Dec. 5, 2009
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Purdue at Northwestern
Tip: 5 p.m. ET
Internet Video: bigtennetwork.com
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 receiving votes in the Associated Press poll and Northwestern is unranked.
Live Stats: live stats available at NUsports.com.
Northwestern (5-2) is led by 6-foot-5 junior center Amy Jaeschke who is averaging 15.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per game. She is third on the team in assists with a 3.0 per game average. The Wildcats have a balanced offensive attack with five players averaging between 9.4 and 6.6 points per game. Northwestern has been outrebounding opponents by 8.1 boards per game and have blocked and average of 5.4 shots per game. It figures to be a defensive battle with both teams holding opponents under 54 points per game. Northwestern is coming off a 69-68 loss at home to Clemson in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Big Ten Action
The Boilermakers play their first Big Ten game of the season when they travel to Evanston, Ill., to take on Northwestern (5-2) on Dec. 6 at 4 p.m. CT. It is the earliest conference game in Purdue history and has been designated by the Wildcats as Autism Awareness Day. Ten of the 11 Big Ten schools face one another with Illinois drawing the bye on opening weekend.
The Boilermakers resume non-conference play on Dec. 13 when they travel to Oakland. Purdue defeated the Golden Grizzlies 68-40, last season in the first meeting between the two teams. Oakland is located in Rochester, Mich., and is coached by Beckie Francis who is in her 10th year as the Golden Grizzlies head coach.
The Last Time Out
The Purdue women's basketball team outscored No. 14/15 Virginia 35-30 in the second half and held the Cavaliers' preseason All-American Monica Wright to just seven points, but it was not enough. Purdue was led by Brittany Rayburn's 19 points, which included a perfect 11 for 11 performance from the free throw line. The Boilermakers used a 17-5 run to start the second half and back-to-back three-pointers by Jodi Howell to tied the game at 31. It was back and forth the rest of the way until FahKara Malone was called for her fifth foul on an offensive push off with 1:52 to play. The Cavaliers were held without a field goal without Malone, but hit 6 of 6 free throws to seal the 56-49 victory. Freshman Ashley Wilson had a game-high 11 rebounds in her first start as a Boilermaker and Purdue outrebounded the Cavaliers 41 to 32. Howell scored eight points, freshman Sam Ostarello chipped in eight and Malone pulled down a career-high nine rebounds to go with four assists and two steals.
Head Coach Sharon Versyp
Former Boilermaker point guard, Sharon Versyp is in her fourth season as head coach at Purdue. She has a 78-36 record for a win percentage of 68.4 percent. The Mishawaka, Ind., native has a career mark of 195-101 and should reach the 200-win plateau this season, her 10th as a collegiate head coach. At Purdue, Versyp is averaging 25 wins per season, the second-best three-year average in school history. Kristy Curry averaged 26 wins in her first three years. 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 Dec. 2, Purdue is ranked No. 12 nationally in scoring defense, allowing an average of only 50.5 points per game. Additionally, the Boilermakers are 36th in field goal defense holding opponents to 34.1 percent and are 13th in three-point field goal percentage defense allowing just 21.6 percent from beyond the arc.
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, the most experienced post player for Purdue at just 5.9 minutes per game last year, has a stress fracture in her lower left leg and is unable to practice. Her status will be re-evaluated in early Dec.
Senior FahKara Malone is just 43 steals away from setting the Purdue career steals record. The Evansville, Ind., native is sixth with 283 career steals, while former two-time All-American Katie Douglas owns the record with 327. 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 had 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 the active career assists leader with 417.
Senior Jodi Howell scored 20 points at Pepperdine, and 15 of them came from beyond the three-point arc. The Alexandria, Ind., native set a Purdue season record for three-point field goal percentage in 2008-09, and it was the second-best season percentage in conference history. She connected on 59 of 125 threes for 47.2 percent, leading the team and the Big Ten in three-point field goal accuracy. The Alexandria, Ind., native currently holds the Big Ten and school record for career three-point field goal percentage (minimum of 100 attempts) at 42.9 percent (146-340).
Wilson Scores Season-High
Freshman Ashley Wilson contributed a season-high 16 points in Purdue's loss at Pepperdine. She kept the Boilermakers in the game in the first half, recording 10 of Purdue's 20 first half points, including six straight to close a 10-point deficit to four just before the end of the period. The 6-foot forward missed all of summer conditioning and most of preseason with a stress fracture in her lower leg. In addition to her 16 points, Wilson also pulled down eight rebounds. At Virginia, Wilson pulled down a season- and game-high 11 rebounds in her first career start.
Youth and Experience
Purdue has a talented and experienced perimeter with FahKara Malone, who is set to become the ninth four-year starter in Boilermaker history, senior Jodi Howell,the Big Ten's all-time leader in three-point field goal percentage and sophomore Brittany Rayburn, Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year as a freshman. What the Boilermakers are lacking is a returning post player with significant minutes logged. Chelsea Jones, Laura Garriga, Samantha Woods and freshmen Ashley Wilson and Sam Ostarello will need to help fill the void, especially on the boards where Purdue lost 72.8% of its rebounding to graduation.
South Dakota Hits The Boards
Freshman Sam Ostarello, from Fort Pierre, S.D., leads the Boilermakers in rebounding at 6.6 rebounds per game The 6-foot-2 forward has pulled down double-digit rebounds twice this season, recording 12 boards vs. Western Illinois and at UC Riverside. Ostarello is the first player from South Dakota to don the Old Gold and Black and she arrived at Purdue with numerous high school accolades, including being named WBCA/Nike All-American, South Dakota Miss Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year.
The Boilermakers have a 7-3 NCAA Tournament record under head coach Sharon Versyp while advancing to the Elite Eight twice in three years. Purdue is one of only nine teams that have earned a birth in the regional finals two of the last three seasons. Arizona State, Maryland, Stanford, Tennessee, North Carolina, Rutgers and LSU have advanced at least that far twice since 2006-07, and Connecticut has done it all three years. Advancing deep into the NCAA Tournament is a tradition for the Boilermakers and every four-year player since 1990 has been to a Sweet 16 and since 1994 has been to an Elite Eight. With 16 consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, Purdue has one of the longest active streaks in NCAA Division I women's basketball. Only Tennessee (28), Stanford (22) and Connecticut (21) have longer streaks going.