Valparaiso (4-3, 0-0 MVC)
Games #8/9 - Jan. 7/8 - 6 p.m./6 p.m.
UNI (5-4, 2-0 MVC)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valpo women’s basketball team gets the 2020-21 Missouri Valley Conference slate off to a belated start this week as the Brown and Gold host UNI on Thursday and Friday evenings. This year’s MVC schedule was adjusted to feature games against the same opponent on back-to-back days.
Previously: Led by a career-best effort from junior Shay Frederick in her return to her home state, the Valpo women’s basketball team rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit Dec. 20 at Wisconsin to force overtime on a Frederick layup with 1.3 seconds to play in regulation, but the Badgers scored the first seven points of overtime as Valpo lost its nonconference finale, 89-82. Frederick finished with a career-high 27 points in the losing effort, making seven 3-pointers. Valpo’s scheduled MVC-opening series at Illinois State Jan. 1-2 was postponed to Jan. 14-15.
Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN3 or ESPN+
Radio: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)
Live Stats/Streaming Audio: Available via ValpoAthletics.com
Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans (29-39) 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: UNI holds a 7-3 advantage in the all-time series over Valpo and is 3-2 in games played at the ARC. Last season, the two teams split the season series, with each winning on its home court. The last meeting came at the ARC on Feb. 28, as Valpo snapped a six-game losing streak in the series with a 72-69 victory. Shay Frederick led four players in double figures with a then career-best 22 points, while Carie Weinman came up with five of Valpo’s 12 steals.
- 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).
- Shay Frederick enjoyed a career game, playing against her home state’s flagship school in her first collegiate game back in the Badger State. The junior scored a career-best 27 points- the most by a Valpo player since Meredith Hamlet dropped 28 at Chicago State in November 2018.
- Frederick went 10-of-17 from the field to reach 27 points, including a 7-of-14 mark from beyond the 3-point line. Her seven made triples are tied for fourth-most in a single game in program history and are the most by a player since 2011.
- Frederick contributed outside the scoring column as well, grabbing eight rebounds — just one off her career best — and dishing out five assists while committing just one turnover.
- Caitlin Morrison went 5-of-8 from the field for 14 points, her third consecutive game scoring in double figures.
- Grace White notched 13 points, all of which came after halftime, and paced Valpo with 10 rebounds and seven assists, both of which matched her career bests. The senior tallied her second career double-double.
- Cara VanKempen set a career high with 12 points as she knocked down a career-best four 3-pointers. The sophomore averaged 10.3 points/game in Valpo’s three games against Big Ten teams this year.
- Also returning to her home state, Leah Earnest had the best effort scoring-wise of her young career, as she was the fifth player in double figures, tallying 11 points while also grabbing four rebounds.
- Valpo had five players score in double figures for the first time since its game at UNI last February.
- The Brown and Gold enjoyed a prolific game shooting the 3-ball, going 14-of-35 (40%) from downtown in the first four quarters before missing all seven of their efforts from deep in overtime. The 14 made 3-pointers are tied for sixth-most in a single game in program history, while the 42 total 3-point attempts are second-most in program history.
- Valpo hung with the Badgers despite Wisconsin shooting 53.1% from the field and 10-of-19 from the 3-point line. Valpo committed just 11 turnovers while forcing 16 Badger miscues.
- Valpo was in search of its third win over a Big Ten team this season, having previous defeated Illinois and Purdue. Despite the loss, Valpo is still the first NCAA team with multiple nonconference true road wins at Big Ten programs since the 2017-18 season.
- The loss was just the second in Coach Evans’ three seasons when scoring 80 or more points, both of which have come in overtime.
- The win over the Musketeers 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.
- Xavier is just the second current Big East program that Valpo has defeated, joining Butler, which Valpo took down in November 2014 for its last win over a Big East school.
- For the third straight game, it was Carie 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, Grace 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.
- Valpo shot easily a season best from the field in the win, going 26-of-47 (55.3%) from the floor. It was the team’s best shooting performance since connecting at a 57.7% clip in its road win at Evansville back in January.
- The Brown and Gold were efficient from deep as well, as six different players hit 3-pointers en route to an 8-of-18 (44.4%) performance from downtown.
- Xavier finished the game shooting 43.1% (28-of-65) from the field and hit just 4-of-13 (30.8%) from 3-point range.
- Valpo opens its home conference schedule next week with games against UNI Jan. 7-8.
- Valpo stays at the ARC the following week as well, taking on Missouri State Jan. 15-16.
...at the ARC
- Thursday and Friday are Valpo’s third and fourth home games of the season.
- Valpo finished home nonconference play 2-0 with wins over Western Michigan and Xavier.
- This marks the fewest nonconference home games since the 1994-95 team also played just two out-of-conference games at the ARC.
