Illinois State (10-9, 3-5 MVC)
at Valparaiso (6-14, 2-6 MVC)
Game No. 21 – Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019 – 1 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The first half of the Missouri Valley Conference’s double round robin will come to a close on Sunday as the Valparaiso University women’s basketball team faces the only conference opponent it has yet to meet this season: Illinois State. Valpo and the Redbirds will provide some pre-football entertainment as the game tips off at 1 p.m.
Last Time Out: The story of Friday’s win over Bradley didn’t end with Shay Frederick, but sure started there. The freshman point guard made her first career start and established career bests in points and assists, propelling Valpo to a 76-73 win over visiting Bradley. Three Valpo players scored 20 points or more on a night where the team shared the ball to the tune of 19 assists on 25 made baskets. Valpo led for most of the evening after jumping out to an 18-2 lead midway through the first quarter.
Following Valpo: Sunday’s game will be carried on ESPN3, which is available free of charge with a cable subscription. Dave Huseman (play-by-play) and Renee’ Turpa (color commentary) will serve as the on-air talent. The game will also air on WVUR, 95.1 FM Valparaiso with Garrett Willis (play-by-play) and Ben Ariano (color commentary) on the call. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com. For in-game updates, follow @ValpoWBB on Twitter.
Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans is in her first year as the head coach of the Valparaiso University women’s basketball program in 2018-2019. Evans, who spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio University, became the eighth head coach in program history on April 13, 2018. She brought 15 years of Division I experience with her to Valpo. During her time on Ohio’s staff under head coach Bob Boldon, Evans helped the Bobcats to three seasons of 22 wins or more, three postseason appearances and three Top 75 RPI finishes. The 2014-15 team established a school record with 27 wins, a 21-win improvement from two years earlier and an 18-win improvement from the previous season. The Bobcats won the 2014-15 MAC regular season and tournament titles and reached the NCAA Tournament. Evans has also coached at Youngstown State, Georgia Southern, South Carolina Aiken and Seton Hall.
Series Notes: Valpo stands at 2-4 in the all-time series after splitting the two matchups with the Redbirds last season. Valpo’s first-ever MVC win came over Illinois State on Jan. 5, 2018 at the ARC by a score of 66-60 in a game that saw Valpo go 9-of-22 (40.9 percent) from beyond the arc while limiting Illinois State to just 2-of-22 (9.1 percent) from 3-point distance. Illinois State won the game in Normal by a score of 63-55 behind a 25-of-38 (89.3 percent) performance at the free-throw line.
A Trio of 20s: Valpo accomplished the rare feat of having three players score 20 points or more in a single game in Friday’s win over Bradley. Meredith Hamlet (23), Shay Frederick (21) and Addison Stoller (20) reached that plateau in a 76-73 triumph. That was the first time in at least 20 years Valpo had three 20-point scorers in a game. Indiana State turned the trick against Grand Canyon earlier this season, though the Sycamores had the benefit of overtime. Valpo, Indiana State and Drake are the only current MVC programs that have had a game with three players scoring 20 points or more in the last two decades.
Have Yourself a Day, Shay: With two Valpo point guards now sidelined for the remainder of the season with injuries, Valpo has turned to Shay Frederick as the team’s starter. The true freshman responded in a big way in her first career start on Feb. 1 vs. Bradley, playing 38 minutes on her way to career bests in points (21) and assists (eight). Her previous watermarks in both categories came on Nov. 17 vs. St. Francis (Brooklyn), when she had 19 points and five assists. Frederick’s 21 points against the Braves were the most by a Valpo freshman since current senior Meredith Hamlet had three games with 21 points or more during her rookie campaign in 2015-16.
Other Friday Facts: Not to be lost among all the storylines on Friday were strong showings in non-scoring categories by two of Valpo’s key scorers. Grace Hales set a season best with nine rebounds, tying a career high that was established on Feb. 11 of last season at Loyola. Meredith Hamlet turned in a season-best six assists, matching her career mark that was first achieved on Dec. 18, 2017 at Eastern Illinois.
With a Win: Valpo has an opportunity to garner back-to-back victories for the second time this season and the first since Nov. 29 and Dec. 2. In addition, a triumph on Sunday would mark Valpo’s first set of consecutive conference wins since joining The Valley. The team last won back-to-back regular season conference games on Jan. 21 and Jan. 23, 2016 against Cleveland State and Youngstown State.
Continuing the Climb: The latest achievement in the storied career of Valpo senior guard Meredith Hamlet occurred on Jan. 25 at Southern Illinois as Hamlet moved into the Top 10 in program history in career scoring. She enters Sunday’s game with 1,225 career points. On Friday, she usurped Marlous Nieuwveen (1998-2002), Tabitha Gerardot (2010-2013) and Stephanie Greer (1987-1991) on the career scoring list to move into sole possession of seventh. Amber Schober (1998-2002) is currently sixth at 1,273, while Betsy Rietema (2003-2007) owns the mark needed to crack the Top 5 at 1,276.
