Valparaiso (11-12, 7-9 MVC)
Hoops in the Heartland - Moline, Ill.
Game #24 - March 11 - 7:30 p.m.
vs. Evansville (6-17, 2-16 MVC)
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: Valpo opens Hoops in the Heartland as the tournament’s seventh seed and will need to win four games to claim the tournament title. First up for the Brown and Gold is a matchup against 10th-seeded Evansville on Thursday evening. Valpo has won its first game at its last four conference tournament appearances.
Previously: Valpo ended the regular season with a pair of losses at Drake, falling 77-67 on Friday before dropping a 71-66 overtime decision on Saturday after leading by eight with two minutes to go in regulation. Shay Frederick led Valpo in scoring in both games, averaging 19.5 points and 5 assists per game over the two contests.
Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN+
Radio: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)
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Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans (36-48) 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 and Evansville have met 20 times in the all-time series, with Valpo owning a 11-9 advantage - including a 6-2 lead in the series since joining the MVC prior to the 2017-18 campaign. This season’s pair of games at the ARC were split, as the Purple Aces claimed a 57-43 victory in the opener before Valpo rebounded with a 71-56 win in the second game of the back-to-back.
- Valpo was picked to finish in seventh place in the MVC preseason poll, totaling 176 points. Valpo matched its preseason prediction in the final regular season standings.
- 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 and is ranked seventh in NET this year.
...at Drake - Saturday
- Saturday was Valpo’s fourth overtime of the game and third within MVC play (1-3; 1-2).
- Despite the extra five minutes of action, the 71 points Valpo surrendered to the Bulldogs Saturday was the fewest it has given up to Drake since joining the MVC.
- Shay Frederick led Valpo Saturday with 23 points, going 7-of-13 from the field — including three 3-pointers — and 6-of-6 from the foul line.
- Shay Frederick also led Valpo with five assists and finished the game with 340 career assists, tied with Shari Toelke for seventh in program history.
- Caitlin Morrison knocked down four 3-pointers in a 16-point effort, while Carie Weinman finished with 11 points, a career-high eight rebounds and three steals.
- Grace White set a career high with five steals and senior Ella Ellenson matched Weinman with three thefts as Valpo tallied 13 team steals for the second straight game.
- Valpo forced overtime despite shooting just 35.5% from the field for the game versus Drake’s 51.9% clip, in large part due to forcing 26 Drake turnovers and scoring 25 points off those miscues.
- Valpo went a perfect 12-for-12 from the foul line in the loss, tied for the second-most makes without a miss in a single game in program history.
...at Drake - Friday
- Shay Frederick led Valpo’s offensive effort on Friday with a game-high 16 points, including four 3-pointers. Frederick also handed out a team-high five assists.
- Three Valpo players scored in double figures, as Grace White finished with 15 points and Carie Weinman tallied 12.
- Weinman’s seven steals surpassed her previous career best of six. The mark is tied for ninth-best in a single game in program history and is the highest single-game steal total by a Valpo individual since Jessica Carr swiped seven steals against Detroit in January 2014.
- Led by Weinman’s seven thefts, Valpo racked up 13 total team steals — tied for second-most by the team in a game this year — and forced 24 Drake turnovers, scoring 25 points off those miscues.
- Drake shot 58.8% from the field to Valpo’s 37.9% clip and scored 40 points in the paint for a +18 advantage inside.
...away from home
- Thursday’s game will be Valpo’s 13th game of the year away from the ARC, but its first neutral-site game of the year.
- Valpo has not played a neutral-site game since falling to Ohio State in Springfield, Ohio to open the 2019-20 season.
- Valpo is currently 6-6 away from the ARC this year.
- Evansville enters Hoops in the Heartland with a 6-17 overall record and a 2-16 mark in MVC play.
- The Purple Aces have lost six in a row since winning the opener versus Valpo at the ARC on Feb. 19.
- Sophomore Abby Feit is Evansville’s lone double-digit scorer, averaging 14.8 points and a team-best 7.6 rebounds per game.
A Look Back at the Evansville Games
...71-56 win, Feb. 20
- Valpo led nearly start to finish, taking the lead for good 1:41 into the game.
- The Valpo lead reached double figures for the first time with 7:28 to play in the first half.
- Valpo led 34-23 at the half and held a double-figure lead for most of the third quarter.
- Evansville closed to within 42-36 with 2:18 to play in the third quarter, but Valpo hit 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions to push its lead back to double digits, where it remained the rest of the game.
- The Senior Night win saw senior Caitlin Morrison post 10 points, two assists and two blocks, while senior Ella Ellenson scored four points and grabbed five rebounds.
- Carie Weinman scored a game-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including three 3-pointers. Defensively, Weinman matched her then-career high by coming up with six steals.
- 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 tied 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, Valpo tallied 13 steals in the 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.
...57-43 loss, Feb. 19
- After trailing by five at the end of the first, Valpo hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions early in the second quarter to go up 18-14 with 7:51 to play in the first half.
