Valparaiso (8-10, 4-7 MVC)
Game #19 - Feb. 24 - 6 p.m.
at Loyola (10-7, 8-5 MVC)
Gentile Arena (4,963) - Chicago, Ill.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: After completing its home schedule last weekend, the Valpo women’s basketball team begins a stretch of five consecutive road contests to close out the regular season on Wednesday evening against travel partner Loyola.
Previously: Valpo earned a split of its final home series with Evansville last weekend. Having been away from competition for 14 days, the Brown and Gold dropped the opener to the Purple Aces, 57-43, but rebounded for a 71-56 win on Senior Night. Carie Weinman led the way in Saturday’s win with 21 points and six steals, the latter tying a career high.
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Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans (33-46) 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 and own a 6-2 series lead since joining the MVC. However, it was the Ramblers who earned the win in this season’s first matchup at the ARC by a 53-36 final. Valpo shot just 27.8% from the field in the first meeting this year and was just 1-for-25 from 3-point range.
- 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 Evansville - Saturday
- Caitlin Morrison, making the 101st start of her Valpo career, posted 10 points, two assists and two blocked shots on her Senior Night. She continued adding to her career block total, which now sits at 103 — fourth-best in program history.
- Ella Ellenson made her 47th career start in the Brown and Gold, scoring four points and grabbing five rebounds on her Senior Night. That effort capped a weekend that saw her crack Valpo’s career top-10 in blocked shots as well on Friday.
- Carie Weinman led the way for Valpo Saturday on both ends of the court. The junior scored a game-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including a trifecta of trifectas. Meanwhile, defensively Weinman matched her career high by coming up with six steals for the third time in her time in the Brown and Gold.
- Shay Frederick contributed 14 points — including three triples of her own — five assists and four steals, the latter tying her season best in the category.
- As a team, Valpo shot 14-for-43 from 3-point range in the win Saturday. The 43 3-point attempts were second-most in program history, just one shy of the team single-game record, while the 14 made triples tie for seventh-most in a single game.
- Valpo has knocked down exactly 14 triples in three of its last four meetings with the Purple Aces.
- Led by Weinman and Frederick, Valpo tallied 13 steals in Saturday’s win, matching its second-best effort in the category this year. Valpo finished the game a +10 (12-22) in the turnover column and outscored Evansville 30-12 in points off turnovers.
- Freshman walk-on Syria Butler and mid-year freshman enrollee Katie Beyer both made their debuts late in Saturday’s win.
...versus Evansville - Friday
- Valpo shot just 12-for-57 on Friday evening. The 21.1% clip was the program’s worst since going 10-for-50 in a loss at Green Bay in January 2017.
- 42 of Valpo’s 57 field goal attempts came from behind the 3-point line, tied for third-most in a game in program history. The Brown and Gold were just 7-for-42 from deep.
- Valpo held a +10 advantage in the turnover column (23-13), but was only able to convert that into a two-point edge (12-10) in points off turnovers.
- Caitlin Morrison tied her career high Friday with four assists.
- Freshman Leah Earnest made her first career start Friday evening as Grace White was sidelined due to injury. Fellow rookie Ava Interrante played a season-high 16 minutes, finishing with four points and two assists.
- Mid-year newcomer Molly Sheehan made her debut in the Brown and Gold Friday night, playing seven minutes in the fourth quarter and tallying four points, a rebound and a steal. When she stepped onto the court, Sheehan became the youngest Division I women’s basketball player to see action this year, as she turned 17 just over a month ago.
- Following the mid-week contest at Loyola, Valpo is slated to travel to Southern Illinois for a two-game series Feb. 27-28.
- The regular season wraps up for the Brown and Gold at Drake March 5-6.
...on the road
- Wednesday’s game will be the eighth road game for Valpo this season.
- Valpo is currently 3-4 on the road this year, with its most recent road games resulting in a series split at Illinois State Jan. 14-15. Valpo played five of its seven nonconference games away from home.