Home Court Advantage: Sunday’s game continues Valpo’s longest homestand of the season and the first time the team has played four in a row at home since Nov. 21 through Dec. 3, 2016. Valpo hasn’t had four consecutive conference home games since the 2015-16 season.
Home Sweet Home for Hamlet: Everyone associated with Valpo’s program is happy to be in the midst of a home-heavy stretch, but perhaps no one more so than Meredith Hamlet. The senior guard is average 16.9 points per game at home versus 10.9 points per game on the road this season. She is shooting 25 percent from beyond the arc in road games but owns a 41.4 percent 3-point shooting clip in Porter County.
Tossing Up Triples: It’s become no secret that Valpo’s offense entails a large number of 3-point attempts this season. The number of 3-point tries peaked on Jan. 27 at Missouri State, as Valpo fired off a season-high 40 3-pointers, setting the JQH Arena record for attempted 3s in a game. In addition, that total ranks second in program history behind only 41 attempts on Feb. 27, 1992 vs. Wright State and set the record for 3-point attempts in a road game. This year’s team already owns three of the top four single-game 3-point attempt totals in program history. Before this season, Valpo had attempted more than 36 3s in a game just once all-time. The team has done so three times this year (vs. Bowling Green, at Drake, at Missouri State).
So You Want to be a Coach: For the second consecutive season, Valpo will have a participant in the “So You Want to be a Coach” program, hosted by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in partnership with WeCOACH. Senior Meredith Hamlet will represent Valpo this year after 2018 alum Dani Franklin did so a year ago. This marks the 17th annual “So You Want to be a Coach” program as each member will participate in a three-day workshop with speakers provided by WeCOACH on April 3-5 in conjunction with the WBCA Convention in Tampa Bay, Fla.
Damage from Distance: Valpo has equaled or bettered its opponent in made 3-pointers in 16 of the last 18 games. Valpo has made eight 3s or more 11 times this season and made 10+ triples on six occasions. Five of those contests with 10 or more made 3-pointers have come in the last six games.
Amazing Grace: Valpo junior Grace Hales reached double figures in both games on this past road trip, scoring 10 on Jan. 25 at Southern Illinois before turning in 13 on Jan. 27 at Missouri State. She had scored in double figures in three straight and seven of the last nine prior to the Feb. 1 game vs. Bradley. That nine-game stretch came after she reached double figures just twice over the first 10 games of the season. Over those nine games, Hales was the team’s leading scorer at 13.0 points per contest.
Reaching New Heights: Redshirt sophomore Addison Stoller upped her career highs in both scoring (22) and rebounding (11) on Jan. 25 at Southern Illinois, compiling her second career double-double in the process. Stoller’s first career double-double came on Dec. 16 of this season against North Dakota State. She became the first Valpo player with multiple double-doubles this year and now owns two of the team’s three double-doubles this season. Stoller bettered her previous scoring career high of 20 (Dec. 19 at Purdue Fort Wayne) and her previous rebounding personal best of 10, most recently reached on Dec. 16 of this year.
20&10: Stoller also became the first Valpo player this season to score 20 or more points and pull down 10 or more rebounds in the same game. The last Valpo player with a 20&10 game was Dani Franklin, who turned the trick on Dec. 10, 2017 against Chicago State with 23 points and 11 rebounds. This was Valpo’s first 20&10 game in Missouri Valley Conference play, as the last Valpo player to do it in a conference game was Amber Lindfors (22 points, 11 rebounds) on Feb. 2, 2017 vs. Youngstown State in Horizon League action.
Stoller Stays Steady: For the second consecutive game, Addison Stoller used a strong third quarter to propel her performance on Jan. 27 at Missouri State. After a 16-point third stanza on Jan. 25 at Southern Illinois, she busted out for 11 points in the third against the Lady Bears after scoring just one point in the first half. She reached double figures for the 11th time this season despite playing only 18 minutes.
Ella’s Emergence: Ella Ellenson is averaging 6.2 points per game, up from 3.3 points per game a year ago. She’s seen her playing time increase from 8.7 minutes per game last season to 20.9 minutes per game this season. In addition, she has attempted 46 3-pointers (15-of-46) after attempting just two all of last season.
Lineup Tracker: Shay Frederick made her first career start on Feb. 1 vs. Bradley. Addison Stoller and Meredith Hamlet have been fixtures in the starting five for all 20 games this year. Hamlet has started 109 of her 111 career games. Ellenson has started 17 times this season, while Hales has made 15 straight starts.
A Major Margin: Valpo’s victory over Evansville on Jan. 20 featured a 44-point gap between the two teams (93-49). At the time, it was the largest margin of victory by a Missouri Valley Conference team against a Division-I opponent this season. The only more lopsided win for a Valley squad this year at that point was Drake’s 48-point triumph over Clarke (NAIA) on Dec. 4. In addition, it was Valpo’s largest margin of victory in nine years – an 80-28 win over Youngstown State on Feb. 13, 2010.
