Women's Basketball Set for Big Ten Tournament

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Whitney Bays carries a streak of five straight games with at least 10 rebounds into Friday's game.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Whitney Bays carries a streak of five straight games with at least 10 rebounds into Friday's game.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

March 5, 2014

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The fourth-seeded Purdue women's basketball team heads to Indianapolis this weekend for the 2014 Big Ten Tournament, opening play on Friday at 2:30 p.m. (ET) against the winner of Thursday's first-round game between fifth-seeded Iowa and No. 12 seed Illinois. The Boilermakers have won the last two conference tournaments, earning automatic bids to the NCAA Championships, and look to post just the third run of three consecutive championships since the tournament's start in 1995.

Purdue owns the most impressive Big Ten Tournament history in the conference, winning a Big Ten-best nine postseason tournament titles, including three straight from 1998-to-2000 and the last two in a row. The Boilermakers secured this year's No. 4 seed and a first-round tournament bye on Sunday, snapping Nebraska's nine-game win streak with an 82-66 senior day victory in Mackey Arena. It marks Purdue's 18th first-round bye in tournament history, playing on Thursday just once in 19 trips, and their third all-time appearance as the No. 4 seed. The Boilermakers finished as tournament runners-up in 1996 as the fourth seed, and won the 2012 Big Ten Tournament title from the No. 4 spot in 2012, earning a 74-70, double-overtime victory over Nebraska.

"There's always a different buzz around our team when it comes to tournament time," said Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp. "We love playing in the Big Ten Tournament and we love playing in Indianapolis. The championship atmosphere brings out the best in our team."

The Boilermakers are 37-10 in 18 Big Ten Tournament appearances, including a 21-6 mark in Bankers Life Fieldhouse (previously Conseco Fieldhouse). The Big Ten Tournament has been held in Indianapolis 16 of its 18 previous occasions, playing the first two in Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse and the following three in the RCA Dome before moving to the home of the Indiana Pacers in 2000.

The Boilermakers finished the regular season at 21-7, marking the 22nd 20-win season for Purdue, their fourth in a row, and the sixth in eight years for Versyp. Ranked 17th in the nation by the AP, 16th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and eighth in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), the Boilermakers have won six straight, holding opponents to just 58.2 points per game during the run.

Heading into her final postseason, senior Courtney Moses looks to put the finishing touches on an outstanding collegiate career. Earning a slew of honors on and off the court, Moses was most recently named First Team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and media and earned a spot on the 2014 WBCA/Allstate Good Works team. With 1,627 career points, she is the No. 9 scorer in Purdue's history and remains 25 points shy of eighth-ranked 1997 Honorable Mention All-American Jannon Roland on the Boilermakers' all-time scoring list. Moses is also closing in on Purdue's career three-point field goal record of 238, held by 2007 All-American Katie Gearlds. With 233 entering Friday, Moses is currently 13th in Big Ten history, just 11 shy of a mark on the top-10 list.

In eight career Big Ten Tournament games, Moses is averaging 13.4 points per game, including 20+-point game outbursts against Penn State in 2011 (23) and again in 2012 (21). She's made nearly 50 percent of her shots in the tournament (37-75), including 48.1 percent from behind the arc.

Both of Purdue's potential second-round opponents were single-plays during the 2014 Big Ten season as the Boilermakers' took home an 80-68 victory at Illinois on Jan. 27, and edged Iowa in Mackey Arena, 74-73, on Feb. 16. The Hawkeyes won both regular season meetings against Illinois, securing a 69-55 home victory on Feb. 13, and following with an 81-56 victory last Sunday, March 2, in Champaign, Ill.

Friday's game will be the second of the day's opening session and will follow a meeting between top-seeded Penn State and the winner of Thursday's game between eighth-seeded Ohio State and ninth-seeded Northwestern. The game will air live on the Big Ten Network with Kevin Kugler providing play-by-play and former Boilermaker Stephanie White providing analysis. Tim Newton and Jane Schott will bring you the action on WBPE (95.3 BOB-FM), and live stats will be available via GameTracker at PurdueSports.com.