Valparaiso (6-8, 2-5 MVC)
Games #15/16 - Feb. 4/5 - 6 p.m/6 p.m.
Bradley (10-6, 6-3 MVC)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The first half of the MVC schedule comes to a close for the Valpo women’s basketball team at the ARC this week, as another tough series awaits the Brown and Gold with Bradley coming to town. Friday night’s game will serve as the program’s Heart Health Awareness game, with all family members attending the game and fans watching from home encouraged to wear red in support of National Wear Red and Give Day.
Previously: Valpo fell in a pair of games against #RV/25 Missouri State last weekend, dropping a 61-51 decision on Saturday before losing in a 74-73 heartbreaker on Sunday on three free throws with 0.8 seconds to play. Shay Frederick led Valpo with 23 points in the first game of the series, while Carie Weinman and Caitlin Morrison tallied 20 points apiece in the Sunday contest.
Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN+
Radio: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)
Live Stats/Streaming Audio: Available via ValpoAthletics.com
Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans (31-44) 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: The Braves lead the all-time series over Valpo, 11-2, and are 5-1 in six matchups since Valpo joined the MVC prior to the 2017-18 season. Last season, Bradley earned a season sweep, winning 75-61 at the ARC and 90-69 in Peoria. Caitlin Morrison scored in double figures in both contests against the Braves, while Shay Frederick scored a team-best 18 points in the road defeat.
- 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 Missouri State - Sunday
- Valpo’s 73 points were the most surrendered by Missouri State in a game this season.
- Caitlin Morrison and Carie Weinman tied for game-high honors with 20 points apiece. For Morrison, it was her second effort of at least 20 points in MVC play, joining the win at Illinois State.
- Morrison connected on five 3-pointers to match a career high. The senior also picked up a blocked shot in the second half, giving her 98 career rejections to tie her for fourth in program history in the category.
- Meanwhile, Weinman posted her 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including a 3-of-4 mark from deep, for her fourth performance of 20 or more points this year.
- Shay Frederick led Valpo with eight rebounds and seven assists, both of which were one shy of her career high.
- Frederick’s effort on the boards helped Valpo finish the game with a 39-34 advantage on the glass over a Missouri State squad which entered the game outrebounding opponents by over 10 boards per game this year. In fact, the last time the Lady Bears were outrebounded by five or more came against Stanford in the 2019 Sweet Sixteen.
- The Brown and Gold knocked down 11 triples and connected on 40.7% from deep, their sixth game this year reaching double figures in 3-pointers and the second time they’ve hit at least 40% while connecting on at least 10.
...versus Missouri State - Saturday
- Shay Frederick finished with a game-high 23 points, her fourth effort of at least 20 points this year — three of which have come in MVC play.
- Frederick scored 11 of her points in the second quarter and 10 points in the fourth quarter, the second time in MVC play this year she has scored 10+ in two quarters in the same game.
- Frederick was the only Valpo player in double figures, however, as Carie Weinman was next in line with nine points. Weinman also handed out a team-high four assists without committing a turnover.
- Valpo shot just 28.1% overall (16-of-57) and 25.8% (8-of-31) from 3-point range on Saturday.
- Valpo’s defense kept it in the game despite the offensive struggles, as it held Missouri State to 39% shooting from the field and a 1-of-11 mark from the 3-point line.
- The Lady Bears’ 61 points tied their lowest output in MVC play this year, while their one 3-pointer tied a season low from behind the stripe (Wake Forest).
- Valpo has limited four opponents this season to one 3-pointer or fewer.
- Valpo returns to the road for the first time in nearly a month next week, as it plays at Indiana State Feb. 11-12.
- The Brown and Gold then return home for their final home games of the season Feb. 19-20 as they host Evansville.
...at the ARC
- Thursday and Friday are Valpo’s eighth and ninth home games of the season. It currently is 3-4 at the ARC after falling twice to Missouri State.
- 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.
- Bradley enters this week’s two-game series at 10-6 overall and 6-3 in MVC play.