Sharp Shooting: Valpo shot 58.3 percent in the win over the Purple Aces, the team’s best clip since Dec. 15, 2017 vs. IU Northwest (.590) and best against a D-I opponent since March 8, 2014 vs. Wright State (.596). The Jan. 20 showing cracked the Top 10 in program history for single-game field goal percentage, ranking 10th all-time.
Cracking the Scoring Column: The second half of the Jan. 20 win over Evansville saw a pair of players crack the scoring column for the first time in their collegiate careers. Nicole Johanson, who had previously scored in an exhibition game against IU Northwest, had a bucket, a block and a rebound in six minutes, all career firsts in regular season play. Valpo volleyball star turned women’s basketball walk-on Katherine Carlson scored her first collegiate points in the most Katherine Carlson way possible – on a hustle play. She crashed the boards off her own 3-point miss and converted the put-back despite being fouled late in the third quarter for two of her eventual five points. She also had four rebounds in just 12 minutes of action.
3-Point Watch: Meredith Hamlet has made 190 career 3-pointers, recently passing Dani Franklin (2014-2018) for fourth in program history. The mark needed to crack the top three is 215 (Carrie Myers, 2003-2007).
Ascending the Assist Chart: Redshirt junior point guard Hannah Schaub finished her season with 289 career assists and currently sits in ninth in program history. She usurped Lauren Bechtold (287, 2002-2006) for ninth on Jan. 27 at Missouri State. Meredith Hamlet also ranks in the Top 20 in career assists with 235. Jeanette Gray is 17th with 238.
Inside the Redbirds
- Led in scoring by Tete Maggett at 16.5 points per game and rebounding by Simone Goods at 7.8 per game. Goods is also turning in 16.4 points per contest.
- Maggett has earned the MVC Newcomer of the Week three times and Player of the Week once this season. The junior guard has scored in double figures in all but one MVC game.
- Maggett and Goods rank fourth and fifth respectively in the MVC in scoring.
- Coming off a 62-59 loss at Loyola on Friday that saw Maggett register another double-double with 24 points and 12 boards.
- Under the direction of second-year head coach Kristen Gillespie, who led her team to its highest win total in five years with 14 in her first season.
- Lead the league in scoring defense by permitting just 60.4 points per game.
- Picked to finish fifth in the MVC Preseason Poll.
Inside the Assistants
- All members of Valpo’s coaching staff are in their first season in 2018-19.
- Mary Gleason has returned to the collegiate ranks after a stint as the head girls basketball coach at St. Piux X High School in Houston, Texas. She was the head coach at Houston Baptist from 2010-2013, guiding the team during the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division I. She has been an assistant at Dartmouth College (2007-2010), Princeton University (2003-2007) and New York University (2000-2003).
- Gabby Johnson joined Valpo’s staff after a tenure as the head coach at Dominican University in River Forest, Ill. that began in 2012. She was an assistant at Northern Kentucky from 2010-2012. During her playing career, Johnson helped Thomas More to an impressive 99-16 record.
- Tyeasha Moss previously served as a graduate assistant at Ohio University, where Mary Evans was an assistant coach. During her playing days, Moss was a standout at Xavier, where she led the Musketeers to three A-10 regular season championships, two undefeated conference regular seasons and an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2009.
- Director of Basketball Operations Sean Eaton graduated from Valpo with a master’s in sports administration in May 2018 after completing his undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
- Graduate assistant Kaylin Speedy served as a manager for the Purdue women’s basketball program from 2014-2018 and was the head manager by the end of her time in West Lafayette.
- Athletic trainer Carrie McKiddy is in her fourth season working with the Valpo women’s basketball program and previously served as an athletic trainer at the University of Illinois from 2005-2011.
Who’s Next: Coopersville (Mich.) High School senior Cara VanKempen has signed her National Letter of Intent to play for Valpo next season. The two-time all-conference performer has also garnered all-area first team and all-state honorable mention recognition. As a junior last season, VanKempen averaged 14 points, six rebounds and three assists per game. The daughter of a coach who has played for her father from a young age, VanKempen became the first high school recruit to sign with Valpo under first-year head coach Mary Evans’ watch.
Champions in Classroom: The Valpo women’s basketball team has developed a tradition of having players thrive academically. The 2017-2018 season saw Valpo have 11 players finish the spring semester with a GPA of 3.0 or better. Two players were named MVC Scholar-Athletes of the Week during the season and two were recognized as part of either the MVC Scholar-Athlete team or MVC Scholar-Athlete honorable mention. The 2018-2019 team has players with the following majors: biology, biomedical engineering, communications, public relations, marketing, healthcare leadership, health sciences, exercise science, psychology, finance, elementary education, business management and secondary/physical education.
Champions in Community: The program also has a commitment to serving the community. During their time on campus, players have visited elementary school students and wrote letters back and forth to encourage and promote healthy lifestyles as pen pals. In addition, Valpo women’s basketball players assembled over 1,000 informational packages for runners and spectators at the Chicago Marathon as part of the team’s annual Pack-a-thon. Athletes on the team engaged the greater Valparaiso community by volunteering and organizing supervision of the Valparaiso Popcorn Fest’s Little Kernel Puff Run. Valpo players ran with children to the finish line of the event and helped set up the race. Valparaiso was the hometown of Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn company. Numerous Valpo players have also volunteered their time at the Valpo Boys & Girls Club.
