Tipoff: 7 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 10 Location: Mackey Arena - West Lafayette, Ind. Television: None Internet: Live video web stream via purduesports.com All-Access. Live stats available via Gametracker at purduesports.com. Radio: Live on WBPE (95.3 BOB-FM) and purduesports.com with Tommy Thiel providing play-by-play and Jane Schott analysis. The Series: First meeting The Rankings: Purdue is ranked No. 21 by the Associated Press and No. 18 in the ESPN/USA Today Division I Coaches' Poll. USC Upstate is not ranked. Promotions: Boiler Crunch Cereal Drive - donations will be accepted at all gates of Mackey Arena for the five home games from Nov. 10 to Dec. 21. Nov. 28 vs. Georgia Tech is the Pack the House Challenge and all single-game tickets are $5.
The Spartans are looking to rebound from a 9-21 record last year, after posting consecutive winning seasons in 2009-10 and 2010-11. The team returns four starters: Tee'Ara Copney, Lauren McRoberts, Hannah Ohl and Tyra Smith, while welcoming six newcomers to the roster. Copney, a senior guard, was the Spartans' leading scorer last year, averaging 15.7 points along with 4.8 rpg, 2.5 apg and a team-high 2.4 spg. The Spartans also return senior assist leader Tyra Smith who averaged 4.1 helpers per game.
The Boilermakers have a week off before traveling to Edwardsville, Ill., to take on SIUE on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. ET. Purdue returns home for a contest against Bowling Green on Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Mackey Arena. The game versus Bowling Green will be broadcast live on BTN.
Head Coach Sharon Versyp
Former Boilermaker point guard, Sharon Versyp is entering her seventh season as head coach at Purdue. She has a 136-70 record and has amassed the third most wins in school history. The Mishawaka, Ind., native has a career mark of 253-135 in her 13th year as a collegiate head coach. At Purdue, Versyp is averaging 22.7 wins per season, while leading the Boilermakers to three Big Ten Tournament championships (2007, 2008, 2012) and to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight twice (2007 and 2009).
Purdue in Exhibition Games
With an 89-33 win over Lindsey Wilson College on Nov. 4, the Boilermakers improved to 38-3 in preseason exhibition games, including coach Versyp's 9-0 record at Purdue. The Boilermakers held Lindsey Wilson to a record for low points in an exhibition game with 33 points. The previous record was 34 points against the Netherlands in 2003. The 56-point margin ties for Purdue's third-highest margin in exhibition history. Five Boilermakers scored in double-figures, led by senior Sam Ostarello's 14 points and six rebounds. The Fort Pierre, S.D., native hit 8-of-9 free throws and contributed a game-high three blocks. Drey Mingo had 12 points and five boards, KK Houser contributed 13 points, five assists and four steals, Courtney Moses pitched in 11 points and four assists, while freshman April Wilson scored 10 points, had three rebounds, an assist, zero turnovers and four steals.
USC Upstate has two players on its roster from the Hoosier state and one - senior Hannah Ohl - from Danville, Ill. Senior Lauren McRoberts played at Carmel H.S. with Purdue sophomore Torrie Thornton. McRoberts is the cousin of Duke men's basketball standout Josh McRoberts. Thornton also played AAU basketball with redshirt freshman Maddie Herr, from Hamilton Heights H.S.
Head Coach Sharon Versyp
Former Purdue point guard, Sharon Versyp is entering her seventh season as head coach of the Boilermakers. She has a 136-70 record at Purdue and a career mark of 253-135 in 13 seasons as a collegiate head coach. Versyp has led the Boilermakers to three Big Ten Tournament championships (2007, 2008, 2012) and to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight twice (2007 and 2009). A 2010 inductee into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, Versyp has inked a top-15 signing class each of her six seasons with the Boilermakers. Versyp already is the third-winningest coach in Purdue history.
