Valparaiso (6-5, 2-2 MVC)
Game #12 - Tuesday, Jan. 19 - 6 p.m.
Loyola (3-3, 1-1 MVC)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valpo women’s basketball team will return to the court eight days earlier than anticipated, as the Brown and Gold will match up with Loyola at the ARC Tuesday evening. The game was originally scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 27, but was moved to this week by mutual agreement.
Previously: Valpo earned a split of its first MVC road series of the year, winning one and losing one at Illinois State. Valpo rallied to force overtime on Thursday behind 12 fourth-quarter points from Shay Frederick, including the game-tying free throws with 3.2 seconds to go to send the game to OT, but the Redbirds emerged 81-75 victors. Friday saw Caitlin Morrison fill up the basket to the tune of a career-best 21 points to lead the way as Valpo claimed a 75-58 victory.
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 (31-41) 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: Valpo enjoys a 24-6 advantage in the all-time series over Loyola, including a 13-1 mark all-time at the ARC and a 6-1 series lead since joining the MVC. It took work for the Brown and Gold to earn the two wins last year, however, as Valpo rallied from down 11 with three minutes to play behind the heroics of Shay Frederick to emerge with a 66-64 win at the ARC and then rallied from down 11 in the first half later in the year at Gentile Arena, forcing 31 Loyola turnovers en route to a 70-57 win.
- 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).
...versus Illinois State - Friday win
- Friday’s win came over an Illinois State squad which entered the game ranked #37 in the NCAA’s NET metric. Valpo now owns a top-100 win in each of the last two weeks and has four top-100 wins among its last six MVC victories.
- The 17-point margin of victory was Valpo’s third-largest in an MVC road game since joining the conference, only topped by last year’s wins at Indiana State and Evansville.
- Morrison was the standout in Friday’s victory, going for a career-best 21 points. The senior was 7-of-8 from the field, including 5-of-6 from behind the 3-point line — also setting a career high for 3-pointers made.
- Morrison has now scored in double figures in five of Valpo’s last seven games.
- Frederick backed Morrison up with an 18-point effort, highlighted by an 11-of-12 mark at the foul line, while White rounded out a trio of double-figure scorers with 11 points.
- With Frederick’s second assist of the game, a helper on a 3-pointer from Dunson with 2:45 left in the third quarter, the junior moved into Valpo’s career top-10 in assists. Frederick now owns 288 career assists, just one away from moving up to ninth place in program history.
- Weinman filled up the stat sheet in Friday’s win, highlighted by a game-high eight assists, soaring past her previous career high of five assists. Weinman also tallied eight points, five rebounds and a game-best four steals — her fifth game this season with four thefts.
- Weinman also committed no turnovers to go with her eight assists, the first Valpo player to do that since November 2014.
- Valpo outscored Illinois State by 17 (29-12) in the third quarter of the win, matching the program’s biggest advantage in a single quarter in an MVC game since a 28-point (35-7) edge over Evansville in the third quarter on Jan. 20, 2019.
- Valpo enjoyed its best game of the season from the 3-point line, connecting on 11-of-22 (50%) from deep. It was the Brown and Gold’s fourth time this year hitting at least 10 triples.
- Valpo also posted a season-best free throw percentage, going 22-of-25 (88%) from the foul line. It marks the fourth time in Valpo’s last five games it has hit at least 80% from the charity stripe.
- Valpo’s defense was strong on Friday, as after allowing Illinois State to hit at a 44.4% clip from both the field and the 3-point line the previous evening, the Redbirds shot just 28.8% (17-of-59) from the floor and 20% (3-of-15) from deep on Friday.
- It is the third time this year that Valpo has held its opponent below 30% field goal shooting (Purdue, Western Michigan) and the fourth time Valpo’s opponent has shot 20% or worse from 3-point range.
...versus Illinois State - Thursday loss
- The loss was Valpo’s second defeat in overtime over its last four games.
- Weinman led the Valpo effort on Thursday with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting, her third 20-point outing this season and the fifth in her two years at Valpo.
- The Brown and Gold had been perfect (4-0) when Weinman scored 20+ points until Thursday’s loss.
- Frederick tallied 15 points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter to help Valpo force overtime. She scored 10 or more points in four separate quarters in a three-game stretch, including the fourth quarter in each of the three outings.
- Frederick is the first Valpo player since the move to quarters to score in double figures in a quarter in three consecutive games. She has scored 10+ in 10 quarters in her career, including seven times in the fourth quarter.
- Frederick and Grace White tied for the team lead with four steals apiece as Valpo amassed 13 steals as a team, matching its second-highest total of the year.
- Lauren Gunn and Maya Dunson both played a season-high 22 minutes on Thursday. Dunson also scored the first three baskets of her Valpo career in her third game in the Crusader uniform, including a 3-pointer which gave Valpo the lead with 1:17 to play in regulation.
- Valpo ended the game shooting 44.4% from the floor and 32.3% from the 3-point line, both slightly better than its season averages, but it was a tale of two halves. Valpo shot just 7-of-26 overall and 2-of-13 from deep in the first half before turning it around in the third and fourth quarters, combining to shoot 19-of-30 overall and 7-of-13 from the 3-point line over that 20-minute span.
- Valpo is currently not scheduled to play again until hosting Missouri State at the ARC Jan. 30-31.
- Valpo originally was to hit the road to play at Southern Illinois this weekend, but that series was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests among SIU’s Tier I personnel.
...at the ARC
- Tuesday is Valpo’s fifth home game of the season. It currently is 3-1 at the ARC after splitting the MVC-opening series with UNI.
- 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.
- Loyola enters Tuesday’s game having played an MVC-low six games. The Ramblers are 3-3 overall and split their only conference series to date against Indiana State.
