Women's Basketball Game Notes - At Penn State

Jan. 27, 2010

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Purdue (10-10, 5-4 Big Ten) at No. 23 Penn State

Tip: Thursday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. ET.
Television: None.
Internet Video: live video web stream on bigtennetwork.com for a $2.99 fee.
Radio: WBPE 95.3 BOB-FM, Purdue Radio Network and purduesports.com. Tim Newton will provide play-by-play and Sara White will provide analysis.
Rankings: Purdue is unranked and Penn State is ranked No. 23 in AP and receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.
Live Stats: Gametracker available at gopsusports.com.

The Opponent
Penn State (15-4, 7-2) is riding a six game win streak and this week earned a No. 23 ranking in the AP poll, the first national ranking in five years. The Lady Lions are in second place in the Big Ten and are coming off a 70-66 home win over Illinois. Senior Tyra Grant leads her team and is third in the conference in scoring with a 19.2 ppg average. Indianapolis native Alex Bentley is the team's second leading scorer (10.9 ppg) and had a career night against the Illini with a team and career-high 19 points, five rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks in the win.

The Series
Thursday marks the 36th meeting between Purdue and Penn State and the Boilermakers hold a 21-14 series advantage. The last time the two teams met was on Feb. 19, 2009, and Purdue came away with a 69-51 win in University Park. Four Boilermakers reached double-figures, led by Jodi Howell's 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting, including 2 of 4 from long range. Purdue has a seven-game win streak against the Lady Lions with the last Penn State victory coming on Jan. 20, 2005, 77-54 in the Bryce Jordan Center.

Next Up
The Boilermakers travel to Iowa City to face the Hawkeyes for the second time this season on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Purdue dominated Iowa in the first matchup, 81-59, on Jan. 17, in Mackey Arena, but the Hawkeyes have won both of their games since that contest.

The Last Time Out
KK Houser scored a career-high 18 points, and the Boilermakers handed No. 4 Ohio State its first conference loss, 63-61. Freshman Sam Ostarello added 14 points and seven rebounds, while Ashley Wilson, scored eight points. Ohio State's Samantha Prahalis missed an open layup at the buzzer that would have forced overtime. Her chance to tie was set up when Brittany Rayburn missed a free throw with 7.6 seconds left, the only free throw the Boilermakers missed in 15 tries. Jantel Lavender led Ohio State with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but she shot 6 for 18 from the field. Purdue's Alex Guyton and Chelsea Jones shared the responsibility for slowing the Big Ten's leading scorer.

Head Coach Sharon Versyp
Versyp earned her 200th career victory with the win over Northwestern on Jan. 10. The former Boilermaker point guard, has an 85-42 record in her fourth season at Purdue and is 202-107 in her 10th season as a collegiate head coach. Versyp averaged 25 wins per season in her first three years at Purdue which is the second-best three-year average in school history, behind Kristy Curry's 26 win average. 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). She will be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in April.

Impressive Defensive Numbers
As of Jan. 25, Purdue is ranked No. 34 nationally in scoring defense, 37th in field goal percentage defense and 10th in three-point field goal percentage defense. Purdue is tops in the conference in three-point field goal defense, second in the conference in scoring defense and fourth in field goal defense. Only two teams, Wisconsin and Minnesota have managed to shoot 40 percent or better against Purdue. In the win over Ohio State, the Boilermakers limited the Buckeyes to 35.8 percent from the field which is 11.8 percent below their season average.

Sharing The Rock
The Boilermakers have assisted on 63.7 percent (268-421) of their made field goals this season. The Boilermakers are led by FahKara Malone's team-best 83 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 (470), is the Big Ten's active assists leader and is ranked third in the conference this season.

Injury Report
Sophomore Chantel Poston suffered an Achilles tendon injury on Oct. 1, tearing the tendon in her right foot during a conditioning drill. She had surgery in early Oct. and is expected to miss the season. Sophomore Alex Guyton missed the first 10 games with a stress fracture in her lower left leg, but has played every game since Gardner-Webb.