- The Purple Aces limited Valpo to just four points the remainder of the first half, however, as they went on an 18-4 run to close the half with a 32-22 lead.
- Valpo held Evansville scoreless for the first six minutes of the third quarter, but was only able to score seven points itself over that stretch to close to within three.
- The Purple Aces scored the final five points of the third quarter and led 39-31 with 10 minutes to play, and Valpo got no closer than six points in the fourth quarter.
- Valpo shot just 12-for-57 in the loss. 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.
- Shay Frederick led Valpo with 10 points, while Carie Weinman notched eight points and team highs of six rebounds and three steals.
- Valpo played both games against Evansville without Grace White due to injury.
Success in the Postseason
- Discounting last year’s canceled MVC Tournament, Valpo has won a conference tournament game four straight years and in seven of the last eight seasons.
- However, six of those seven wins have come in first-round action against teams seeded eighth or worse in the bracket.
- The lone outlier came in the 2016 Horizon League Tournament, where a ninth-seeded Valpo squad bested fourth-seeded Detroit before falling to fifth-seeded Northern Kentucky in the quarterfinals.
- Valpo earned first-round wins in each of its first two years in the MVC, beating Indiana State in 2019 and Loyola in 2018.
- Valpo had received a first-round bye as the sixth seed last year at Hoops in the Heartland.
- In her three years at the helm of the Valpo program, head coach Mary Evans’ teams have become known for their propensity to shoot 3-pointers, and this year’s team is no exception.
- Valpo enters Hoops in the Heartland ranked 11th nationally in 3-pointers/game (9.1), 13th in total 3-pointers made (210) and sixth in 3-pointers attempted (662).
- Despite the shortened regular season, this year’s squad already ranks seventh in program history in a single season in 3-pointers made and fifth in a season in 3-pointers attempted, just 14 shy of third position in both categories.
- Evans’ first two seasons saw Valpo post its two highest single-season totals for 3-pointers made - 276 in 2018-19, 250 in 2019-20.
- While the total isn’t quite as high this year due to fewer games being played, Valpo’s clip of 9.1 3-pointers/game this season outpaces the 8.6/game the team hit in each of Evans’ first two years.
- Valpo has connected on at least 10 3-pointers in 11 games this season, including eight times in MVC play.
- The team’s top performance of the year came in its Feb. 4 win over Bradley, when it tied a program record by connecting on 17 triples (17-for-39).
- Percentage-wise, Valpo matched its single-game program record this year as well by going 15-for-20 from deep in its Feb. 27 win at Southern Illinois.
- The 75% mark is the best this year by a D-I women’s team attempting at least 20 triples.
- Going back even further, a few other teams in the past decade have matched Valpo’s 15-for-20 mark in a single game, but none have shot better on at least 20 attempts since Tennessee went 16-for-21 from downtown on March 6, 2011.
- Shay Frederick went 6-for-6 in that contest to set a program mark for most 3’s made without a miss in a single game.
- Valpo made 14 or more 3-pointers four times this season and has now done so nine times in Evans’ three seasons at the helm after having done so just nine times total in program history before her arrival.
- The style of play isn’t a surprise if you follow the coaching tree. Evans coached under Bob Boldon at Ohio for five years before getting the head job at Valpo, and Boldon was a former assistant coach at FGCU under their legendary head coach, Karl Smesko, whose teams have ranked among the top-5 in the nation in 3-pointers made in each of the last 10 years.
- As much as the offensive end has been highlighted by the 3-point numbers under Evans, the defensive side has seen prolific steal numbers over the last three seasons.
- Valpo is averaging 9.4 steals/game this season, a mark which is good for second in the conference and 53rd nationally.
- For the second straight year, Carie Weinman leads the MVC in steals, as she boosted her average to 2.9 steals/game - good for 17th nationally as well - entering Hoops in the Heartland.
- Grace White also averages better than two steals per contest as well and ranks fifth in the Valley.
- Valpo has tallied double figures in steals 10 times this year, including eight times in MVC play, after doing so 16 times a season ago.
- 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.
Shay Leads the Way
- Junior Shay Frederick has been the catalyst for the Valpo offense all season, leading the team in both scoring (14.6 ppg) and assists (4.7 apg).
- Frederick paces the conference in assists and ranks fifth in the MVC in scoring. She also is among the conference’s top shooters, hitting 2.2 3-pointers/game on .405 shooting, marks which place her third and fifth, respectively.
- Frederick has scored in double figures 17 times, including seven efforts of 20 or more points, and has led Valpo in scoring 11 times and in assists on 17 occasions.
- Frederick owns 340 career assists, tied for seventh-most in program history. She also ranks 10th all-time at Valpo in 3-point percentage and needs just five more triples to crack the top-10 in career 3-pointers made.
So Many Late Heroics
- It’s no wonder head coach Mary Evans is comfortable with the ball in Frederick’s hands in the closing seconds of tight games, as she has now scored to tie or take the lead four times in the final seconds of regulation this year - three of which have come in MVC play.
