Game #1: Friday, November 9, 6 p.m. CST
Valpo (0-0, 0-0 Horizon)
at Bowling Green (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Anderson Arena (4,500) - Bowling Green, Ohio
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso will open the 2007-2008 campaign on Friday evening as the Crusaders travel to Bowling Green, Ohio to battle the Falcons of Bowling Green. The game is the start of six straight games away from the Athletics-Recreation Center for the Brown and Gold to begin the season.
On the Air: Friday’s game at Bowling Green will be carried live by WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Eric Brooks and Maggie Foley will call all the action live from Anderson Arena. All 29 regular season games will be broadcast live over the internet in addition to many games on the radio.
Series Notes: The two schools will be meeting for just the third time ever and the first time since the Falcons posted a 127-99 victory over the Crusaders at the ARC on January 5, 1992. Bowling Green also won the only meeting contested at Anderson Arena, 91-79, on January 28, 1990. The two schools are slated to meet again next season in Valparaiso.
Wrapping Up Exhibition Play: The Crusaders went 2-0 in exhibition play posting a 91-48 win over Trinity Christian and an 85-66 victory over Showtime Skins. In the opener, Valpo held Trinity Christian to just nine first half points in building a 45-9 advantage at the break. Agnieszka Kulaga led the Crusaders with 16 points while Rashida Ray and Aimee Litka added 13 points each. Valpo shot 52.2% from the floor while forcing 32 turnovers. Against Showtime Skins, Litka hit 10-of-15 shots from the floor, including 6-of-9 from three-point range, on her way to 30 points. Sarah Ott added 13 points more for the Crusaders, and Valpo grabbed 16 offensive rebounds in the contest.
Scouting Bowling Green: The Falcons return six letterwinners, but just one starter, from last year’s squad which went 31-4 overall and 15-1 in the Mid-American Conference. The MAC champion, Bowling Green advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament. The Falcons won their lone exhibition game, 61-46, on Monday evening against Findlay, led by Whitney Taylor’s 17 points. Freshmen Crystal Murdaugh, Lauren Prochaska, and Chelsea Albert combined to score 25 points in the exhibition contest. The lone returning starter, Kate Achter, averaged 11.6 points and 5.1 assists while shooting 50% from the floor last season. Bowling Green went 12-1 at Anderson Arena last year.
Crusaders in Season Openers: Valpo is 10-25 all-time in season openers, with results from the 1973-1974 season unknown. Last year, the Crusaders dropped a 64-45 decision to Northwestern to open the season. Valpo is looking to snap a string which has seen the Crusaders fall in six of their last seven season openers.
Valpo Picked Fifth in Horizon League Race: Valparaiso had 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. UIC was picked one spot ahead of the Crusaders while Youngstown State is directly behind them.
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 are either ranked or receiving votes in at least one of the two.
Where’s the Scoring Coming From?: Valpo looks to replace 58% of its scoring output last season. Betsy Rietema, Tamra Braun, Carrie Myers, and Krystal Taylor combined to score 3,384 points and grab 1,838 rebounds over four years. Sarah Ott is the Crusaders’ top returning scorer and rebounder, averaging 5.9 points and 3.1 boards per game last year. Agnieszka Kulaga added 5.5 points per night for the Crusaders while Launa Hochstetler returns after scoring 5.1 points last year.
Litka Lights Up Exhibition Win: Aimee Litka unofficially set a career high with her 30 points against Showtime Skins. Her official career high was 14 points set at Indiana last season.
Young Crusaders: Sanna Helenius is Valpo’s lone senior on this year’s squad. Valpo begins the season with five juniors athletically, two sophomores, and five freshmen.
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.