- Shortly after Valpo’s new coaching staff was assembled, the group sat down to discuss a program hashtag. Despite being new to Valpo, the staff members were well educated on the University’s history and tradition. That’s how #RingTheBell was born.
- Head Coach Mary Evans: “Ringing the bell here at Valpo is something you do when you graduate, so the concept speaks to our goal of being successful both on the court and in the classroom. We want to be one of the best programs in our conference and continue to have great success academically and in our personal lives. My message to our players is that whatever they do in life, it’s important to put in the time and effort to be very good at it. That’s what #RingTheBell has become to us.”
- Senior Allison Schofield: “I love the idea by our coaching staff and think it’s a tremendous concept. Ringing the bell is synonymous with Valparaiso University as a whole and has been for quite some time. This allows us to become closely associated with something that is University wide rather than separating ourselves as women’s basketball. To me, #RingTheBell means victory and finishing the close games that we’ve struggled to finish in the past.”
- Senior Meredith Hamlet: “To me, #RingTheBell is about winning games. That’s our goal. We have confidence that we can win the games on our schedule and we have a fair shot to beat every team we play. The team that works the hardest is going to win.”
- Redshirt Sophomore Addison Stoller: “#RingTheBell gives us a consistent message and establishes a trend that we want to continue. As a program, we want to be consistent in everything we do, from our messaging to our play on the court. We’ve seen our coaches get excited about ringing the bell and that’s allowed us to dedicate ourselves to it as well.”
A Look Back at 2017-18
- Valpo won a league tournament game for the sixth time in the last seven years by topping Loyola in the first round of Hoops in the Heartland before falling to eventual conference champion Drake in the second round.
- The program finished with 13 wins, the team’s highest win total since 2008-09, when it won 16 games. The team also equaled its highest conference win total since 2009-10 and had the most road wins in a single season since the 2011-2012 campaign.
- Valpo finished with the second-best free-throw percentage in program history at 76.0 and had its highest scoring average (65.1) since 2007-2008 (66.3).
- Senior Dani Franklin closed out her noteworthy career and was named to the 2017-18 All-MVC First Team and Scholar-Athlete First Team following the season. She finished second in program history in career points.
On the court…
- Matched a career high and set a season best with six assists on Feb. 1 vs. Bradley while also pouring in a game-high 23 points.
- Cracked the Top 10 in program history in career scoring with a 17-point effort on Jan. 25 at Southern Illinois.
- Knocked down seven of her eight field-goal attempts on Jan. 20 vs. Evansville, accumulating 17 points and a team-high six boards.
- Burst out of a minor slump with a 26-point effort on Jan. 18 vs. Indiana State that also featured four assists, five rebounds and three steals. She knocked down seven shots in that game while moving into the Top 20 in program history in career assists.
- Held the outright team lead in rebounding for the first time since Jan. 14, 2017 (10 at Youngstown State) on Dec. 19 at Purdue Fort Wayne, pulling down six boards.
- Led all scorers with 15 points and pulled down a season-high eight rebounds on Dec. 16 vs. North Dakota State.
- Played in her 100th career game and made her 98th career start on Dec. 8 vs. Miami (Ohio).
- Was named the MVC Player of the Week on Dec. 3 after averaging 22.7 points per game over three games the previous week. She became the first Valpo basketball player – men’s or women’s – to earn a Valley Player of the Week distinction. She was the first Valpo women’s player to win a conference player of the week award since 2013.
- Upped her season high to 28 points on Nov. 29 at Chicago State while also racking up five assists, four steals and draining five 3-pointers.
- Turned in a then season-high 26 points on Nov. 26 vs. Toledo, three points shy of a career high that she has reached on three occasions.
- Became the 15th player in program history to reach the 1,000 point milestone on Nov. 17 vs. St. Francis Brooklyn. Her milestone point came on a made layup with 9:22 remaining in the third quarter. She finished the game with 18 points.
- Scored 12 of her game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter in the home opener on Nov. 11 against North Dakota.
- Started the season opener for the fourth consecutive year on Nov. 7 at UIC and swished in a career-high 12 free throws while scoring a team-high 19 points in that contest.
- Set the school record for made 3-pointers by a freshman in a single season in 2015-16 with 69, a mark that ranked fifth overall in program history.
- Named to the 2015-16 Horizon League All-Freshman Team and received 2017-18 MVC Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention.
- Has enjoyed numerous notable single-game performances, including reaching 29 points on three occasions – Dec. 15, 2017 vs. IU Northwest, Jan. 14, 2017 at Youngstown State and Dec. 30, 2015 at Northern Kentucky. Perhaps her most memorable game, however, was Feb. 11 of last season at Loyola, when she exploded for 19 points in the fourth quarter to help Valpo to a comeback victory after being held scoreless for the first three quarters.
