Valparaiso (0-0, 0-0 MVC)
Game #1 - Sunday, Nov. 29 - 1 p.m. CT
at Bowling Green (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Stroh Center (4,347) - Bowling Green, Ohio
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: It’s been a long wait, but the Valpo women’s basketball team finally returns to the court on Sunday for its season opener, as the Brown and Gold travel to take on Bowling Green. Valpo enters the 2020-21 campaign coming off of its winningest season in 13 years.
Previously: Per NCAA COVID-19 guidelines, Valpo did not play any exhibition games or closed scrimmages in the preseason.
Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN3
Radio: WVUR (95.1 FM-Valparaiso)
Live Stats/Streaming Audio: Available via ValpoAthletics.com
Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans (25-36) is in her third season as head coach of the Valpo women’s basketball program in 2020-21. Evans led the Valpo program to a remarkable season across the board in 2019-20, one that concluded among the nation’s top turnarounds from the season before. Valpo posted a 17-12 record in Evans’ second season at the helm, the 17 wins the most by a Valpo team since the 2006-07 campaign and the 10th-most in a single season in program history. Valpo improved its record by 10.5 games over the previous season in 2019-20, tied for the sixth-best improvement in Division I.
Series Notes: The Falcons own a 5-2 advantage in the all-time series with Valpo and have won all three previous matchups in Bowling Green. This marks the fourth consecutive year Valpo and BGSU have met on the hardwood, including a matchup Nov. 24 last season at the ARC that saw Valpo rally from a 12-point fourth quarter deficit to tie the game inside the final 30 seconds of regulation en route to a 95-90 overtime victory. Shay Frederick and Grace Hales led the way for Valpo with 21 points apiece in that win, at that time both matching their respective career highs.
- Valpo has been picked to finish in seventh place in the MVC preseason poll, totaling 176 points.
- Valpo is in its fourth season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference in 2020-21.
...looking back at last year
- Valpo finished the 2019-20 campaign with a 17-12 overall record, a 10.5-game improvement over the previous year ‑ good for sixth-best nationally.
- Valpo jumped 172 spots in the RPI from the previous year, the largest leap for any D-I team in the nation.
- Valpo’s 17 wins marked the most by a Valpo team since 2006-07.
- The Brown and Gold finished in sixth place in the MVC standings with a 9-9 record - the program’s best finish since joining The Valley.
- The .500 record in conference play was the program’s first since 2008-09.
- Valpo closed the regular season strong, going 6-3 in the second half of MVC play.
- Grace Hales earned Honorable Mention All-Conference accolades, while Carie Weinman was named to the MVC All-Defensive Team.
- As a team, Valpo set the program’s single-season record for free throw percentage (.792), while Hales broke the program’s individual single-season record in the category (.890).
- The four-game stretch away from home to open the season continues with a pair of trips to Big Ten opponents.
- Valpo is slated to take on Illinois in Champaign Wednesday evening and Purdue in West Lafayette next Sunday afternoon.
...on the road
- Valpo is slated to play five true road games out of its seven contests in the nonconference schedule.
- Valpo went 9-5 in true road games in 2019-20, including a 4-2 mark on the road in nonconference play.
- The nine true road wins marked the most road victories in a single season since the 2001-02 team won nine true road games - two of which came in postseason play in the WNIT.
...in season openers
- Valpo dropped its season opener in a neutral site matchup with Ohio State last season, 89-38.
- Valpo’s last win in a season opener came over IU Kokomo to open the 2017-18 campaign, 81-47, while its last win over a D-I opponent in a season opener was a 91-57 win over Butler to open the 2014-15 season.
- The last time Valpo came out victorious in a season opener played away from the ARC was way back in November 1999, a 61-47 win at UIC.
- This season is the third time that Bowling Green has served as Valpo’s season-opening opponent. BGSU came out victorious to kick off the 2007-08 season, 81-56, while Valpo returned the favor in the opener the next season, 69-58.
- Bowling Green enters the 2020-21 season coming off a 2019-20 campaign in which it posted a 10-21 overall record and went 3-15 in MAC play.
- The Falcons return a pair of double-figure scorers from a year ago in senior center Angela Perry (14.0 ppg) and senior guard Madisen Parker (12.1 ppg).
- BGSU was picked to finish in 11th place in the MAC preseason poll.
Just Win, Baby, Win
- The 2019-20 Valpo squad had one of the top turnarounds in program history from the previous year and one of the best turnarounds in the nation.
