Jan. 6, 2010
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Purdue (7-7, 2-1) at Wisconsin (11-4, 1-3)
Tip: Thursday at 6:30 p.m. CT in the Kohl Center
Television: Big Ten Network. Mark Neely will provide play-by-play and Mary Murphy will provide analysis.
Internet Video: None.
Radio: WBPE 95.3 BOB-FM, the Purdue Radio Network and purduesports.com. Tim Newton will provide play-by-play and Sara White will provide analysis.
Rankings: both teams are unranked.
Live Stats: Gametracker available at purduesports.com.
Wisconsin (11-4, 1-3) is coming off a 53-52 loss on a last-second shot at Illinois. The Badgers have lost their last two contests (Illinois and Iowa), but had won four in a row prior, including 56-49 at Marquette and a 62-54 decision over No. 19 Michigan State. Wisconsin returns all five starters from last season and is led by junior guard Alyssa Karel who is averaging 14.6 points per game. The Badgers and the Boilermakers are very similar statistically and are arguably the two best defensive teams in the conference. Wisconsin has the best scoring defense in the Big Ten, holding opponents to an average of 53.1 ppg while Purdue is second at 54.9.
Thursday marks the 56th meeting between Purdue and Wisconsin. The Boilermakers hold a 42-13 advantage, including 13 consecutive wins. The last time Purdue played in the Kohl Center, Brittany Rayburn hit a three-pointer with 7.8 seconds on the clock to give the Boilermakers their only lead in the second half and a 52-51 victory. Purdue won 66-49 on Feb. 8, 2009, in West Lafayette, and in the teams' last meeting which occurred in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, a 70-56 Purdue victory on March 7, 2009. The last Boilermaker loss to Wisconsin came on Dec. 28, 2001, in Madison by a 71-59 margin. The last Wisconsin win in West Lafayette was March 10, 1984, 75-65.
Purdue will return to Mackey Arena for a rematch with Northwestern. The game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. ET tipoff on Sunday, Jan. 10 and the Purdue coaches and players will conduct a free clinic for children 13 and under on Keady Court in Mackey Arena following the game.
The Last Time Out
Purdue fell to No. 3 Notre Dame 79-75 on Monday in Mackey Arena. The Boilermakers jumped out to a 10-point lead in the first half by holding the Irish to 3 of 19 from the field to start the game. Notre Dame fought back to trim Purdue's lead to 39-36 at the half. The second half was a closely contested one that saw five lead changes and three ties. Jodi Howell led the Boilermakers with 18 points, was a perfect 7 of 7 from the free throw line while dishing out a career-high five assists. Sophomore forward Chelsea Jones continued her strong play with a career-high 16 points, six rebounds and four assists. The Boilermakers committed only 13 turnovers in the contest and dished out a season-high 20 assists on the night.
Head Coach Sharon Versyp
Former Boilermaker point guard, Sharon Versyp is in her fourth season as head coach at Purdue and has achieved an 82-39 record. The Mishawaka, Ind., native has a career mark of 199-104 and is just one win away from the 200-win plateau in her 10th season as a collegiate head coach. In her first three years at Purdue, Versyp has averaged 25 wins per season, the second-best three-year average in school history. Kristy Curry averaged 26 wins in her first three campaigns. Versyp has led the Boilermakers to two Big Ten Tournament championships (2007 and 2008) and to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight twice (2007 and 2009).
Impressive Defensive Numbers
As of Jan. 4, Purdue is ranked No. 15 nationally in scoring defense, 12th in field goal percentage defense and 11th in three-point field goal percentage defense. Purdue is second in the conference in scoring defense, second in three-point field goal defense and third in field goal defense. The Boilermakers have yet to allow a team to shoot 40 percent or better from the field against them this season. Notre Dame's 39.4 percent (26 of 66) is the highest field goal percentage by an opponent this year.
Against Notre Dame, Purdue shot a season-high 49.1 percent from the field and dished out a season-best 20 assists on 27 made field goals. The Boilermakers turned the ball over just 13 times, the second lowest number of the year.
