Valparaiso (3-5, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #9: Saturday, December 9 - 6:30 p.m. CT
at #8/8 Louisville (8-1, 0-0 Big East)
KFC Yum! Center (22,000)
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso women’s basketball team hits the road for the second of a four-game road trip on Saturday evening when the Crusaders take on #8/8 Louisville at 6:30 p.m.
Last Time Out: The Valparaiso women's basketball team used a 20-5 run over a six-minute span of the second half against IPFW to build a 14-point lead and held on for the win as the Crusaders beat the Mastodons 82-73on Tuesday night in Fort Wayne. Gina Lange led the way with 18 points, while Tabitha Gerardot added 17 points and Charae Richardson had a career-high 15.
The Road Ahead: The Crusaders take 11 days between games for final exams. Valpo then plays back-to-back contests Dec. 19-20 at Western Michigan and at Michigan. The Crusaders then play their first home game in four weeks when they host Ball State Dec. 29.
Following the Crusaders: Saturday night’s game will be broadcast live on WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso, with Joey Basil and Renee’ Turpa on the call. A link for the live audio, as well as live stats, will be available through www.valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach Tracey Dorow: Tracey Dorow was named the seventh head women’s basketball coach in Crusader program history in April of 2012. Dorow arrived at Valpo after spending 14 seasons as the head coach at Ferris State University, guiding the Bulldogs to four NCAA Division II Tournament appearances, two Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division championships, and four 20-win seasons. In her 14 seasons at Ferris State, Dorow compiled a 232-163 (.587) record, including a 23-7 mark in 2011-2012 while guiding the Bulldogs to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Series Notes: Saturday’s matchup will be the first between Valpo and Louisville. The Crusaders are 0-2 all-time against teams from Kentucky, with both games coming against Eastern Kentucky. Valparaiso is looking for its first-ever win against a Big East opponent. The Crusaders are 0-52 all-time against current Big East teams.
Scouting Louisville: The #8/8 Cardinals enter Saturday’s game at 8-1 on the year. Last time out, Louisville suffered its first loss of the year, falling 48-47 to Kentucky. Shoni Schimmel led the Cardinals with 13 points and four assists. Schimmel paces the Cardinals with 13.2 points per game, and Sara Hammond adds 11.0 points per contest. Hammond leads the Cardinal effort on the boards with 7.8 rebounds per game.
On the Road Again: Saturday night’s game is Valpo’s second in a stretch of four road games in a row, following the quick return home against Saint Louis on Saturday. This is the second four-game road stretch of the year and closes out the run of eight road games within a nine-game stretch. Out of the eight road games, however, seven games are against teams either in Indiana or in states adjacent to Indiana, with the Duke trip the only long-distance trip for the Crusaders.
A Long Road Trip: Last Tuesday’s game at Western Illinois marked the last in a stretch of four straight road games for the Crusaders which started November 17 at IUPUI. The trip was the Crusaders’ first stretch of four consecutive true road games since Dec. 30, 2010-Jan. 8, 2011, while the last time Valpo had played four straight true road games outside of league play came Nov. 9-18, 2007.
Winning Her Debut: Head coach Tracey Dorow made her regular season debut a winning one on Friday, Nov. 17 by defeating Indiana. Dorow became just the second coach in Crusader women’s basketball history to win their Valpo debut on the sidelines, joining Dick Briars, whose 1983-1984 squad downed Hillsdale 71-67 in its season opener. With the win over Purdue Calumet, Dorow became the first Crusader women’s coach to win each of her first two games.
Downing the Big Ten: Valpo’s win over Indiana was just the second in program history over the Hoosiers, both of which have come at the ARC. The Crusaders previously defeated IU on Dec. 7, 1999 by a final of 64-60. Valpo’s last victory against a Big Ten team also came at the ARC on Dec. 10, 2008 over Purdue.
Roster Makeup: In her first season, Dorow is leading a squad which features eight returning letterwinners, including a trio of starters from last season. Five players are donning the Crusader uniform for the first time alongside the eight returnees as well.
Gerardot Named Preseason Second Team: Leading the returning starters is junior forward Tabitha Gerardot, a preseason Second Team All-League choice. Gerardot, an All-Newcomer Team selection following her freshman season, led the Crusaders and finished tenth in the league in scoring at 13.0 points per game in 2011-2012. Gerardot also averaged 6.8 rebounds per contest, second-best on the team
A Tough Schedule: The Crusaders have put together a challenging slate for the 2012-2013 campaign, including five contests against NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago. Highlights include the season opener at the ARC against Indiana, a game at perennial top-ten program Duke, and contests on the road versus 2012 NCAA Tournament qualifiers Michigan and Louisville.
Hitting the Glass: Valpo excelled early in the season in the rebounding tallies and currently ranks second in the Horizon League with a +3.9 average rebounding margin. The Crusaders out-rebounded Indiana in their season opener by 12 boards and had a massive +26 edge on the glass in the win over Purdue Calumet. Valpo has especially been active on the offensive boards, pulling down at least 11 offensive rebounds in each of its first eight games. Last time out, the Crusaders pulled down 13 offensive rebounds as they out-rebounded IPFW, 32-22.
Sharing is Caring: The Crusaders currently rank second in the league in the early going in assists/game, averaging 14.4 helpers per contest, led by just 4.0 assists per game from Charae Richardson. Each of its eight games have seen Valpo assist on at least half of its made field goals. Last time out against IPFW, Valpo tallied 14 assists on 27 field goals.
Connecting From the Floor: Valpo had its best game of the year from the floor last time out against IPFW, converting on 27-of-54 (50%) from the field. The Crusaders still struggled from behind the 3-point line, however, hitting just 4-of-12 from downtown.
No Long Range Attack: The Crusaders have proven early this season to be one of the nation’s stingiest teams in terms of allowing 3-point attacks. Valpo’s opponents are shooting just .248 from behind the arc this year, the second-best mark in the Horizon League.
Earning League Honors: Sophomore Shaquira Scott showed little rust on the basketball court in her return after playing just 10 games last season due to injury. Scott was named the Horizon League Player of the Week following the first weekend of play after leading the Crusaders with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting in the win over IU. The sophomore was Valpo’s first player to earn weekly honors from the league office since Ashley Varner on Dec. 28, 2009.
Leading the Way: Junior Tabitha Gerardot, who led the Crusaders in scoring and finished second on the team in rebounding a year ago, has consistently been among Valpo’s leaders on a game-by-game basis this year. Gerardot has paced Valpo in scoring four times in the first eight games, and has at least tied for team-high honors on the glass six times. The junior posted a double-double (18 pts, 12 rebs) against Purdue Calumet and has been in double figures in scoring in seven of Valpo’s eight games. Last time out, Gerardot posted 17 points and six rebounds.
Back in the Lineup: Senior guard Laura Richards, who averaged 37.5 minutes per game a season ago and was averaging 32 minutes per game this year, returned to the starting lineup against Saint Louis after missing the last three games due to injury. Richards played 25 minutes in the loss to the Billikens.
Lange Posts Big Game: Senior Gina Lange tied her career high Tuesday at IPFW, finishing the night with a team-high 18 points. Lange, who is now averaging 8.5 points per game this year, also added a team-high six rebounds, and 10-of-10 shooting at the free throw line.