Game #6: Saturday, November 24, 4 p.m. CST
Valpo (0-5, 0-0 Horizon) vs.
Central Connecticut State (0-4, 0-0 NEC)
Alico Arena (4,500) - Fort Myers, Fla.
FGCU Thanksgiving Classic Consolation Game
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso will try to bounce back from a two-point loss against Eastern Kentucky on just 24 hours rest as the Crusaders face former Mid-Continent Conference foe Central Connecticut State in the Consolation Game of the FGCU Thanksgiving Holiday Classic on Saturday. Both teams enter the contest looking for their first victory of the season.
On the Air: Saturday’s game against Central Connecticut State will be carried live online at www.sportsjuice.com. WVUR’s Eric Brooks and Matt Engelbrecht will call all the action live from Alico Arena. All 29 regular season games will be broadcast live over the internet in addition to many games on the radio.
Series Notes: Valpo leads the all-time series against Central Connecticut State 6-0, with all six meetings occurring when the Blue Devils and Crusaders were both members of the Mid-Continent Conference from 1995-1997. Valpo won the last meeting 66-46, in New Britain, Conn. on February 12, 1997. The Crusaders are 3-0 against the Blue Devils both at home and in New Britain, with the two schools meeting for the first time on a neutral court.
Wrapping Up Eastern Kentucky: The Lady Colonels went on a late 11-2 run to rally from a five-point deficit and held on to defeat the Crusaders 66-64 on Friday evening in the opening round of the FGCU Thanksgiving Classic. Valpo trailed by as many as eight in the second half before rallying to take a 57-52 lead with 5:39 to play. A Crystal Jones jumper with 22.5 seconds remaining gave Eastern Kentucky a one-point lead and, following another Lady Colonel free throw, Valpo’s final attempt missed the mark. Aimee Litka led Valpo with 16 points while Sara Ott added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Crusaders.
Scouting Central Connecticut State: The Blue Devils suffered their fourth straight double-figure defeat on Friday night, dropping a 71-52 decision to Florida Gulf coast in the opening round. Emily Rose leads Central Connecticut State in scoring, averaging 10.8 points per contest. Danica Covington adds 9.3 points per night following her team-high 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor against the Eagles. She also leads the Blue Devils with eight rebounds per game.
Valpo Looks to Continue Tournament Success: Valparaiso has split games during in-season tournaments in seven of the last eight events the Crusaders have participated in dating back to the 1994-1995 season. The Crusaders last played in an in-season tournament during the 2005-2006 campaign, winning the opening round game of the National City Xavier Invitational before falling in the championship.
Double-Trouble for Ott: Sarah Ott had the first double-double of her career last Sunday afternoon with her 10-point, 10-rebound performance at Xavier. She followed that up on Friday with another double-double against Eastern Kentucky. Her 14 points marked a season-high for the redshirt-junior while her 12 boards set a new career high. Ott is the only active Crusader to have ever recorded a double-double.
Road Trip Coming to a Close: Valparaiso will finally get to play in the friendly confines of the Athletics-Recreation Center next Saturday, December 1, as the Crusaders host Ball State as part of the State Farm Hoosier Classic. The Crusaders will have played their first six contests away from the ARC following Saturday’s game against Central Connecticut State.
Crashing the Boards: Three different Crusaders set career highs in rebounding on Friday evening against Eastern Kentucky. Sarah Ott led the way with her 12-board performance, bettering her previous best of 10 from last Sunday at Xavier (Ohio). Aimee Litka added eight rebounds, bettering her previous best of seven set on two occasions. Freshman Ashley Varner also grabbed six rebounds, nearly doubling her season’s output. She entered the game against the Lady Colonels with seven career rebounds.
Crusaders Struggling from Long Range: After setting a school record shooting 37.4% from three-point range last year, Valpo picked up where it left off in the first two games of the season. However, the Crusaders have struggled of late, connecting on just 29.3% of their attempts (22-of-75) over the last three games.
Litka Has Career Scoring Night: Aimee Litka scored a career-high 16 points for the Brown and Gold against Eastern Kentucky, her highest scoring output of her career. The junior’s previous best effort was a 14-point effort at Indiana last season.
Freeman Winningest Coach in Valpo History: Head coach Keith Freeman’s 229 victories are not only most in Valpo history, but also ranked him a top the Mid-Continent Conference prior to the Crusaders’ move to the Horizon League.
A Three-rific Performance against Purdue: The Crusaders made their first five triples at Purdue on the way to making 11-of-17 (64.7%) three-pointers on the night. It was the fourth best shooting percentage for the team in a single game in school history (minimum 10 attempts).
Balanced Scoring Thus Far for Valpo: With Valpo graduating more than 50% of its offense from last season, the Crusaders have spread the points around this year. Aimee Litka leads Valpo scoring 11.0 points per game this season. Four more Crusaders are averaging between 9.4 and 7.8 points per game thus far this year.
Valpo Picked Fifth in Horizon League Race: Valparaiso has been tabbed to finish in fifth place in the Horizon League in its inaugural season according to the preseason poll conducted of the league’s head coaches, sports information directors, and selected media outlets. Milwaukee was picked to win the league followed by nine-time defending regular season champion Green Bay.
Who Made This Schedule?: Valparaiso is set to play 10 of its 29 regular season games against teams that participated in either the 2007 NCAA Tournament or the WNIT. In the preseason polls (USA Today and Associated Press), seven of Valpo’s opponents were either ranked or receiving votes in at least one of the two. Bowling Green was receiving votes while Purdue was ranked 20th in the USA Today coaches poll when Valpo played the Boilermakers. Xavier was also receiving votes in both polls.