- Was featured as part of the MVC Scholar-Athlete Spotlight on Nov. 21.
- Comes from a Valpo family as the third of three sisters to play women’s basketball at Valpo. Oldest sister Elizabeth graduate transferred to Valpo for the 2013-2014 season after starting her career at Oakland. Middle sister Annemarie also went from Oakland to Valpo for the 2013-14 season but sat out that year due to transfer rules. Annemarie played the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, the second of which was Meredith’s freshman year.
- The Valpo legacy within the family goes beyond the sister trio as both of her sisters have married former Valpo athletes. Elizabeth is married to former Valpo men’s basketball player Bobby Capobianco, who closed out his collegiate career with the 2013-14 season. This past summer, Annemarie married Jake Hanson, who played baseball at Valpo as recently as 2017.
- Serves as the co-President of Valpo’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSSA) on campus.
- Traveled to Ethiopia this past summer as part of Athletes in Action, a 10-day trip that sends a team of collegiate women’s basketball players from across the country to compete and train alongside Ethiopian university and professional teams. Athletes in Action is a faith-based group and the goal of the trip was to teach people about the glory of God. The players did missionary work, played against the Ethiopian national team, visited schools, attended church and shared their testimony during the 10-day stay in Africa.
- Majoring in public relations with minors in sports management and professional writing.
On the court…
- Was one of four Valpo players in double figures with 13 points in a lopsided win over Evansville on Jan. 20.
- Tied a career high with four made 3s on Jan. 11 at UNI, sharing the team lead with 13 points.
- Saw her first action since Nov. 17 on Jan. 6 at Loyola after being sidelined by an injury. Had three points in 16 minutes in her return to the court.
- Went off for a career-high 16 points on six made field goals, also a career watermark, on Nov. 14 at Illinois. Drained four 3-pointers, matching a career high.
- Made her first career start on Nov. 7 at UIC and played a career-high 29 minutes, going 2-for-2 both from the field and from 3-point range.
- Notched a career-high 15 points and led the team in scoring in the final game of the 2016-17 season, a Horizon League Tournament matchup with Green Bay. She went 4-for-4 from 3-point range in that contest.
- Appeared in 62 games over her first three seasons.
- Graduated on Sunday, Dec. 9 with a major in biology and minor in business. Has begun her Master of Business Administration.
- Has garnered experience in her field by doing job shadows for pharmaceutical and medical device sale companies during her time on campus. She shadowed with Eli Lilly two summers ago and Stryker this past summer.
On the court…
- Incurred a season-ending injury on Jan. 27 at Missouri State.
- Dished out a season-high six assists in a win over Evansville on Jan. 20.
- Moved into the Top 10 in program history for career assists by dishing out three assists on Jan. 16 vs. Indiana State while also registering a season-high 14 points.
- Knocked down four triples on her way to a season-high 13 points on Dec. 21 vs. Bowling Green. Also dished out five assists to equal a season watermark.
- Turned in a balanced stat line of eight points, four assists, five rebounds and two steals in a win at Purdue Fort Wayne on Dec. 19.
- Equaled a career best with a game-high four steals on Nov. 26 vs. Toledo.
- Had a season-high 11 points to go along with four assists, no turnovers, two steals and two made 3s on Nov. 16 at Morehead State. Led her team in scoring for the first time since the fourth game of her collegiate career. In addition, her four assists allowed her to reach the 250-assist mark for her collegiate career, becoming just the 14th player in program history to do so.
- Had a team-high five assists on Nov. 14 at Illinois to crack to Top 15 in program history for career assists.
- Hauled in a team-high six rebounds in the season opener on Nov. 7 at UIC, leading the team in boards for the first time since March 11, 2016, when she had seven in a Horizon League Tournament game against Northern Kentucky. Started the season opener for the fourth straight season.
- Has returned to the court after suffering a season-ending injury in the second game of the 2017-2018 season.
- Enters Friday ranked tied for 15th in program history in career assists with 246, equaling former teammate Lexi Miller (2012-2016). Megan Newcomer (1996-2000) sits in 14th at 247.
- Had 134 assists during the 2016-2017 season, the seventh-most in a single season in program history.
- Has twice knocked down five 3-pointers in a single game, doing so on Nov. 28, 2015 vs. Northern Colorado and March 10, 2016 vs. Detroit.
- Member of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee
- Older sister Nicole played basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and younger sister Danielle is a sophomore on the basketball team at Concordia University, St. Paul.
- Is majoring in marketing with minors in business analytics and communication.
On the court…
- Equaled a career high and set a season best with nine rebounds on Feb. 1 vs. Bradley.
- Matched a career high with 21 points on Jan. 20 vs. Evansville. She knocked down eight of her nine field-goal attempts, tying for sixth in program history for single-game field-goal percentage
- Finished three points shy of a career high with 18 on Jan. 13 at Drake. She scored 15 of those points in the second half on her way to equaling a career watermark with seven made field goals. She also set career bests in assists (4) and steals (4) in a game against a team receiving votes nationally.