- The Braves have lost two of their last three, however, after reeling off five consecutive victories.
- Junior Lasha Petree leads a dynamic Bradley offense with an MVC-high 19.3 points/game, while senior Gabi Haack ranks third in the Valley with 16.0 points/game and senior Nyjah White adds 10.3 points/game.
Playing as Scheduled
- For just the second time in MVC play, Valpo is playing a series as originally scheduled with this week’s series against Bradley.
- Prior to this week, only Valpo’s series against UNI (Jan. 7-8) was played as originally scheduled in conference play.
- 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.
- 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.
- Jan. 14, it was announced that the series at Southern Illinois (scheduled for Jan. 22-23) was postponed until Feb. 27-28.
- Then, on Jan. 16, the conference announced that the Loyola game at the ARC, originally set for Jan. 27, would be moved up to Jan. 19.
A Heartbreaking Loss
- It looked like Valpo was going to emerge with just its second win over a ranked opponent in program history on Sunday before three free throws with 0.8 seconds to play gave #RV/25 Missouri State a 74-73 win.
- That was the final of five lead changes in the last two minutes of the game against the Lady Bears.
- Valpo’s only previous win over a nationally-ranked team came over #21/23 Purdue on Dec. 10, 2008, while the only other closer result against a ranked team than Sunday’s one-point loss came on Dec. 28, 1997, when Valpo took #25/RV Arkansas to overtime before falling.
- Sunday’s defeat was Valpo’s first one-point loss since dropping a 67-66 decision in Horizon League play at Wright State on Jan. 31, 2013, eight years to the day.
Front-Loaded Conference Slate
- With half of the MVC teams currently ranked among the top-100 in the NET, a team is going to be faced with many challenging tests throughout the conference schedule.
- But for Valpo, most of those tests have come at the front end of the slate.
- The games against Bradley will be Valpo’s seventh and eighth top-100 opponents through its first nine MVC games.
- By contrast, the second half of Valpo’s MVC conference schedule will feature just two top-100 games. In fact, after Friday, Valpo won’t face another top-100 opponent until the final weekend of the regular season.
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 #72 in the NET, which is being used by the NCAA for women’s basketball this year.
- Valpo then won at Illinois State Jan. 15, which entered that week ranked #37 in the NET and is currently ranked #70.
- 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-5; Bradley-1).
- Valpo now has four top-100 wins in MVC play over the last two years, having beaten 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 8-8 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.
- Valpo has been feeding the hot hand throughout its MVC games so far, resulting in players scoring 10+ in a single period, and did so again last weekend against Missouri State.
- On Saturday, Shay Frederick scored 11 points in the second quarter and 10 in the fourth quarter.
- Frederick now owns six double-digit quarters in MVC play this year and has scored 10+ points in the fourth quarter four times in seven conference games.
- Then on Sunday, the third quarter saw Carie Weinman score 12 points and Grace White score 10 points.
- The weekend came to a close with Caitlin Morrison posting a 14-point fourth quarter.
- It marked the first time since the move to quarters prior to the 2015-16 season that three different Valpo players had a 10+ point quarter in the same game.
- Valpo players have combined for 12 double-digit scoring quarters in MVC play so far this year, already the most within conference play in a single seasosn 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
- When 2020 came to a close, the program had 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, leading 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..
Big Ten Challenges
- Of Valpo’s seven nonconference games, three were against Big Ten programs - Illinois, Purdue and Wisconsin.
- Valpo had played three Big Ten teams over Mary Evans’ first two seasons - Illinois in 2018-19; Ohio State and Northwestern in 2019-20.
- This is the first time in program history Valpo 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.
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 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.
- A trio of Valpo starters have extensive streaks of consecutive games started which are ongoing.
- Shay Frederick has started 56 consecutive games dating back to the middle of her freshman year.
- Carie Weinman and Caitlin Morrison have both made 43 starts in a row.
- The three were members of a quintet which started every single game in the 2019-20 season - the first time in program history the same five players started every game.