Valparaiso (0-7, 0-0 MVC)
Game #8 - December 8, 2021 - 6 p.m.
#22/23 Notre Dame (7-2, 1-0 ACC)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valpo women’s basketball team returns home to the ARC after nearly a month away and welcomes nationally-ranked Notre Dame to town on Wednesday evening.
Previously: Valpo rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit Sunday afternoon at Bowling Green to close to within one point, but could not get over the hump, as the host Falcons came away 69-53 victors. Carie Weinman led the way for the Beacons with 15 points.
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Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans is in her fourth year at the helm of the program in 2021-22 and owns a record of 37-56. Evans has made an immediate impact on the program in her first three years, raising the team’s level of play to be competitive in a strong Missouri Valley Conference. Evans’ preferred style of play has been a big part of the program’s turnaround, as Valpo has led the MVC in 3-pointers made per game and in steals per game in each of the last two seasons.
Series Notes: Notre Dame has won all 27 meetings in the series between the two programs, a series which has been evenly split between being played at Valpo and at Notre Dame. The last matchup came when the Fighting Irish were ranked #1 nationally, on Dec. 4, 2016 - a 114-54 Notre Dame win. Jackie Young paced ND with 20 points in that game, while Dani Franklin netted 18 points to lead Valpo.
- Valpo has been picked to finish in sixth place in the MVC preseason poll, totaling 208 points - just one point shy of fifth place.
- Valpo is in its fifth season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference in 2021-22.
- The Valley was ranked seventh nationally in conference NET in 2020-21 and was eighth nationally in conference RPI in 2019-20.
...looking back at last year
- Valpo posted a 12-13 overall record during the 2020-21 season and went 7-9 in Missouri Valley Conference play.
- Valpo finished the regular season in seventh place in the MVC standings.
- Included among Valpo’s 12 victories were wins at Illinois and at Purdue, the program’s first Power Five wins since 2012-13.
- Valpo closed the season with a NET of 122 - the program’s best final NET/RPI ranking since the 2003-04 campaign.
- Shay Frederick was a First Team All-MVC honoree as she led the Valley in assists and ranked sixth in scoring.
- Carie Weinman earned Honorable Mention All-MVC notice and repeated on the All-Defensive Team as she led the Valley in steals for a second straight season.
...at Bowling Green
- BGSU led 15-10 at the end of the first quarter and 31-24 at halftime.
- The Falcons out-scored Valpo 15-5 over the first five-plus minutes of the third quarter to extend their lead to 17 points at 46-29.
- Out of the media timeout, the Beacons looked like a new team, scoring on seven of their final nine possessions of the period as they out-scored the Falcons 16-3 the rest of the way to close to within 49-45 with 10 minutes remaining.
- Shay Frederick connected on a triple to open the fourth quarter and cut the deficit to one point, and after the Falcons had scored on back-to-back trips, Lauren Gunn knocked down a shot from deep to make it 53-51 with 7:29 to play.
- The Beacons never had an opportunity to tie or take the lead after that, however, as BGSU scored on six of its next seven trips to pull away.
- Carie Weinman paced Valpo in scoring for the third time this year, finishing with 15 points, including three 3-pointers. She also tied for team-high honors with three steals.
- Valpo shot 38.5% from the field. The Beacons did connect on 11-of-32 from deep, matching a season high for 3-pointers made.
- Eight different Valpo players connected on a 3-pointer Sunday.
- Meanwhile, BGSU shot 50% from the field and grabbed 13 offensive rebounds, which the Falcons turned into 17 second-chance points.
...at Western Michigan
- Valpo started the game strong offensively, scoring on five of its first six possessions of the game and leading by as many as five points.
- WMU ended the first quarter on an 11-2 run to lead 24-20 10 minutes in.
- Valpo scored six early points in the second quarter to briefly tie the game, but went scoreless for over 8:30, allowing the Broncos a 40-28 lead at halftime.
- Western Michigan’s lead was 61-43 at the end of the third and reached as much as 23 points in the fourth quarter.
- Grace White led the way for Valpo with 16 points, hitting 6-of-10 from the floor, including four 3-pointers to match her career high. She also paced Valpo’s effort on the boards with seven rebounds.
- One game after moving into the program’s all-time top-five for career assists, Shay Frederick dished out nine assists on Monday to set a career high.
- Valpo enjoyed a season-best effort from the 3-point line, connecting on 11-of-29 (37.9%) from deep with six different players hitting at least one triple.
- The Beacons outshot WMU from the floor, hitting at a 44.7% clip to the Broncos’ 41.1% accuracy. WMU enjoyed a large edge at the foul line, going 16-of-19 as opposed to Valpo’s 1-of-2.
- Valpo out-rebounded its opponent for the first time this season, holding a 31-26 advantage on the glass.
- Valpo committed a season-worst 22 turnovers and forced a season-low 10 miscues by WMU. The 12-turnover discrepancy led to a 23-7 advantage for WMU in points off turnovers.
- The Beacons face a quick turnaround, flying to South Dakota for a Friday night game.
- Valpo will then step away from competition during final exam week, returning to action Sunday, Dec. 19 at Morehead State.
...at the ARC
- Wednesday is the third of four non-conference home games and 13 home games in total this year for the Beacons.
- Valpo posted a 5-6 record at the ARC last season.
- Notre Dame enters Wednesday’s game at 7-2 overall this year and is 1-0 in ACC play. The Fighting Irish most recently dropped a 73-54 decision at powerhouse UConn.
- The Fighting Irish were picked sixth in the ACC preseason poll after posting a 10-10 overall record last season.