- In fact, the games against the Redbirds are the only road games Valpo has played in MVC action so far, as its series at Indiana State was canceled.
- 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.
- Loyola enters this week’s game at 10-7 overall and with an 8-5 mark in MVC play.
- The Ramblers most recently edged out UNI on the road in overtime to earn a split with the Panthers and have won three of their last four.
- Allison Day averages 11.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game to lead Loyola, while Ellie Rice also scores in double figures at 10.3 points per game.
- With its game two win against Evansville last weekend, Valpo split with the Purple Aces - a common trend for the program in back-to-backs this year.
- Valpo has now split four of its five back-to-backs to date - the only non-split was its two losses to nationally-ranked Missouri State, one of which came with the Lady Bears scoring the winning point in the final second.
Finally Back on the Road
- When Valpo plays at Loyola on Wednesday evening, it will have been 40 days since its last road game at Illinois State.
- That is the longest that Valpo has gone between games away from home since the 1989-90 team went 40 days in between a Nov. 25 neutral-site game against UAB and a Jan. 4 game at Loyola Marymount.
- In between, this year’s Valpo squad set its program record for most games in a homestand, playing seven consecutive home games - the 1989-90 team played just four games in between games away from home.
- Valpo is slated to play its final five games of the season away from home, which would be its longest stretch of true road games since playing six straight road contests Dec. 19, 1999-Jan. 8, 2000.
From Way Downtown
- Valpo took its 3-point bombing to another level in the two-game series against Evansville last weekend.
- The Brown and Gold attempted 43 3-pointers in the Saturday win, second-most in program history and just one off the program record, after trying 42 triples on Friday, tied for third-most in a game in program history.
- Valpo connected on 14 trifectas in the Saturday victory, tied for seventh-most 3-point makes in a single game.
- Valpo has now connected on 14 or more 3-pointers in a game 17 times in program history, eight of which have come in the three-year tenure of head coach Mary Evans.
- Valpo currently ranks 13th nationally in 3-point attempts and 20th in 3-pointers/game.
- In an unusual year, it’s only fitting that three different players would see their debuts in the Brown and Gold come in the team’s 17th and 18th games of the year.
- Mid-year freshman enrollee Molly Sheehan debuted with seven fourth-quarter minutes Friday against Evansville and played 10 more minutes on Saturday, tallying seven points and two rebounds over her 17 minutes while not committing a turnover.
- Saturday saw mid-year freshman enrollee Katie Beyer and freshman walk-on Syria Butler both make their debuts, with Beyer recording a rebound.
A Historic Win
- Valpo’s win on Feb. 4 over Bradley was historic for the program in two different ways.
- Valpo matched its program record for 3-point makes by going 17-for-39 from beyond the arc. It is the third time in program history that Valpo has made 17 triples (Bowling Green, 12/21/18; Central Michigan, 12/8/04), but the first time it’s happened within conference play.
- The 17 3-pointers are also tied for fourth-most in a single game in MVC history.
- Meanwhile, Valpo erased three separate double-digit deficits, as it overcame a 12-point first-quarter deficit and two different 10-point third-quarter deficits to earn the win.
- In the last 20 years, the Brown and Gold had never completely erased two separate double-digit deficits in a win before erasing three in the win over the Braves.
Claiming Top 100 Wins
- With the MVC a top-8 conference last year by RPI and top-7 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 Jan. 15, which entered that week ranked #37 in the NET and currently ranked #69, and later earned a home win over Bradley, currently #81 in the NET.
- Valpo now has five 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.
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 win over Bradley Feb. 4, in which Valpo overcame three separate double-digit deficits, was the third rally from down 10+ for a win this year.
- The MVC-opening win against UNI featured Valpo rallying from an 11-point deficit to win, while against Xavier, Valpo found itself down by as many as 12 points in the first quarter before eventually earning the win.
- Nine 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. Eight 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.
- The two third-quarter 10-point deficits versus Bradley were erased in 3:19 and 3:23.