- Buried five 3s on Dec. 21 vs. Bowling Green to lead the team and contribute to the team’s total of 17, which equaled a school record. That matched a career high and marked the third time in her career Hales hit five 3s in a game.
- Hit a key 3-pointer in the final minute of a four-point win at Purdue Fort Wayne on Dec. 19 to cap a 17-point output.
- Had her best day in a Valpo uniform on Dec. 2 vs. Eastern Illinois with 21 points, seven made field goals, three made 3s, seven rebounds, two assists and one turnover.
- Made her first start of the season on Nov. 26 against Toledo, marking the third straight year she has started exactly one game.
- Scored all 12 of her points in the second half to become one of four Valpo players in double figures on Nov. 14 at Illinois.
- Has been named the team’s Sixth Player of the Year each of the last two seasons.
- Appeared in all 31 games last season.
- Ranked second on the team in free-throw percentage last year at .863 and is first among returnees.
- Averaged 8.0 points per game last season, third on the team and second among returnees.
- Father Ross played football and basketball at Indiana University. He played for the Hoosiers during the 1993-1994 season, a team that was under the direction of coach Bob Knight.
- In high school, was a four-time all-conference performer in three different sports – basketball, volleyball and track and field.
- Participated in a spring tournament with the Valpo volleyball team during her freshman year when the volleyball squad was plagued by injuries and did not have enough healthy bodies to compete.
- Is on track to finish her undergraduate degree in just three years and graduate in May. Plans to remain at Valpo to play her senior season and pursue a master’s degree.
- Majoring in communications with a journalism concentration and sport management minor. Is interning in Valpo’s sports information department and has aspirations of a career in sports media or athletic communications.
On the court…
- Finished two points shy of a career high with 20 and two rebounds shy of a double-double in a Feb. 1 win over Bradley.
- Had career highs in scoring (22) and rebounding (11) while turning in Valpo’s first 20&10 game since November 2017 on Jan. 25 at Southern Illinois, her second career double-double.
- Scored in double figures for the seventh time in an eight-game span by sharing the team lead with 13 points on Jan. 11 at UNI.
- Posted a career-high 20 points to lead all scorers in a 68-64 win on Dec. 19 at Purdue Fort Wayne. She also had a game-high four steals.
- After coming close on several prior occasions, enjoyed her first career double-double on Dec. 16 vs. North Dakota State with 11 points and 10 rebounds, equaling a career best on the boards.
- Made 10 free throws on her way to a career-high 18 points on Nov. 29 at Chicago State. Finished one rebound shy of a double-double.
- Was on double-double watch in both games at the Vinewood Farm Classic, first turning in nine points and a career-high 10 rebounds on Nov. 16 at Morehead State before accumulating nine points and pulling down eight boards on Nov. 17 vs. St. Francis Brooklyn. Her 10-rebound game allowed her to become the first Valpo player with a double-figure rebounding effort this season.
- Continued her early-season surge with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting in front of numerous family members and friends while playing close to her hometown of Cissna Park on Nov. 14 at Illinois.
- Filled the stat sheet with nine points and a career-high eight rebounds in the first home start of her career on Nov. 11 vs. North Dakota.
- Poured in a career-high 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting while making her second career start on Nov. 7 at UIC. Also pulled down five rebounds and achieved a personal best in steals with four.
- Is back this season after being limited to five games in 2016-17 and 17 games in 2017-18 due to injuries.
- Received the team’s Hardest Worker Award each of the last two seasons.
- Is involved in several organizations on campus including Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Kinesiology Club and FMS research team.
- Had an internship this past summer at a gym called Elite Sport and Fitness in Gibson City, Ill.
- Has helped with her parents’ business, Illiana Insulation, a foam and coating insulation business in Cissna Park, Ill.
- Older sister Samantha played volleyball at Trinity International University and is currently an executive assistant in athletics at UMKC, where she oversees office management, student-athlete scholarships and the distribution of sponsorships and trade.
- Father Sam participated in rugby at Purdue and mother Sue played a year of basketball at Biola University in California.
- Younger sister Olivia is attending cosmetology school and younger brother Penn is a junior in high school and is into football and basketball.
- Enjoys water sports and the outdoors. Family goes camping and boating frequently over the summer. Will ski, slalom, surf and tube and also loves hiking, four wheeling and other outdoor activities.
- Made it to state in volleyball as a junior and senior in high school.
- Growing up, her favorite sport was soccer. She played travel soccer in junior high, but stopped because her high school didn’t offer soccer.
- Majoring in exercise science with plans of getting a master’s in athletic training. Minoring in human biology.
On the court…
- Made her first career start on Feb. 1 vs. Bradley and turned in career highs in points (21) and assists (8) while seeing 38 minutes of action.
- Led all scorers on Jan. 27 at Missouri State with a 17-point performance that included a career-high six made field goals. She matched a personal best with four made triples while finishing two points shy of a career watermark.
