Happy Opening Day everyone! Today is truly a special day as it begins a journey for both the Valparaiso men's and women's basketball teams that will spread into March. I'll have a number of places for you to follow both teams this season. During home games you'll likely see live blogs in this space as well as commentary on Twitter (@NWIOren). Obviously check out the print edition as well as NWI.com for all the latest on Valparaiso basketball.
4:39 p.m. -- The appetizer for tonight is the start of the Tracey Dorow Era at Valparaiso as the Crusaders host Indiana in about 20 minutes. It's hard to get an idea of what the crowd is going to see tonight after the Crusaders exploded for 98 points in the their only public exhibition game last Monday. Indiana also has a new coach this season as Curt Miller takes over the program after a coaching at Bowling Green. The Hoosiers were 6-20 last season and 5-5 in the non-conference.
The story tonight is about Valparaiso's new-look offense. The Crusader pushed the ball at every opportunity against Holy Cross on Monday and never took their foot off the gas. Dorow stated after the game that this is the type of offense she expects to see from her teams. Ieva Jansone had her finest night in a Valparaiso uniform, scoring 22 points on just nine field goal attempts. Valparaiso enjoyed a 37-3 free throw attempt advantage. I'm confident in saying that will never happen again.
I think it's a stretch to say the Crusaders will win tonight, but how they perform could go a long way in telling us a bit more what this team has to offer. The Hoosiers have plenty of size and I suspect that rebounding will be an issue for Valparaiso tonight.
4:45 p.m. -- Starting lineups: Valparaiso -- Shaquira Scott (So., G); Laura Richards (Sr., G); Tabitha Gerardot (Jr., F); Charae Richardson (Jr., G); Gina Lange (Sr., F). Indiana -- Jasmine McGhee (Sr., G); Nicole Bell (Fr., G); Aulani Sinclair (Sr., F); Quaneisha McCurty (So., F/C); Milika Taufa (Jr., F).
5:00 p.m. -- It doesn't appear that Maegan Callway or Sarah Godwin will play for the Crusaders. Neither have their ankles tapped. Generally a good indication. And we're off....
5:08 p.m. -- Valparaiso 6-0, 14:44 1H -- Yep, not a typo. The Hoosiers have missed all five of their shots and haven't scored yet. The Crusaders have actually missed more shots than Indiana but have knocked down two 3-pointers. The teams have combined for 11 missed shots and seven turnovers, but the Crusaders have a 9-2 rebounding advantage, including four offensive rebounds.
5:17 p.m. -- Valparaiso 16-6, 10:28 1H -- Indiana finally got off the board with a 6-0 run, but the Crusaders answered with a 10-0 spurt over 1:39 that included five points from junior Liz Horton. Horton and Lexi Miller have come off the bench before Jessica Carr. That's a bit surprising.
5:24 p.m. -- Valparaiso 19-11, 7:43 1H -- The biggest shock coming out of the first 12 minutes of this game is that the Crusaders have 15-7 rebounding advantage. Looking at Indiana's size, it appeared that if the Hoosiers had one glaring advantage, it would be on the glass. Richards leading the way with four rebounds.
5:32 p.m. -- Valparaiso 23-20, 3:47 1H -- The Hoosiers are inching back into the game and they are doing so because the Crusaders are throwing the ball away. Valparaiso has 14 turnovers and just four points in the paint. For as well as the Crusaders have played, they have struggled to get into their offense.
5:42 p.m. -- Valparaiso 31, Indiana 29, halftime -- I'm torn in what I think about this half. The Crusaders dominated for much of the half on the scoreboard and should probably have a bigger lead. At the same time, they turned the ball over 17 times and have given up 13 points off turnovers. I guess I have no clue how this thing will turn out.
6:03 p.m. -- Valparaiso 39-35, 15:43 2H -- Scott is up to 17 points and is 7-of-9 from the court, but it seems that now the offense is relying heavily on her and the rest of the team is standing around while the sophomore guard dribbles. That said, she's playing very well tonight.
6:19 p.m. -- Valparaiso 51-43, 7:38 2H -- The pace has slowed down a bit, but the Crusaders are still maintaining their lead. After turning the ball over 17 times in the first half, Valparaiso has just five in the second half as Dorow has shortened up the bench a bit.
6:30 p.m. -- Valparaiso 58-45, 3:40 2H -- Looks like the Crusaders are going to go wire-to-wire here as Jansone drills a dagger 3-pointer. This is a very impressive debut for Tracey Dorow and Valparaiso.
6:49 p.m. -- Valparaiso 64, Indiana 52, final -- Heading to the press conference, I'll be back to take a look at the men's opener.
Breaking News -- Valparaiso junior Bobby Capobianco expected to miss up to a month after undergoing surgery on a midsection injury.
No live blog from the men's game tonight. Follow on Twitter @NWIOren. I'll post a recap of the game with more on the Capobianco situation after the press conference.