Game #5: Friday, November 23, 4 p.m. CST
Valpo (0-4, 0-0 Horizon)
vs. Eastern Kentucky (1-0, 0-0 OVC)
Alico Arena (4,500) - Fort Myers, Fla.
Florida Gulf Coast Tournament First Round
Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso looks for its first victory of the season on Friday evening as the Crusaders head to the Sunshine State to battle Eastern Kentucky in the first round of the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament. The host Eagles will meet Central Connecticut State in the second first round contest with the championship and consolation games to be held on Saturday.
On the Air: Friday’s game against Eastern Kentucky 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: Eastern Kentucky and Valparaiso have met just once before with the Lady Colonels posting a 70-55 victory over the Crusaders on December 14, 2001. The game was a first round contest of the Cyclone Classic held in Ames, Iowa.
Wrapping Up Xavier: The Musketeers jumped out to a 29-8 lead and held the Crusaders to just 28.6% shooting from the floor for the game as Xavier defeated Valpo 64-53 on Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati, Ohio. Valpo was able to cut the deficit nearly in half in the second stanza, but was unable to make a big run. Sarah Ott registered her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds while Agnieszka Kulaga led the Crusaders with 12 points. Aimee Litka also scored 10 points for the Brown and Gold. Ta’Shia Phillips led Xavier with 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting while also grabbing 12 rebounds. Jeri Taylor added 16 points and four assists.
Scouting Eastern Kentucky: The Lady Colonels opened their season on Satuday with a 90-59 victory over West Virginia Tech. Eastern Kentucky had four players tally double figures in the opener, led by Crystal Jones’ 16 points and 11 rebounds. Jones was the team’s top scorer last season as well, posting 16.1 points per night. Niki Avery added 15 points while Ashley Cazee had 14 points for the Lady Colonels in their opener. Eastern Kentucky was 12-18 in 2006-2007, finishing with a 9-11 mark in the Ohio Valley, placing seventh. The Lady Colonels are again picked to finish seventh this season.
Valpo Looks for First Tournament Championship in 22 Years: Valparaiso has not won an in-season tournament since the 1985-1986 campaign when the Crusaders won all three games at the Lady Redmen Classic in Kenosha, Wis., a tournament hosted by Carthage. Valpo last played in a multi-day event during the 2005-2006 season, falling in the championship of the National City Xavier Invitational to the host Musketeers.
Ott Registers First Career Double-Double: Sarah Ott had the first double-double of her career on Sunday afternoon with her 10-point, 10-rebound performance at Xavier. The redshirt-junior set a new career high on the boards against the Musketeers, having previously grabbed a personal best of seven boards earlier this season at Purdue. 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 the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament.
Free Throw Shooting Solid When Valpo Gets to the Line: Valpo is shooting 77.1% from the free throw line thus far this season, the second best percentage in the Horizon League behind Loyola’s 77.4% rate. Valpo is just 27-of-35 from the free throw line though, while Crusader opponents have attempted 101 foul shots through four games.
Crusaders Continue Shooting Well from Long Range: After setting a school record shooting 37.4% from three-point range last year, Valpo has picked up where it left off, shooting 41.2% (35-of-85) from long range in the first four games. The Crusaders made their first five triples at Purdue on the way to making 11-of-17 (64.7%) on the night. It was the fourth best shooting percentage in a single game in school history (minimum 10 attempts). Valpo leads the Horizon League making 8.75 triples per contest.
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.
Ray Tallies First Double-Figure Scoring Night at Cincy: Freshman Rashida Ray scored 12 points, the first double-figure effort of her career, in her third collegiate game at Cincinnati. The rookie hit 4-of-7 three-point field goals for the Crusaders in 20 minutes of action coming in off of the bench.
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. Not one Crusader is averaging in double figures at this point in the season, with Aimee Litka leading the way tallying 9.8 points per night. Six Crusaders are averaging between 9.8 and 6.5 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.