- Last year’s squad more than doubled the win total from the prior season, as the 2018-19 team went 8-24 overall, while the 2019-20 squad went 17-12.
- It was the second-largest improvement in the win column from one year to the next in program history, trailing only the 2001-02 team, which improved an astounding 19 wins from the previous season (7-22 -> 26-7).
- Valpo’s 10.5 game improvement last year was sixth-best nationally, while the program’s 172-spot jump in the RPI was the largest leap in the nation.
- Valpo’s 17 wins made it the program’s winningest campaign since 2006-07.
- The wins came in non-conference play, where Valpo posted an 8-3 record – the best pre-conference mark in program history.
- The wins came away from home, as Valpo went 9-5 in true road games – the most road wins since the 2001-02 team won nine true road games.
- The wins came when the schedule shifted to MVC action, as Valpo finished 9-9 in MVC play – its first .500 or better record in league play since 2008-09 – in a conference which finished the season ranked eighth nationally in RPI.
- The 9-9 mark in MVC play was a six-win improvement over the previous year.
- Per WarrenNolan.com, Valpo’s record in games outside of quadrant 1 opponents was an impressive 17-4.
It’s Been Awhile
- With the start date for the 2020-21 season pushed back by the NCAA, it will be 267 days between games for Valpo.
- Valpo’s last game came on March 7 of last season - a 69-58 win at Southern Illinois.
- The Nov. 29 season opener is the latest for the Valpo women’s basketball program since the 1992-93 team opened on Dec. 1 against Western Michigan.
- Valpo’s scheduled home opener is slated for Dec. 12 versus Western Michigan, which would be the program’s latest home opener since 1994-95, when the Brown and Gold hosted Aurora on Dec. 20.
Threes and Thieves
- As head coach Mary Evans has implemented her preferred style of play on both ends of the court through her first two years at the helm, Valpo fans have come to know that they’ll see 3-pointers and they’ll see steals when the team takes the floor.
- Valpo paced the Valley last season in both 3-pointers/game (8.6) and steals/game (10.3).
- Valpo finished last year ranked 14th nationally in 3-pointers/game and 27th in steals/game.
- Last year’s squad made 250 3-pointers, second-most in a single season in program history - trailing only the 276 triples by the 2018-19 team.
- In Evans’ first two seasons, Valpo has connected on 14 or more 3-pointers in a single game five times after doing so just eight times total before her arrival.
- Valpo tallied double digits in steals 16 times last year, highlighted by a 20-steal performance at Evansville - the program’s highest single-game steals total since 2003.
- With 300 steals, last year’s team finished the campaign eighth in program history in the category. The 2001-02 team (330 steals) is the only Valpo team in the last quarter-century to have registered more steals.
- The 2019-20 Valpo squad became the first team in program history to trot out the same starting five in every game: Shay Frederick, Carie Weinman, Grace Hales, Addison Stoller and Caitlin Morrison.
- Valpo had three previous seasons (2007-08, 1997-98, 1983-84) where four players started every game of the season.
- Stoller graduated having started the final 61 games of her career in a row, while Hales closed her career with 56 consecutive starts.
- Three of the starters are back this year. Frederick has made 42 straight starts dating back to the middle of her freshman year, while Weinman started all 29 games last season in her first season of eligibility at Valpo. Meanwhile, Morrison started all 29 games after missing the previous season due to injury and has started 83 games in her career.
- Nine letterwinners from last year’s team, including a trio of starters, return for Valpo in 2020-21.
- The three returning starters are redshirt senior Caitlin Morrison, redshirt junior Carie Weinman - an MVC All-Defensive Team selection last year - and junior Shay Frederick.
- Three other seniors return as well in Ella Ellenson, Marlee Profitt and Grace White.
- Junior Ilysse Pitts and sophomores Cara VanKempen and Zoe MacKay Zacker round out the nonet of returnees.
- In all, Valpo returns 68.5% of its minutes played, 64.2% of its scoring and 66.8% of its rebounding from last year’s squad.
- Five incoming freshmen - all of whom hail from the Midwest - round out Valpo’s 14-player roster for 2020-21.
- Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis.), Lauren Gunn (Fishers, Ind.), Jayda Johnston (Roseville, Minn.) and Ava Interrante (McHenry, Ill.) all signed NLIs last November to join the Brown and Gold this season.
- Syria Butler (Dolton, Ill.) joined the program as a walk-on to complete the roster.