Youth Is Served
Purdue's three freshmen scored 40 of the team's 63 points in the upset win over No. 5/4 Ohio State on Monday. KK Houser led the way with a game-high 18 points, Sam Ostarello scored 14 and Ashley Wilson contributed eight.

Within Reach
Senior FahKara Malone is 11 steals away from setting the Purdue career steals record. The Evansville, Ind., native is currently third with 317 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, is ranked 40th nationally with a season average of 2.7 steals per game and is second in the conference.

Three Ball
Senior Jodi Howell holds the Big Ten and school record for career three-point field goal percentage (minimum of 100 attempts) at 42.0 percent (166-395). She has hit at least one three-pointer in 17 games this season and 79 times in her career. Howell's 166 made threes rank her fourth all time at Purdue.

Rayburn Putting Up Big Numbers
Sophomore Brittany Rayburn, the 2009 Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year as a freshman, scored a career-high 28 points en route to the Boilermakers best offensive production of the season, in an 81-59 win over Iowa. It was her seventh 20+ point performance of the season and two points better than her previous high of 26 points which she had achieved three times this season. Rayburn leads the team in scoring at 14.8 ppg average, eighth best in the Big Ten.

Jones Coming Up Big
Since the holiday break, sophomore Chelsea Jones has stepped up her game. Against Indiana she recorded her first career double-double with career highs of 14 points and 11 rebounds. The next game out, against Notre Dame she broke her career high with 16 points and dished out a personal best four assists to go along with six rebounds. On Dec. 28 vs. Minnesota, Jones scored only seven points, but pulled down eight rebounds and helped hold Ashley Ellis-Milan to just one point. Jones has led Purdue in rebounding in seven of the last 11 contests.

Free Throw Improvement
In their last five games, the Boilermakers have hit 75 of 92 free throws for 81.5 percent. Before those games, Purdue was shooting just 65.2 percent from the charity stripe. Part of the improvement can be attributed to the fact that Brittany Rayburn has 34 of the 92 attempts and hit all but three. She had a streak of 22 made free throws during this run and is shooting 84.5 percent on the season. Rayburn earlier this season had a streak of 38 consecutive free throws, but isn't even Purdue's best free throw shooter. Jodi Howell leads the team at 92.9 percent and has an active streak of 20 made free throws.

Doubling Up
Freshman Sam Ostarello, from Fort Pierre, S.D., leads the Boilermakers in rebounding at 5.5 rebounds despite averaging less than 18 minutes per game. She had her best outing of the season against Evansville, tallying her first career double-double with career highs for points (17) and rebounds (14). It was Ostarello's third game with double-digit rebounds, having pulled down 12 boards against Western Illinois and at UC Riverside. Classmate Ashley Wilson has gotten into the double-digit act as well, hauling in a career-high 11 boards against Virginia on Dec. 3 and 10 more against Michigan State last Thursday. Wilson is averaging 4.2 rpg in 18 minutes per game.

Wilson Steps Up
Freshman Ashley Wilson scored eight points in the win over Ohio State, her fourth career start. In the Iowa game she scored the first bucket to give Purdue a lead it never relinquished. She got in foul trouble in the first half, but was 3 of 3 from the field for six points, three rebounds and an assists. At Wisconsin, Wilson was 3 of 3 from the field and 2 of 2 from the free throw line to record eight points, three rebounds and three steal. It was the best performance for the Wheeling, Ill., native since scoring six points and grabbing six rebounds at Northwestern. She followed that up with six points, three rebounds, an assist and three steals at Minnesota.

Big Time in the Big Ten at Home
The Boilermakers are a perfect 5-0 in Big Ten games in Mackey Arena this season. Purdue is averaging 64.8 ppg, outscoring Big Ten opposition by 10.6 points and limiting the league foes to a .326 shooting percentage in conference contests at home.




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