Coming Up in Crusader Hoops: Valparaiso wraps up its brief two-game homestand against Windy City schools on Monday evening as the Brown and Gold entertain Loyola (Chicago) in Horizon League action. The Crusaders will not return to the Athletics-Recreation Center again until January 21 following the tilt with the Ramblers.
On the Air: Monday’s game against Loyola will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at valpoathletics.com. Mike Targonski and Keaton Gillogly will call all the action live from the Athletics-Recreation Center. The game can also be viewed live on Lakeshore Public Television and online through the Horizon League Network and ESPN360.com. Dick Harlan and Joe Arredondo will provide the call of the action. Live stats will be available through www.valpoathletics.com as well. Series Notes: Valparaiso and Loyola are meeting for the 16th time in a series that dates back to 1994. The Crusaders hold an 14-1 all-time edge and is a perfect 7-0 against the Ramblers in Valparaiso. Last year, the Crusaders posted a 69-52 win over Loyola at the ARC on January 17 before downing the Ramblers 85-60 on February 12 in Chicago. Valpo has won three straight overall in the series.
Head Coach Keith Freeman: In his 16th season on the Valparaiso bench, Keith Freeman has a 263-190 record at the helm of the Brown and Gold. In his 22nd season overall, Freeman has a 392-237 career mark. He is Valpo’s all-time winningest coach and has amassed more than half of the victories in the program’s history.
Wrapping Up UIC: The Flames began a 9-0 run with six minutes to play to snap a deadlock on Saturday afternoon and held off Valpo in the final minutes to post a 60-51 victory over the Crusaders at the ARC. Betsy Adams led Valpo with 16 points, connecting on four triples, while Kelly Watts had a season-high 10 rebounds for the Brown and Gold.
Scouting Loyola: The Ramblers are just two wins away from matching last season’s victory total already this season, but are coming off of a 72-53 loss at Butler on Saturday afternoon in their Horizon League opener. Keisha Collins leads a balanced offensive attack with 9.8 points per game as no Loyola players are averaging in double figures, but six score at least 6.3 points per night. Loyola is shooting 42.5% from the field this season.
Adams Finds Her Range: Betsy Adams drained four three-pointers on Saturday against UIC on her way to a team-leading 16 points. The sophomore guard had not hit more than two threes in a game since making six at Pittsburgh on December 8.
Liking the Home Rims: Betsy Adams four triples on Saturday continued her solid long range shooting at home this season. She is now shooting 48.6% from beyond the arc at the ARC (18-of-37) compared with 26.2% (16-of-61) away from home. At home this year she has made three or more treys in four of the five games.
Adams Also Gets to the Glass: In addition to leading the team in scoring against UIC, Betsy Adams also grabbed a career-high seven rebounds against the Flames. The second shortest player on the team at 5’7”, Adams also had a season-best two offensive rebounds. She had a previous high of five boards at Pittsburgh earlier this year, and already has 31 rebounds on the season after tallying just 17 all of her freshman campaign.
Watts Also Has Big Rebounding Night: Kelly Watts had her most productive game on the glass since transferring to Valpo on Saturday afternoon, pulling down a season-high 10 rebounds against UIC, including five on the offensive end of the floor. While at Eastern Michigan, Watts had four double-figure rebounding contests during her first two years of collegiate basketball.
It’s Been Awhile: Valpo outrebounded UIC 33-32 on Saturday afternoon, the first time in 10 games the Crusaders had outboarded the opposition. The Brown and Gold was +15 in rebounding against SIU Edwardsville back on November 18, and had been even on the glass against Central Michigan on December 5.
Playing Defense: The Crusaders have allowed 62 points or less in each of the last four games, including contests against Cincinnati, Auburn, and Wake Forest. The last time Valpo allowed 62 points or fewer in four straight games was February 8-17 of last season when the Brown and Gold played Wright State, Loyola (Chicago), UIC, and Chicago State, going 3-1.
Struggling to Find Offense: Valpo has had trouble scoring points over the last six games, averaging just 47.3 points per contest since December 8. The Crusaders have not scored more than 52 points in a game during the span.
Block Party: Ashley Varner registered three more blocked shots against Auburn, matching a career high. Her 12 blocks this year have already surpassed her entire total from 2008-2009 and are just two shy of her career total entering this year. As a team, Valpo has already blocked 31 shots in just 12 games, more than two-thirds of the team’s total from all of 2008- 2009. Last year the Crusaders finished with just 45 blocks in 30 contests.