- Went 5-of-7 from the field to score 12 points off the bench on Jan. 18 vs. Indiana State.
- Knocked down four 3-pointers and shared the team lead with 15 points on Dec. 21 vs. Bowling Green.
- Dished out a game-high six assists on Nov. 26 vs. Toledo, setting a career watermark.
- Became just the fourth Valpo player since the 2001-02 season to average double figures over the first five games of her freshman year by turning in 10.2 points per game through the first five games this season. Joined good company in a group that also includes Meredith Hamlet (10.6 ppg, 2015), Dani Franklin (2014, 13.2) and Jamie Gutowski (Stangel) (11.2, 2002).
- After scoring 10 points on Nov. 16 at Morehead State, finished in double figures for the third time in four games on Nov. 17 vs. St. Francis Brooklyn. She racked up career highs in points (19), assists (5), made 3s (4), made field goals (5) and made free throws (5) while committing just one turnover.
- Had the first double-figure output of her collegiate career in her first home appearance, turning in 11 points while racking up six rebounds on Nov. 11 vs. North Dakota.
- Had a strong showing in her collegiate debut on Nov. 7 at UIC, racking up seven points, three steals and a team-high four assists.
- Was a four-year letter winner and a captain as a junior and senior at Hortonville High School.
- Led Hortonville to its first state tournament final four appearances in 30 years as a junior and senior.
- Won regional titles all four years of high school.
- Fab Five (Preseason Top 5 Players for Northeast Wisconsin) as a sophomore, junior and senior. All-Area First-Team selection all four years, WBCA D2 All-State First Team as a junior and senior and honorable mention as a sophomore, Associated Press Third Team All-State as a senior and honorable mention as a junior, McDonald’s All-American nominee.
- Finished as her school’s all-time leader in points, assists, steals and 3-pointers (boys and girls).
- Involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus.
- Majoring in business marketing with a minor in sports management.
- Is close friends and former AAU teammates with two other Missouri Valley Conference freshmen – Drake’s Maggie Negaard and Illinois State’s Ally Gietzel.
On the court…
- Poured in a career-high 16 points on Jan. 20 vs. Evansville.
- Equaled a career high with 15 points to go along with a team-best six rebounds on Jan. 18 vs. Indiana State. She also matched a career best with five made field goals in a game and needed just seven shots to do so.
- Hit double figures for the second time this season with 10 points on Jan. 13 at Drake. She also led the team in rebounds with five and had a career-high four steals.
- Achieved a career high with 15 points while also blocking two shots on Dec. 19 in a win at Purdue Fort Wayne.
- Came within one rebound of a career high and set a season best on Dec. 16 vs. North Dakota State, corralling eight caroms. She also chipped in five points.
- Set a season high with eight points and matched a career best with five rebounds on Dec. 8 vs. Miami (Ohio).
- Made her first career start in the season opener on Nov. 7 at UIC, going 2-of-3 from the field for five points.
- Played in 30 games as a true freshman at Valpo.
- Scored a career-high 13 points on Jan. 26, 2018 vs. Evansville.
- Brother Wally played basketball in the NBL of Canada in 2016-17 and made the all-rookie team.
- Brother Ellwood was a captain of the basketball team and a track athlete at Valley City State University, N.D.
- Brother Henry is a Detroit Pistons forward and former Marquette standout.
- One of the most competitive sports in Ella’s home area of Northern Wisconsin is curling. Her mother is a P.E. teacher and taught curling.
On the court…
- Dished out a career-high six assists while scoring eight points and matching a career best with three steals on Jan. 13 at Drake.
- Matched a career high with 10 points while establishing a personal best with eight rebounds on Dec. 16 vs. North Dakota State.
- Was a key contributor in both of Valpo’s games at the Vinewood Farm Classic, reaching double figures for the first time in her career with 10 points on Nov. 16 at Morehead State before tossing in seven on Nov. 17 vs. St. Francis Brooklyn.
- Made her collegiate debut on Nov. 11 vs. North Dakota.
- Four-year letter winner in high school.
- Averaged 12.5 points, 4.5 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 steals as a senior.
- Led her team to a state runner-up finish in 2018. Helped Montini Catholic to a 33-2 overall record as the Broncos finished in third place in the 2017 IHSA 4A state tournament.
- Team also finished third in the 3A state tournament in 2015.
- Majoring in exercise science.
On the court…
- Saw her first game action since Nov. 14 at Illinois on Jan. 27 at Missouri State, knocking down a 3-pointer on her only field-goal attempt. She missed 15 games with an injury to her lower legs.
- Hit a buzzer-beater from nearly half court to send the Feb. 16, 2018 game against Southern Illinois to overtime. That shot was No. 9 on the next morning’s SportsCenter Top 10.
- Shattered a program-record that had stood since 1992 in her first career start by dishing out 16 assists on Dec. 15, 2017 against IU Northwest. She became the 10th player in Missouri Valley Conference history to reach 16 assists, a mark that ranks tied for sixth in the conference’s prestigious history. She also became the second player in the nation with a 16+ assist game that season.
