March 21, 2014
By Tom Schott
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The 17th-ranked women's basketball team (21-8) earned a No. 4 seed and will play host to No. 13 seed Akron (23-9) in first-round action of the NCAA Tournament at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Mackey Arena. At 11 a.m., No. 5 seed Oklahoma State (23-8) takes on No. 12 seed Florida Gulf Coast (26-7). The victorious teams square off at 6:30 p.m. Monday, with the winner advancing to the Sweet 16 in South Bend, Ind.
The Boilermakers are making their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, seventh in eight years under head coach Sharon Versyp and 24th all-time. Purdue has a 45-22 record in the tournament, including the 1999 national championship, three Final Four appearances, eight trips to the Elite Eight (including two under Versyp) and 12 Sweet 16's. The Boilermakers are 19-7 on their home floor in tournament play, including an 11-0 record in the first round.
Akron won the Mid-American Conference Tournament and is making its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
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Cabassol Picks up All-America Honors as Swimming and Diving NCAA's are Under Way
Senior Michelle Cabassol earned honorable mention All-America distinction to highlight Purdue's opening day of action at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Minneapolis. She finished second in the consolation final of 1-meter diving with a score of 303.45, merely four tenths of a point behind the round winner, Tennessee's Victoria Lamp. Cabassol earned seven team points for the Boilermakers with her 10th-place overall showing.
Cabassol also was an All-American in 3-meter diving at the 2013 NCAA Championships after placing fourth in the championship final.
Four Boilermakers compete in individual events today: Cabassol (3-meter diving), junior Francesca Marr (100 breast), senior Casey Matthews (3-meter diving) and junior Rhiannon Sheets (200 free), plus the 800 free relay team. Tomorrow, Marr competes in the 200 breast, Sheets in the 200 fly, senior Carly Mercer in the 100 free and junior MacKenzie Tweardy in platform diving, as well as the 400 free relay team.
The NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships are next week in Austin, Texas, and Purdue will have 10 student-athletes competing.
Quiroga Advances to NCAA Wrestling Semifinals
Senior Cashé Quiroga has advanced to the 133-pound quarterfinals of the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Oklahoma City. He got there by avenging an early-season loss to Chattanooga's Nick Soto, and the seventh-seeded will face No. 2 seed A.J. Schopp of Edinboro in the third session this morning.
Also, junior Braden Atwood, seeded 15t at 197 pounds, will compete in the second and third rounds of wrestlebacks. All the action can be seen on ESPNU or via WatchESPN.
NCAA Indoor Track and Field Wrap
All four Boilermakers who competed at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships came away as All-Americans.
Senior Dani Bunch was a first team honoree in both the weight throw (third place) and shot put (fifth), while sophomore Chukwuebuka Enekwechi was first team in the weight throw (third) and second team in the shot (13th), junior Raheem Mostert was second team in both the 60 meters (13th) and 200 meters (16th), and sophomore Cierra Brown was second team in the triple jump (12th).
On the strength of Bunch's 10 points in her events, the women's team finished tied for 19th, its best showing since 2000. The men wound up tied for 32nd thanks to Enekwechi's six points in the weight throw.
Meanwhile, the outdoor campaign is under way. Purdue won 17 events at the season-opening Anteater Four-Way Meet in Irvine, Calif., and swept the Big Ten weekly awards: senior Andrew Kendrick (Male Track Athlete of the Week), sophomore Coy Blair (Male Field Athlete of the Week), sophomore Aarin Jones (Female Track Athlete of the Week) and senior Nikki Nunn (Female Field Athlete of the Week). You can read about their accomplishments here.
The Boilermakers compete at the USC Trojan Invite in Los Angeles today and tomorrow.
Softball Opens Big Ten Play on a Roll
Winners of its last three games - plus an exhibition victory over the Dutch National Team - the softball team (13-16-1) opens Big Ten play today with a three-game series at Penn State (6-15). Purdue's home opener is scheduled for March 26 against Illinois-Chicago at the Boilermaker Softball Complex. Senior outfielder Andie Varsho tops the team with a .449 batting average and 14 stolen bases. Sophomore Lilly Fecho has emerged as the pitching ace with a 10-8 record, 2.52 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 111 innings of work.
Details surrounding the football Spring Game, set for 1 p.m. April 12 at Ross-Ade Stadium, are expected to be announced next week ... Senior-to-be setter/outside hitter Val Nichol will be part of a 12-player contingent that will represent USA Volleyball and compete as the U.S. Collegiate National Team during a tour of Europe from July 8 to 19 ... No. 40 men's tennis (7-3) opened play at the Hilton San Diego Mission Valley Spring Classic yesterday, dropping a match to No. 60 San Diego 4-1 ... The baseball team (2-14), coming off a 6-1 victory at Butler on Wednesday, plays a three-game series Southern Illinois today through Sunday before playing host to IPFW at 5 p.m. Wednesday ... Women's golf begins play in the three-day LSU Tiger Classic this morning in Baton Rouge, La.