Game #24: February 16, 2008, 2 p.m. CST
Valpo (11-12, 6-6 Horizon)
at Milwaukee (12-11, 7-5 Horizon)
Klotsche Center (5,000) - Milwaukee, Wis.
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso wraps up the Wisconsin swing on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders head to Milwaukee to battle the Panthers. Valpo is looking to rebound from a 65-44 loss at Green Bay on Thursday evening while also looking to avenge an earlier loss to the Panthers this season.
On the Air: Saturday’s game at Milwaukee will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) as well as online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Miles Janssen and Matt Englebrecht will call all the action live from the Klotsche Center. All 29 regular season games will be broadcast live over the internet in addition to many games on the radio. In addition, the game can be viewed live online as part of the Horizon League Network at www.horizonleaguenetwork.tv.
Series Notes: Valparaiso and Milwaukee are meeting for the ninth time in a series that dates back to February 4, 1983. The Panthers hold a 6-2 all-time series edge and won the first five meetings between the schools. Valpo won two straight, including a double-overtime 95-84 decision in 2000 before Milwaukee posted a 68-62 victory at the ARC earlier this year.
Wrapping Up Green Bay: The Phoenix closed the first half on a 16-4 run over the final 4:35 to take a 16-point halftime lead and Valpo was only able to close to within nine once in the second half as Green Bay defeated the Crusaders 65-44 on Thursday evening in Green Bay. Rachel Porath had a double-double for the Phoenix with 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead the victors. Agnieszka Kulaga scored 20 points and had four steals for the Crusaders. Valpo shot just 36.7% from the floor for the game, and just 20% from three-point range.
Scouting Milwaukee: The Panthers currently hold a one-game lead over the Crusaders in a crowded middle of the pack in the Horizon League following a 75-73 loss to Butler on Thursday evening. Tracy Edwards leads the Milwaukee offense averaging 18.9 points and 10.0 rebounds per game on the season. She scored 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Panthers against Butler. Mauika Hickman has stepped up for Milwaukee in Horizon League play, averaging 10.4 points against league foes. As a team, the Panthers lead the league in rebounding margin at +5.4 on the year.
Time Change for Season Finale at Butler: Valparaiso’s season finale at Butler has been moved to 11 a.m. CST (12 p.m. Indianapolis time) on March 8. The move occurred because of the potential for Butler to host the Horizon League Men’s Championship that evening.
A Block Party?: Valpo had recorded just 18 blocked shots all season prior to Thursday’s game at Green Bay, and just eight during Horizon League action. Against the Phoenix, the Crusaders recorded three rejections, all in the first half.
Emig Posts Career High Against UIC: Katie Emig has been turning up her game in recent weeks for the Crusaders. The redshirt-freshman scored a career-high 13 points while grabbing eight rebounds on Saturday against UIC. Over the last six games, Emig is averaging 5.5 rebounds per night after grabbing seven more at Green Bay.
From Downtown: Valpo ranks 10th nationally making 7.4 three-pointers per game. Aimee Litka is hitting 2.3 per night, ranking 60th in all of Division I. As a team, the Crusaders are hitting 34.8% from beyond the arc, ranking 60th in the nation, while Litka is 38th individually connecting at 39.8%.
Kulaga Hits For 20 Again: Agnieszka Kulaga tallied 20 points for the Crusaders in the loss at Green Bay, her sixth 20+ scoring night of the season. The junior entered the season with a career high of 18 points over her first two seasons with the Brown and Gold, and had only scored 10 or more points six times total.
A Model of Consistency: Aimee Litka continues to produce double figure scoring games for the Crusaders. The junior has tallied 10 or more points in 20 of 23 games for Valpo this season and is sixth in the Horizon League in scoring averaging 14.0 points per game. Against league foes, Litka has stepped her production up a bit, scoring 15.1 points per night.
Litka Moves into Top-10 on Single Season Treys List: Aimee Litka drained two more three-pointers against Green Bay, moving into 10th place on Valpo’s single season list. The junior has hit 53 triples on the season, and is just four treys away from moving into eighth place on the yearly charts.
Overtime Success: Valparaiso’s overtime win against Green Bay was the Crusaders’ fourth straight when playing extra sessions. The Crusaders have not dropped an overtime contest since November 21, 2005, a double-overtime affair against Bradley.
Free Throw Shooting Among Nation’s Best: Valpo is currently ranked 14th in NCAA Division I shooting 76.8% from the charity stripe. Individually, Agnieszka Kulaga is 20th in the country from the line, connecting on 86.7% of her tries. Aimee Litka also ranks 36th individually, making 84.6% of her foul shots.
Kulaga Earns Three League Honors: Agnieszka Kulaga earned her third Horizon League Player of the Week honor on January 21 after averaging 17.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.0 assists in two games. Kulaga first earned the award on December 10 after turning in a then career-best 26 points against North Texas in a Crusader victory. She then earned the honor again on January 7 after pouring in a career-high 29 points while adding six steals, six rebounds, and four steals in a victory over Butler.
Making Free Throws in Crunch Time: With the game on the line in the closing minutes, Valparaiso has been solid from the free throw stripe this season. Valpo is shooting 84.1% (58-of-69) as a team from the charity stripe in the game’s final two minutes. Agnieszka Kulaga has been virtually automatic in pressure situations, connecting on 26-of-27 tosses (96.3%) with the clock winding down. She proved her ability in the clutch against Green Bay, sinking three free throws with 0.2 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.
Home Sweet Home: Valpo has had constant success at the ARC over the past seven years. This season the Crusaders are 8-3 at home and since the beginning of the 2001-2002 campaign, Valpo has posted a 70-19 (.787) record at the ARC.
Hochstetler Named Scholar-Athlete of the Week: Leah Hochstetler was the Horizon League Scholar-Athlete of the Week on December 18. The junior scored all five of her points in the final minute, including the game-winning three-pointer against South Dakota State. In the classroom, Hochstetler has a 3.87 grade point average in nursing.
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.
Valpo Adds Two for Next Year’s Class: Head coach Keith Freeman has signed two players to National Letters of Intent. Lauren Kenney is a 6’0” forward from Moorsville, Ind. who is currently playing at Lincoln Trail College. Sylwia Zabielewicz is a 6’6” center from Warsaw, Poland who is currently playing at Midland College. Both players will have two years of eligibility remaining.