- Loves to buy sneakers and has over 50 pairs.
- Enjoys adrenaline rush activities such as bungee jumping, free falls and parasailing.
- Uncle Kevin “Coach K” Lee is the founder of Quality Control Music, which has produced artists such as Migos, Lil Yatchy and Cardi B.
- Younger brother Donyell Meredith II is a freshman on the IU South Bend men’s basketball team.
- Majoring in healthcare leadership.
On the court…
- Registered her first career basket, rebound and block in six minutes of action on Jan. 20 vs. Evansville.
- Made her collegiate debut on Nov. 26 vs. Toledo.
- Sat out her first season on campus as a redshirt.
- Helped Herscher High School finish with a 25-2 record in her senior season.
- Played for Example Sports AAU under the direction of coach Barry Bradford, the father of Valpo men’s basketball player Micah Bradford.
- Majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry.
- Planning to go to veterinary school after finishing at Valpo with hopes of becoming a large animal vet.
- Lives on a farm.
- Scored her first career points by crashing the boards off her own 3-point miss and converting the put-back on Jan. 20 vs. Evansville. She finished that game with five points and four rebounds in only 12 minutes.
- Made her collegiate basketball debut on Dec. 19 at Purdue Fort Wayne.
- Joined the team as a walk-on on Dec. 18.
- Finished a successful four-year career on the volleyball court by earning second team all-MVC this season.
- Helped volleyball team make a run to the NIVC quarterfinals and garner the first postseason victories in program history this season.
- Accumulated 1,273 kills over her four years to rank sixth in Valpo history.
On the court…
- Out for the season with an injury.
- Appeared in 22 games and made 30 starts as a true freshman.
- Ranked fourth in The Valley in assists per game at 3.2 and second in assist to turnover ratio at 1.6 in 2017-18.
- Beyond basketball…
- Was originally a Northwest Indiana local and started her prep career with two seasons at LaPorte before moving to South Bend and playing her final two seasons at Saint Joseph, where she led her team to the 2016-17 Indiana Class 3A state title.
- Is a rare Valpo basketball player to participate in Greek Life on campus as a Chi Omega.
- Member of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
- Majoring in business management.
On the court…
- Expected to be out for the season due to an injury.
- Played in 14 games as a freshman in 2017-18 while battling injuries.
- Had a season-high seven points and went 3-for-3 shooting on Dec. 15, 2017 vs. IU Northwest.
- Mother Jennie ran track at Akron and father Tom ran track at Bowling Green. Brother Trent is currently a student at Akron.
- Majoring in health sciences with a minor in health care leadership.
- Was a straight “A” student from kindergarten through her senior year of high school.
On the court…
- Expected to be out for the season due to an injury.
- Is Valpo’s leading returning rebounder for 2018-19 at 4.5 per game.
- Ranked fourth in The Valley in blocks per game as a junior at 1.3 per contest.
- Led the team in points (11) and rebounds (7) in the final game of the season on March 9 in an MVC quarterfinal against Drake. Matched her career high in scoring in that game, and both 11-point outputs have come in conference tournament contests.
- Father Scott Morrison is a former Valparaiso men’s basketball player and played under Homer Drew from 1990-1992.
- Is majoring in finance with a minor in business analytics.
- Volunteers for an organization called CAAEL, which participates in events held for special education and at-risk students around Illinois.
On the court…
- Expected to be out for the season due to an injury.
- Played in two games in 2016-17 before missing the remainder of the season with an injury, but returned to the court to play in 28 games in 2017-18.
- Shattered her previous career high in rebounding prior to halftime and had nine boards (eight in the first half) to lead the team on Jan. 21, 2018 at Southern Illinois.
- Is involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCS), Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Bioengineering Club.
- Majoring in biomedical engineering with a minor in Spanish.
- In a human movement research lab.
- Interned with her knee surgeon this past summer, shadowing ACL surgeries and seeing patients in the office.
- Attended the annual American Society of Biomechanics Meeting this past summer and presented research.
- Volunteers at dog shelters.
- Her mother played volleyball at Youngstown State and her aunt did so at Cleveland State. Profitt, her mother and her aunt have all played in the Horizon League at one point in their careers.
- Brother is a junior in high school and plays varsity football and basketball. He broke the school’s single-season record for receiving touchdowns this fall.
On the court…
- Started her college career at Denver, where she shot 44 percent from 3-point range and averaged 6.4 points per game in 2017-2018.
- Has to sit out this season due to transfer rules.
- Poured in 34 points on Dec. 3, 2017, helping Denver to an 80-73 victory over Northern Arizona. The 34-point output ranked tied for fourth in program history and was the highest single-game total by a Pioneer in 17 years.
- Was prep and AAU teammates with Valpo’s Caitlin Morrison.
- Majoring in psychology.
- Father played football at Grand Valley State.
- Was able to share a season of varsity basketball with her sisters Carly and Catie when she was a freshman in high school.