- In Valpo’s Feb. 28 win at Southern Illinois, Frederick forced overtime with a layup with 11.7 seconds to play, scored five points in the extra period and also grabbed an offensive rebound off her own missed free throw which led to two more points.
- After attempting just two shots in the first 39-plus minutes, Frederick took the biggest shot of the game in the Feb. 24 win at Loyola, finishing at the basket to give Valpo a two-point lead with 5.2 seconds to play.
- Frederick connected on a game-tying 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds to play Jan. 14 at Illinois State, and then after Valpo had mistakenly fouled, drew a foul herself with three seconds left in regulation and hit both free throws to force OT.
- Earlier this year, in her first career game in her home state, Frederick sent Valpo’s game at Wisconsin to overtime with a driving layup with 1.3 seconds to play in regulation.
- Of course, Frederick’s game-winner at Loyola was eerily reminiscent of her game-winning 3-point play against the Ramblers at the ARC last year - right down to the fact both baskets came with 5.2 seconds to play.
Weinman Racks Up the Steals
- Junior Carie Weinman’s seven-steal performance in the penultimate game of the regular season at Drake might have been a career high, but it was nothing new to see Weinman fill up that column on the stat sheet.
- Weinman - who moved into a tie for ninth on Valpo’s single-game chart in the category with her seven-steal effort - had previously tallied six steals in a game on four separate occasions.
- The junior led the MVC last year in her first season in the conference with 2.2 steals/game and has pushed that mark to a conference-best 2.9 steals/game this year - currently good for 17th nationally.
- Despite the shortened season this year, Weinman has already racked up 66 steals - just six shy of cracking Valpo’s single-season top-10 in the category.
- Weinman’s offensive production has seen a big increase this season as well, as she ranks ninth in the conference in scoring (13.6 PPG), seventh in 3-pointers/game (1.7) and eighth in 3-point percentage (38.1%).
- She has scored in double figures 15 times this year, including five efforts of 20+ points, and has paced Valpo in scoring seven times.
Close Games Go Our Way
- Valpo has been successful in close games in Mary Evans’ tenure and owns a 5-2 record this year in games decided by five or fewer points.
- Two of Valpo’s MVC wins came in close fashion - Feb. 4 vs. Bradley (5) and Feb. 24 at Loyola (2).
- Valpo earned a trio of non-conference wins by five points or less as it came away with wins at Illinois, at Purdue and against Xavier.
- Valpo’s only close losses of the year came Jan. 31 against Missouri State, where the Lady Bears scored the deciding points in the final second, and March 6 at Drake, where it fell by five in overtime.
- Since Evans’ arrival, Valpo is 14-7 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.
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 #66 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 #58, and later earned a home win over Bradley, currently #84 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 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.
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
- Valpo came from down 11 in the first half to force overtime and eventually beat Southern Illinois in the series finale Feb. 28, the fourth time this year it has come from 10+ down to win.
- The win over Bradley Feb. 4 saw Valpo incredibly overcome three separate double-digit deficits before earning the victory.
- In the last 20 years, the Brown and Gold had never completely erased even two separate double-digit deficits in a win before the performance against the Braves.
- 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.
- 10 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. Nine 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 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.
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.
- A trio of Valpo starters have extensive streaks of consecutive games started which are ongoing.
- Shay Frederick has started 65 consecutive games dating back to the middle of her freshman year.
- Carie Weinman and Caitlin Morrison have both made 52 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.
- Ella Ellenson has joined the aforementioned trio in starting every game so far this year.
- Nine letterwinners from last year’s team, including a trio of starters, return for Valpo in 2020-21.
- The three returning starters are redshirt senior Caitlin Morrison, redshirt junior Carie Weinman and junior Shay Frederick.
- Three other seniors return as well: Ella Ellenson, Marlee Profitt and Grace White.
- Junior Ilysse Pitts and sophomores Cara VanKempen and Zoe MacKay Zacker round out the nonet of returnees.
- In all, Valpo returned 68.5% of its minutes played, 64.2% of its scoring and 66.8% of its rebounding from last year’s squad.
Who’s New (Part 1)
- Five incoming freshmen joined Valpo’s roster at the start of the 2020-21 season.
- Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis.), Lauren Gunn (Fishers, Ind.), Jayda Johnston (Roseville, Minn.) and Ava Interrante (McHenry, Ill.) all signed NLIs in November of 2019 to join the Brown and Gold this season.
- Syria Butler (Dolton, Ill.) joined the program as a walk-on last summer.
Who’s New (Part 2)
- In an unusual year, Valpo has added three players to the team in the middle of the season.
- Maya Dunson (Dayton, Ohio) joined the program as a graduate transfer after graduating from Loyola in December.
- Molly Sheehan (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Katie Beyer (McHenry, Ill.) both joined the program for the spring semester - both signed NLIs in November 2020, but completed their high school graduation requirements early.