- Valpo was a perfect 4-0 in nonconference home games last season and finished the year with an 8-5 overall home record - the program’s best mark at the ARC since 2012-13.
- UNI enters this week’s games at 5-4 overall and started MVC play last weekend with back-to-back wins over Illinois State.
- Karli Rucker averaged a team-high 17.5 points/game in the two victories over the Redbirds, while Bre Gunnels posted 16.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.
- Rucker leads the Panthers on the year, averaging 12.6 points/game, while Megan Maahs is in double figures as well at 10.2 points/game.
- The MVC adjusted conference scheduling this year to feature games on back-to-back dates against the same opponent at the same site each weekend.
- The only opponent a team will play a traditional home-and-home series against is its travel partner - in Valpo’s case, Loyola.
- The schedule features two built-in weekends during the regular season to assist in rescheduling of any potential postponed games
- Valpo hasn’t played on back-to-back days since facing Indiana State and Drake March 14 & 15, 2019 at the MVC Tournament.
- Valpo last played on back-to-back days in the regular season Nov. 16 & 17, 2018 against Morehead State and Saint Francis Brooklyn.
- The last time Valpo played conference games on back-to-back days? Feb. 17 & 18, 1990 versus DePaul and UIC - the latter contest had been postponed four days due to weather.
- Valpo last played the same opponent in consecutive games on Feb. 26 & March 3, 2007, as the Brown and Gold closed the regular season and opened the Mid-Con Tournament against Southern Utah.
A Normal(ish?) Nonconference
- With all that has happened this year, Valpo had about as normal a nonconference schedule as could be expected.
- All seven of the games that were announced prior to the season were played on their scheduled date, with no postponements or cancellations.
- With that, it was still a truncated nonconference slate, as Valpo played 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.
- Valpo finished the pre-conference slate with a 4-3 record after going 8-3 in pre-conference play last year. Before last season, Valpo had finished at or above .500 in pre-conference action just once in the last 10 years.
A Winning Calendar Year
- While 2020 came to a close with the loss at Wisconsin for Valpo, the program still finished with a winning calendar year.
- Valpo went 9-9 in January, February and March, and then went 4-3 in November and December to post a 13-12 record.
- 2020 was the first winning calendar year for the program since going 20-10 in 2007.
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.
- B1G teams owned a 39-4 record in home nonconference games this year - Valpo is responsible for two of the four losses.
- Valpo is the first team with multiple nonconference road wins at Big Ten programs since 2017-18.
...and Then a Big Win
- Valpo rolled to an easy win over Western Michigan in its home opener, 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.
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.
- The 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.
Shay’s Big Day
- Junior Shay Frederick enjoyed a banner day last time out in her first collegiate game in her home state.
- Frederick scored a career-best 27 points Dec. 20 at Wisconsin, far outpacing her previous best of 22. The 27 points are the most by a Valpo player since Meredith Hamlet dropped 28 at Chicago State in November 2018.
- Frederick went 10-of-17 from the field to reach 27 points, including a 7-of-14 mark from beyond the 3-point line.
- Her seven made triples are a career best, tied for fourth-most in a single game in program history and are the most by a player since 2011, while her 14 attempts from downtown are tied for seventh-most in a game in program history.
- Frederick contributed outside the scoring column as well, grabbing eight rebounds — just one off her career best — and dishing out five assists while committing just one turnover. She played 44 minutes, the most by a Valpo player since Hamlet went 46 minutes in a double-overtime game against Southern Illinois in February 2018.
- Frederick enters conference play averaging 11.4 points and 4.9 assists per game - the latter good for second in the MVC - and hitting at a 40.5% clip from the 3-point line.
White Does It All
- Senior Grace White has been described by head coach Mary Evans as a player who can do it all on the court, and White has done just that so far this year.
- White enters MVC play among the top-7 in the conference in scoring (15.0), rebounding (6.8), assists (3.7), steals (2.0) and blocked shots (1.3) - the only player among the top-10 in all five categories.
- No MVC player has ranked in the top-10 of all five categories at season’s end since 2015-16, when Missouri State’s Tyonna Snow did so en route to being named the Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the Year.
- White leads Valpo in scoring, rebounding and blocks, and is second on the team in assists and steals.
- White especially impressed in Valpo’s two Big Ten wins, posting a team-best 17 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists in the Illinois victory.
- White followed at Purdue by matching her then-Valpo high with 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting 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.
Weinman Goes Off
- Junior Carie Weinman enters MVC play averaging 14.3 points/game, good for second on the team, and exploded with a couple of big performances in Valpo’s last two wins.
- Weinman scored a then Valpo-high 24 points 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 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 foul 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 six of seven games this year, including four steals four times. She currently leads the MVC with 2.9 steals/game.
Erasing Double-Digit Deficits
- 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 the win over the Musketeers 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.
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.