Feb. 21, 2014
By Tom Schott
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Senior Casey Matthews won the 1-meter diving crown at the Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships yesterday in Minneapolis for the Boilermakers' first conference title since 2009.
Through last night's events, 21st-ranked Purdue is in sixth place with 138 points, six behind fifth-place Wisconsin, 13 behind fourth-place Ohio State and 19 behind third-place Penn State.
The Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships are Feb. 26 through March 1 in Ann Arbor, Mich. Selected Boilermaker swimmers will be in action there tomorrow and Sunday at the Michigan First Chance meet. Purdue is ranked No. 22 in this week's national poll.
Basketball Stretch Run
The 21st-ranked women's basketball team (19-7, 9-5 Big Ten) plays its penultimate home game of the regular season at 2 p.m. Sunday against Wisconsin. The Boilermakers, who conclude the regular season at home against Nebraska a week from Sunday, are in fourth place in the Big Ten standings. The top four teams get a first-round bye in the conference tournament. Purdue has won four straight, all since senior guard KK Houser was sidelined with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The Boilermakers' 63-42 victory at Minnesota on Thursday was win No. 180 for head coach Sharon Versyp at Purdue and made her the second-winningest coach in school history. Lin Dunn is tops at 206.
Men's basketball (15-11, 5-8) has five regular-season games remaining, beginning Sunday at Nebraska. The Boilermakers have two home dates left - Feb. 26 vs. Michigan and March 9 vs Northwestern. Purdue currently sits in eighth place in the Big Ten standings.
More Records Set in Track and Field
Last weekend, two track and field athletes set school records. Sophomore Cierra Brown broke the triple jump record with a leap of 13.0 meters (42-8) at the Fred Wilt Invitational, while sophomore Matthew McClintock shattered the 5K mark at 13:56.41 at the Iowa State Classic. A total of seven current Boilermakers own school-best marks, also Dani Bunch (shot put and weight throw), Chukwuebuka Enekwechi (weight throw), Vanessa McLeod (800 meters), Dan Porter (mile) and Kari Schoolbraid (600 meters).
The women's team currently is ranked No. 15, while the men are 33rd. Both squads compete at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind., today and tomorrow.
Baseball, Softball Continue Spring Road Swings
It's back on the road for the baseball and softball teams. Baseball (0-3) travels to Houston for a three-game series against No. 11 Rice (3-2) today through Sunday, while softball (4-4-1) travels to Auburn, Ala., for the four-game Wilson/DeMarini Classic tomorrow and Sunday against Jacksonville State, Mississippi Valley State, Samford and the host Tigers.
Junior first baseman Ashley Burkhardt was named Big Ten Softball Co-Player of the Week after batting .533 with 12 RBI and eight runs scored in five games at the Kickin' Chicken Classic. She is the first Purdue player to earn Player of the Week honors since Molly Garst on Feb. 27, 2012, and the first Boilermaker to receive a weekly award since Lilly Fecho was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week on April 15, 2013. For the season, Burkhardt tops the team with a .467 batting average, five doubles, four home runs, 14 RBI and 11 runs scored.
Senior outfielder Andie Varsho has been named one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award, which honors softball student-athletes who excel both on and off the field. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be a senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
Men's golf, fresh off a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Match Play Championships, plays in the Puerto Rico Classic on Sunday through Tuesday ... Junior Aurora Kan shared medalist honors at five-under par as the women's golf team tied for sixth place at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic, hosted by the Boilermakers at the Rio Mar Country Club River Course. She was named Big Ten Co-Golfer of the Week ... The Boilermakers are idle from competition until March 14, when they participate in the Lady Jaguar Invitational in Augusta, Ga. ... Women's tennis is ranked No. 31 this week, and the men are No. 71 ... Be sure to check out BTN's "The Journey" at 6:15 p.m. ET Sunday for a story on men's basketball freshman Kendall Stephens and his father, Everette ... Men's basketball head coach Matt Painter has advanced to the Round of 16 in the Coaches' Charity Challenge. Through March 2, fans can vote once a day every day to advance Painter and his charity, the Smith Family BReaK Thru Fund, into the round of four and a chance at $100,000 for the charity. Click here for more information and to vote.