Mingo Returns Drey Mingo is looking to complete her first full season with the Boilermakers after being granted a clock extension by the NCAA for a sixth year. The 6-foot-2 forward transferred from Maryland and sat out the 2009-10 season due to NCAA transfer rules. She missed four games the next year due after contracting a life-threatening case of bacterial meningitis right before Thanksgiving. The illness left her with permanent hearing loss in her left ear. Fully recovered for the 2011-12 season, Mingo tore the ACL in her right knee on Oct. 29 in a closed scrimmage at Indiana State, setting up the waiver by the NCAA to return for this season. The Atlanta, Ga., native is a three-time captain, pursuing a graduate degree in occupational and environmental health sciences. She led the Boilermakers in rebounding in 2010-11 with an average of 5.8 rebounds per game and set a school single-season record for three-point field goal percentage at 48.1 percent. Mingo was recently named one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award, one of four players in the Big Ten to be recognized as such.
Purdue is ranked in both major preseason polls, starting the season where it ended last year at No. 18 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll. The Boilermakers start out this year at No. 21 in the Associated Press Poll after finishing No. 13 last season. The Big Ten coaches have picked Purdue as the No. 3 team in the preseason and honored junior guard Courtney Moses with Preseason All-Big Ten team accolades.
Experience And Youth
Purdue lost five seniors off last season's 25-9 Big Ten Tournament championship squad, including leading scorer Brittany Rayburn (14.8 ppg), but return four players who have combined for a total of 164 starts. Preseason All-Big Ten selection Courtney Moses leads the way, having started 64 of the 66 games in her career and was the second-leading scorer at 10.8 ppg. Point guard KK Houser was named honorable mention All-Big Ten by the media last year after averaging 9.9 points and team highs of 3.7 assists and 2.5 steals. Sam Ostarello also was a media selection for honorable mention All-Big Ten and led Purdue in rebounding at 8.4 rpg, good for third-highest average in the Big Ten. Drey Mingo started 24 of 29 games in her illness-shortened redshirt junior season. Head coach Sharon Versyp has brought in a talented freshman class in Hayden Hamby, Taylor Manuel, Joslyn Massey and April Wilson and will have the services of 6-foot-4 post player Camille Redmon, a transfer from Kansas State and Grayson County College.
2012 Big Ten Tournament Champions
Last March, the Purdue women's basketball program extended its conference record for Big Ten Tournament championships to eight, with a 74-70 double-overtime win against No. 24 Nebraska. It was the third conference tournament championship for head coach Sharon Versyp and her fourth title-game appearance in six years. The Boilermakers have double the tournament titles as the next winningest team in the league. Ohio State has four postseason championships.
Boiler Crunch Cereal Drive
For the second-straight year, the Purdue women's basketball team is doing its part to help alleviate childhood hunger in the greater Lafayette community by coordinating a food drive for donations of breakfast cereal to benefit the Food Finders Backpack Program. Donations for the Boiler Crunch Cereal Drive will be taken at all Purdue home games starting Nov. 10 vs. USC Upstate through the Dec. 21 contest against IUPUI. There are a total of five home games at which donations will be taken: Nov. 10 vs. USC Upstate, Nov. 19 vs. Bowling Green, Nov. 28 vs. Georgia Tech, Dec. 2 vs. Central Michigan and Dec. 21 vs. IUPUI. Drop-off boxes decorated by the women's basketball players will be placed at each gate of Mackey Arena. Fans also may drop cereal donations off at any of the three greater Lafayette Marsh supermarkets or the three area Walmart stores.
Sophomore Torrie Thornton is not expected to play in the season opener. The Carmel, Ind., native is undergoing rehab to recover from surgery this summer on both knees that was necessary due to severe tendonitis.
Versyp Radio Show
The first Sharon Versyp Radio Show of the 2012-13 season is Monday, Nov. 26 at 7:10 p.m. ET at Buffalo Wild Wings on the Levee in West Lafayette and is broadcast live on 95.3 BOB-FM. The call in number is 765-471-9653.