- Loyola has not played a game since Jan. 2.
- Junior forward Allison Day leads the Ramblers, averaging 13 ppg and 7.5 rpg on 60.9% shooting from the field.
Conference Scheduling - Wilder Than a Goat Rodeo
- After making it through nonconference play without a single game having to be postponed or canceled, Valpo has faced a myriad of rescheduled outings so far in MVC play.
- Only the UNI series (Jan. 7-8) was played as originally scheduled.
- The first domino was the postponement of the series at Illinois State from Jan. 1-2. That series was rescheduled to Jan. 14-15, forcing the movement of the Missouri State series to Jan. 30-31.
- Earlier this week, it was announced that the series at Southern Illinois (scheduled for Jan. 22-23) was postponed until Feb. 27-28.
- Then, on Saturday, the conference announced that the Loyola game at the ARC, originally set for Jan. 27, would be moved up to Jan. 19.
Claiming Top 100 Wins
- With the MVC a top-8 conference last year by RPI and this year by NET, it gives Valpo plenty of opportunities for top-100 wins, and the team has taken advantage.
- Valpo opened MVC play this year with a win over UNI, currently ranked #76 in the NET, which is being used by the NCAA for women’s basketball this year.
- Valpo then won at Illinois State last week, which entered the week ranked #37 in the NET and is currently ranked #74.
- With that win over the Redbirds coming on the road, Valpo currently owns a Quadrant 1 victory, one of just three MVC schools with a Q1 win this year (Missouri State-3; Bradley-1).
- Valpo now has four top-100 wins in its last 10 MVC games dating back to last year, as the Brown and Gold earned top-100 wins over Illinois State and UNI in the second half of last year’s conference slate.
- Prior to last year’s win at Illinois State, Valpo had gone nearly seven years since its last top-100 win.
Competing in the MVC
- Now in its fourth season as an MVC member, Valpo has turned a corner in being competitive within conference play.
- Over its first two and a half seasons in the MVC, Valpo posted an 11-34 conference record, with eight of those wins coming against just two programs: Evansville and Loyola.
- But since the midway point of last season, Valpo owns a 8-5 record and has defeated six different schools in that time frame.
- You can especialy see the difference in Valpo’s play on the road. The Brown and Gold are 4-2 in their last six MVC road games after starting their tenure in the MVC 4-19 in its first 23 conference road games.
Morrison Breaks Out
- Five times over the last seven games, senior Caitlin Morrison has scored in double figures, averaging 12.3 points/game over that stretch.
- Twice during this stretch, Morrison has surpassed her previous career high in the scoring column. First, she shot 8-of-12 from the field as she posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds in a nonconference win over Western Michigan.
- Most recently, Morrison started the finale at Illinois State on fire, scoring 11 points in the first quarter alone en route to a game-high 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting. The senior connected on 5-of-6 from the 3-point line, setting a career high for triples made.
- Dating back to last year, Morrison has scored in double figures in nine of Valpo’s last 17 MVC games.
Frederick Moves Up the Chart
- While her scoring rate has increased quite a bit this year, junior Shay Frederick has not let it keep her from getting others involved in the offense.
- The MVC leader in assists/game with 5.1 a contest, Frederick cracked Valpo’s career top-10 assists with a helper late in the third quarter Friday at Illinois State.
- Frederick enters this week with 288 career assists, just one shy of ninth position, and is on pace to challenge for the #2 spot in program history in the category.
- After closing nonconference play with a career-best 27-point effort at Wisconsin, Frederick has continued to score at a high rate in MVC play, averaging 19.8 points/game over Valpo’s first four MVC games.
- Frederick started the two-game series with UNI with a game-high 20 points in Valpo’s Thursday victory, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter and nine of which came in a three-possession stretch which gave Valpo the lead for good.
- Frederick followed by just missing her career high the next day, posting 26 points - 20 of which came in the second half - in the Friday loss.
- Frederick scored 20+ points in three straight games, the first time a Valpo player has done that since current assistant coach Dani Franklin in December 2017.
- Frederick followed with efforts of 15 and 18 points last week at Illinois State.
Big Individual Quarters
- Friday’s win at Illinois State was highlighted by a pair of double-digit scoring performances by Valpo players in a single quarter.
- Caitlin Morrison scored 11 points in the first quarter on 4-of-4 shooting, and Grace White helped spur the 29-point third quarter with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting.
- Valpo has had nine individual quarters this year with 10+ points, seven of which have come in the first four MVC games.
- Shay Frederick reached double figures in four separate quarters over Valpo’s first three MVC games, including all three third quarters - she became the first Valpo player since the move to quarters to score 10+ in a single quarter in three straight games.
- White also scored 10 in the second quarter of Valpo’s win at Illinois, while Carie Weinman owns a pair of 10+ point quarters as well.
- Frederick now owns 10 double-digit scoring quarters in her career, seven of which have occurred in the fourth quarter. Only Dani Franklin (20) and Meredith Hamlet (12) have more since the move to quarters.
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.
Erasing Double-Digit Deficits
- The MVC-opening win against UNI featured Valpo rallying from an 11-point deficit to win - its second win when trailing by double figures this year.
- Against Xavier, Valpo found itself down by as many as 12 points in the first quarter before eventually earning the win.
- Eight times in Mary Evans’ tenure as head coach has Valpo erased a double-figure deficit in a victory - last year’s team did so four times, while the 2018-19 team did so twice. Seven of those wins have come since the last time Valpo surrendered a double-digit lead in a loss (Feb. 15, 2019).
- The speed with which Valpo has turned around and gained a lead when trailing by double figures in both this year’s wins has been impressive - versus Xavier, Valpo went from down 12 to leading in just 3:10, and then in the win over UNI, Valpo went from down 10 to leading in just 3:05.
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.