Close, But No Cigar
Five of the seven Boilermaker losses this season have been by five points or less, including the four-point loss to No. 3 Notre Dame. Purdue lost to Dayton by three points, at Pepperdine by five, at Northwestern by two and to Gardner-Webb by one point on a deep three-pointer with less than 15 seconds to play. At No. 14 Virginia, Purdue was defeated by seven points. The average scoring margin in Purdue's losses this season is just 5.4 ppg. The Boilermakers' only double-digit defeat came at the hands of Georgetown, 55-39.
Against Notre Dame, three Boilermakers scored in double-figures: Howell (18), Jones (16) and Samantha Woods (12). It was the second consecutive game that Purdue has had three players reach double-figure points and just the fourth time all season.
Sophomore Chantel Poston suffered an Achilles tendon injury on Oct. 1, that required surgery. She tore the tendon in her right foot during a conditioning drill and is expected to miss the season. Sophomore Alex Guyton missed the first 10 games of the season with a stress fracture in her lower left leg, but has played in the last four contests.
Senior FahKara Malone is 24 steals away from setting the Purdue career steals record. The Evansville, Ind., native is currently fourth with 304 career steals, while former two-time All-American Katie Douglas owns the record with 327. Malone is just the fourth player in school history to record 300 or more steals. In her first three years, Malone has averaged 87.7 steals a season. She recorded 104 thefts as a freshman, 89 as a sophomore and 70 steals as a junior - despite missing nine games due to injury. The 5-foot-3 point guard is the Big Ten's career steals leader among active players and is ranked 29th nationally with a season average of 2.9 steals per game.
Sharing The Rock
Against Indiana, Purdue tied a season high with 18 assists on 23 field goals, including 10 assists on 12 made field goals in the second half. On the season, the Boilermakers are led by senior point guard FahKara Malone who has a team-best 66 assists. Malone tied her career high for assists by dishing out 10 at Northwestern while contributing 11 points to record the first double-double of her career. Malone is sixth at Purdue on the career assist charts and is the Big Ten's active assists leader. Malone is second in the conference in both assists (4.7) and in steals (2.9).
Senior Jodi Howell holds the Big Ten and school record for career three-point field goal percentage (minimum of 100 attempts) at 42.4 percent (157-370). She has hit at least one three-pointer in 12 games this season and 74 times in her career.
Rayburn Putting Up Big Numbers
Sophomore Brittany Rayburn, the 2009 Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year as a freshman, was reinserted into the starting lineup at Oakland. She responded by scoring 26 points, tying her career high. The outing included a career-best 12 of 12 performance from the free throw line. Against Gardner-Webb, the Attica, Ind., native equaled her career best with 26 points. Against Indiana, she tallied a game-high 22 points, marking her sixth 20+ point performance of the season. She leads the team in scoring with a 15.4 ppg average, good for seventh in the Big Ten.
The Boilermaker post players are an inexperienced group, with sophomore Alex Guyton the most veteran with an average of 5.9 minutes per game in 2008-09. Chelsea Jones has stepped up her game recently and is averaging 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in the last three contests. The Purdue posts came up big versus Indiana, with Jones, Samantha Woods, Guyton and Sam Ostarello combining for 24 points and 26 rebounds. Jones recorded career highs with 14 points and 11 rebounds for her first career double-double. Purdue outscored the Hoosiers 22 to 10 in points in the paint and outscored Notre Dame 38 to 26 in that category.
Freshman Sam Ostarello, from Fort Pierre, S.D., leads the Boilermakers in rebounding at 6.1 rebounds despite averaging just over 17 minutes per game. She had her best outing of the season against Evansville, tallying her first career double-double while setting career highs for points and rebounds with 17 and 14. The 6-foot-2 forward also had two assists, three blocks and two steals. It was Ostarello's third game with double-digit rebounds, having pulled down 12 boards against Western Illinois and at UC Riverside.