broncos did score seven straight points late in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 19 points, but a layup on the break following a steal for Shay Frederick and a last-second layup by Morrison gave Valpo a 38-15 lead at intermission.
- Western Michigan would get no closer than the halftime deficit the rest of the way, while Valpo’s lead reached an apex of 32 points at 63-31 late in the third quarter on a triple by Frederick.
- Weinman was spectacular, going 9-of-12 from the field, including a perfect 5-of-5 mark from the 3-point line, to finish with a game-high 24 points.
- Weinman’s nine made field goals also set a new personal best at Valpo. She also racked up four steals on the defensive end to lead all players — the fourth time already this season she has picked up four steals in a game.
- Meanwhile, Morrison surpassed her career best as well. The senior poured in 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. Morrison also matched her career high by pulling down 10 rebounds to finish with the first double-double of her career.
- Valpo outrebounded WMU, 41-34 — the first time this season Valpo has outrebounded its opponent.
- Valpo finished the game shooting 47.4% from the field and was 11-of-33 from the 3-point line, setting a season high for 3-pointers made. Meanwhile, it held WMU to just 25.5% shooting overall and a 4-of-19 mark from deep.
- The Brown and Gold racked up 12 steals as a team, the second time this season they’ve reached double figures in the category. In total, Valpo scored 27 points off 19 WMU turnovers.
- Following a break for Christmas, the MVC slate gets underway with back-to-back games at Illinois State Jan. 1-2.
- Valpo opens its home conference schedule with games versus UNI Jan. 7-8.
...on the road
- Sunday’s game is the fifth true road game out of Valpo’s seven contests in the nonconference schedule. Valpo is currently 2-2 on the road this year, with its most recent road game being its loss at Miami (Ohio).
- 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.
- Wisconsin enters Sunday’s game at 2-2 overall this year and 0-2 in Big Ten play. The Badgers most recently took the court this past Sunday, beating North Dakota 80-60.
- The Badgers posted a 12-19 overall record last year and finished 3-15 in the Big Ten.
- Two of Wisconsin’s top three scorers from last year’s team - Sydney Hilliard and Imani Lewis - return this season and are averaging a combined 35.5 points and 15.5 rebounds per game to date.
A B1G Victory...and Another
- The Dec. 6 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.
- The 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 the season with just one road win all-time against Big Ten opponents, Valpo now has three such victories.
- As of the end of play Thursday, B1G teams owned a 29-4 record in home nonconference games this year - Valpo is responsible for two of the three losses.
...and Then a Big Win
- Saturday saw Valpo roll to an easy win over Western Michigan, as the Brown and Gold led by double figures for the final 31 minutes en route to the 24-point win.
- The 24-point margin of victory was Valpo’s largest over a MAC school since defeating WMU 88-54 way back in December 1996.
Erasing Double-Digit Deficits
- Wednesday against Xavier, Valpo found itself down by as many as 12 points in the first quarter before eventually earning the win.
- It marks the seventh time in Mary Evans’ tenure as head coach that Valpo has erased a double-figure deficit in a victory - last year’s team did so four times, while the 2018-19 team did so twice.
- The most impressive part of Tuesday was how quickly Valpo erased the deficit and turned it into a double-digit lead. It took just 2:19 to turn the 12-point deficit into a tie, and just 3:24 more to pull ahead by double figures.
Taking Down Power Five Teams
- This year’s squad becomes the third team in program history to defeat two teams from Power Five conferences 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 Five programs, however.
- In all, the wins over Illinois and Purdue were Valpo’s ninth and 10th victories over Power Five programs in team history - see page five of the notes for a table of all 10 wins.
- Wednesday’s win over Xavier was the ninth in program history against a current Big East program, but victories over Butler were responsible for the other eight wins.
Weinman Goes Off
- Junior Carie Weinman has led Valpo in scoring in three straight games, but her last two have been noteworthy, both surpassing her previous best in a Valpo uniform.
- Weinman scored a then Valpo-high 24 points last Saturday on 9-of-12 shooting in just 24 minutes in Valpo’s rout of Western Michigan.
- Weinman connected on all five of her 3-point attempts in the win over WMU, the first Valpo player since Hannah Schaub in March 2016 against Detroit to hit at least five triples without a miss.
- Weinman followed on Wednesday with a game-high 26 points to again surpass her Valpo best in the win over Xavier, going 8-of-15 from the field and 8-of-10 from the line.
- Weinman’s 50 combined points were the most by a Valpo player in consecutive games since Meredith Hamlet combined for 54 points against Toledo and Chicago State in November 2018.
- An MVC All-Defensive Team selection and the conference leader in steals last year, Weinman has tallied at least two steals in all six games this year, including four steals four times. She currently ranks seventh nationally with 20 total steals.
White Leads the Way
- It was senior Grace White leading the way in both the wins over the Big Ten programs, joining some elite company in the history of Valpo women’s basketball.
- White posted a team-best 17 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists in the Illinois win, and followed at Purdue by matching her career high with 20 points, making a career-high nine baskets (9-14) and leading 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.
- 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 Five 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 Five wins - Tamra Braun had 10 boards apiece in the 2005 win over Northwestern and the 2004 win at Washington State.
Taking Advantage of Charity
- White posted her highest point total in a Valpo uniform in Wednesday’s win over Xavier as well, talllying 23 points in the victory over the Musketeers.
- White did most of her damage against Xavier at the foul line, finishing the game 14-of-18 from the charity stripe.
- The 14 makes tied for third-most in a game by an individual in program history and were the most by a Valpo player since February 1995.
- White’s 14 made free throws doubled her previous career high as well.
Close Games Go Our Way
- Edging out the Illini by three points and beating the Boilermakers and Xavier by five points apiece continues a trend under Mary Evans for Valpo to excel in tight games.
- Since Evans’ arrival, Valpo is 12-5 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.
Life on the Road
- Valpo just concluded a four-game stretch of road contests to open the 2020-21 campaign.
- 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.
- The game against WMU marks the program’s latest home opener since 1994-95, when the Brown and Gold hosted Aurora on Dec. 20.
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.
- This is 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.
Not Much Nonconference Action
- This season’s truncated nonconference slate features just seven games over a span of 23 days.
- The seven nonconference games are the fewest Valpo has played in a single season since first joining a conference prior to the 1987-88 campaign.
- It also is the fewest games prior to the team’s first conference game since the 1999-2000 squad opened Mid-Con play with a single game in early December after just four nonconference games.
- A win on Sunday would end Valpo’s nonconference slate with a 5-2 record, which would be the program’s second-best winning percentage in preconference play all time.