- Five Notre Dame players are averaging in double figures in scoring early on this season, paced by 13.7 ppg from Maddy Westbeld, who also is averaging 7.3 rebounds/game.
Facing Ranked Foes
- Wednesday will mark the 48th time in program history that Valpo has taken on a nationally-ranked team.
- Valpo holds just one win in program history over a nationally-ranked opponent - a 71-60 victory over #21/23 Purdue at the ARC on Dec. 10, 2008.
- Wednesday’s game will be the 19th time a top-25 team has visited the ARC for a women’s basketball game.
- This will be the eighth time in Notre Dame’s 13 visits to the ARC that it has been nationally ranked when coming to Valpo.
Suiting Up Again and Again
- Sixth-year forward Caitlin Morrison cracked Valpo’s career top-10 for games played at UIC.
- Morrison made her 119th appearance in the Valpo uniform last time out at Bowling Green, moving into solo ninth place in program history.
- When she suits up against Notre Dame Wednesday, Morrison will move into a tie for sixth with Amber Schober, Lauren Bechtold and Tamra Braun.
- Morrison has started in 115 of her 119 appearances.
- She is just six games shy of reaching Kathryn Knoester’s program record of 125 career games played.
Frederick Approaches 1K; Climbs Assists Chart
- Junior guard Shay Frederick is nearing a scoring milestone.
- With her 11 points last time out, Frederick now owns 976 career points, just 24 shy of 1,000 for her career.
- Frederick moved into 19th place in program history in career scoring at Bowling Green and is just two points shy of 18th position.
- When she hits 1,000 career points, Frederick will become the 17th player in program history to reach the milestone. She will also become just the second player all-time at Valpo with at least 1,000 points and 300 assists.
- After dishing out five assists last time out at BGSU, Frederick now has 384 career assists, good for fifth in program history. Next up is Laura Richards in fourth position with 392 career assists.
Connecting From Deep
- After not reaching double figures in 3-pointers in any of the season’s first five games, Valpo has connected on 11 triples in each of its last two games - at Western Michigan and at Bowling Green.
- Valpo has now hit 10 or more 3-pointers in 38 games over head coach Mary Evans’ four seasons.
- The longest stretch of games with double-digit 3-pointers is four straight, which Valpo accomplished in Evans’ first season at the helm.
- The last two seasons have featured a combined 29 wins for Valpo, including many notable victories.
- The 2020-21 squad counted some big wins among its 12 victories, including a pair of literal B1G wins, as the Brown and Gold beat multiple Big Ten teams in the same season for the first time in program history.
- Entering the season without a win over a Power Five program since 2012-13, Valpo won at Illinois for its first-ever win over the Illini, and followed four days later with a road win at Purdue - the second win in program history over the Boilermakers.
- Valpo became the first women’s basketball program with multiple nonconference road wins at Big Ten programs since 2017-18.
- The team picked up some big wins once the schedule flipped to Missouri Valley Conference play as well last season, as three of Valpo’s seven conference victories came over teams in the top-100 of the NET.
- 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. It 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 ranked sixth nationally.
- Valpo’s 17 wins in 2019-20 made it the program’s winningest campaign since 2006-07.
- The wins in 2019-20 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 2019-20 9-9 in MVC play – its first .500 or better record in league play since 2008-09.
- In her time at the helm of the Valpo program, head coach Mary Evans’ teams have become known for their propensity to shoot 3-pointers.
- Evans’ first three seasons at the helm have seen Valpo’s top-3 single-season total 3-pointers made, including a program-record 276 in her first season in 2018-19 - a mark which ranks seventh in MVC history.
- Valpo has ranked among the top-25 in the nation in 3-pointers/game all three years, with the 2020-21 squad setting a program single-season record by averaging 9.0 triples/game.
- Prior to Evans’ arrival, Valpo had made 14 or more 3-pointers in a game just nine times in program history.
- In the three seasons with her at the helm, Valpo owns nine more games with 14+ triples, including twice matching the program single-game record of 17.
- 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 has averaged at least 8.9 steals/game in each of Evans’ three seasons.
- Each of the last two years has seen Valpo rank among the top-40 teams nationally in steals/game.
- Carie Weinman has led the MVC in steals in each of the last two seasons. She ranked 16th nationally last year, averaging 2.9 steals/game.
- Valpo tallied double figures in steals 12 times in 25 games in 2020-21, after doing so 16 times the previous season.
- With 300 steals, the 2019-20 squad 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 Look at the Non-Conference
- Head coach Mary Evans has put together a challenging non-conference schedule to help prepare Valpo for the grind of MVC play.
- The non-conference slate features five teams which finished within the top-100 of the NCAA NET ranking last season, including three teams which appeared in the NCAA Tournament.
- Valpo will take on four MAC opponents, including the reigning regular season (Bowling Green) and tournament (Central Michigan) champions.
- The Beacons will host Notre Dame at the ARC on Dec. 8.
- Valpo also has trips to two programs - Michigan State and South Dakota - which finished in the top-40 of the NET last year.
- Four regular starters return for Valpo in 2021-22, including a trio who own extensive streaks of consecutive games started.
- Shay Frederick, Caitlin Morrison and Carie Weinman were three of the four players who started every game a season ago.
- Frederick has started 73 consecutive games dating back to the middle of her freshman year, while Morrison and Weinman have made 61 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.
- Grace White started all 22 games she was available for last season as well.
- Valpo had a shakeup in the starting lineup for the first time this season at WMU, inserting Cara VanKempen in place of Maya Dunson.