Tipoff: Noon ET on Saturday, Dec. 10 Location: Mackey Arena - West Lafayette, Ind. Television: live on the Big Ten Network with Tom Hart providing play-by-play and Stephanie White analysis. Internet: live stats available via Gametracker at purduesports.com. Radio: live on WBPE (95.3 BOB-FM) and purduesports.com with Tim Newton providing play-by-play and Sara White analysis. The Series: Purdue leads 14-10 The Rankings: Purdue is ranked No. 12 by the Associated Press and No. 14 in the ESPN/USA Today Division I Coaches' Poll. Notre Dame is ranked No. 3 in both polls. Promotions: Take a Kid to the Game - anyone in the eighth grade and under gets in free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Halftime performance by Josh Horton - World Class Juggler. Boiler Crunch Cereal Drive - donations of breakfast cereal will be accepted at collection boxes located on the concourse of Mackey Arena. Santa Claus will visit the West Club of Mackey Arena from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m.
The Boilermakers will have a quick turnaround, as they play at Central Michigan (2-5) on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. ET. Notes for that game are included in this release as well.
The Opponent - Notre Dame
The third-ranked Fighting Irish return four starters from their national finalist team, including junior guard Skylar Diggins who is averaging a team-best 17.6 points per game and senior guard Natalie Novosel who led the team in scoring last season and is second on the team in scoring this year with a 16.1 ppg average. Six-foot-two senior forward Devereaux Peters leads the Irish in rebounding with a 6.9 rpg average, while contributing 9.3 ppg. Notre Dame has opened conference play and is coming off a 95-42 dismantling of BIG EAST foe Marquette. The Fighting Irish are averaging 81.7 points per game while limiting opponents to 52.4 points. Notre Dame's lone loss this season was at top-ranked Baylor in the Preseason WNIT, 94-81.
The Opponent - Central Michigan
The Chippewas (2-5) field a young team with three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior in their starting line up. Central Michigan last played on Dec. 3, an 86-79 loss at home to Bradley but have been in games against Northwestern (L, 69-60), Pittsburgh (L, 77-70) and South Florida (L, 86-80 OT). Six-foot freshman guard Crystal Bradford leads the Chippewas at 15.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Freshman forward Jas'Mine Bracey is the leading rebounder (7.9) and second leading scorer (12.0).
The Series - Notre Dame
Coming into the 25th meeting between the intrastate rivals, Purdue has a 14-10 lead in the series, but the Irish have a five-game win streak against the Boilermakers. The last Boilermaker win came on Dec. 7, 2005, by a 65-45 margin in Mackey Arena. Purdue is 8-2 in games played in West Lafayette. Last season, unranked Purdue lost 72-51 at No. 16 Notre Dame in just the second without Drey Mingo (bacterial meningitis). The most well-known matchup between the two teams occurred in the 2001 NCAA Tournament with the Irish earning the national championship with a 68-66 victory over Purdue in the title game.
The Series - Central Michigan
The Chippewas hold a 3-2 series advantage against Purdue. The Boilermakers won the first meeting, 63-60 on Jan. 21, 1978, then lost the next three before a 39-point victory, 88-49, in the most recent meeting Dec. 19, 1988, in Mackey Arena. Purdue is 0-2 in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
Last Time Out
Purdue recorded a win over a top-five non-conference opponent for the first time since Jan. 5, 2009, by taking down No. 4 Texas A&M 60-51 on Sunday. Under coach Versyp, Purdue has recorded four wins against top-five teams. The Boilermakers stopped the defending national champions' win streak at 12 games by holding the Aggies 29 points below their season average, limiting them to 16.0 percent (4-of-25) field goal percentage in the second half and 27.4 percent (17-of-62) for the game. Courtney Moses was Purdue's top scorer for the second game in a row with 15 points. Brittany Rayburn scored 14 points and Sam Ostarello pulled down 12 rebounds to go along with her seven points. For the second-straight game, Chelsea Jones was a defensive force. Against Texas A&M, she contributed a season-high nine points, six rebounds, four blocks and a steal, while limiting Texas A&M's leading scorer, Kelsey Bone to 4-of-11 shooting.
First Time For Everything
The technical foul on Coach Versyp early in the second half against Texas A&M - with the Boilermakers down 37-29 - was Versyp's first as Purdue's head coach. Purdue outscored the Aggies 31-14 after Versyp was whistled for the technical.
The Big Ten recorded the most wins in its history during the fifth annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge, as the two conferences battled to a 6-6 split. The 2011 Big 12/Big Ten Challenge is tied, 4-4. The series will continue when Wisconsin travels to face Kansas on Thursday and Michigan State travels to Texas on Saturday before Illinois and Texas Tech conclude the series on Dec. 17. The Big Ten is looking for its second victory in as many seasons after having won 7-5 last year. With the 60-51 victory against Texas A&M, Purdue is 1-1 in the Big 12/Big Ten Challenge.
The Stretch Continues
The contest against No. 3 Notre Dame is Purdue's third-consecutive against a top-10 opponent. The Boilermakers started out the most challenging portion of their non-conference schedule with a 64-53 loss at No. 7/6 Duke on Dec. 1, then knocked off No. 4 Texas A&M 60-51 on Dec. 4. It does not get any easier when Purdue has just over 24 hours before playing at Central Michigan on Dec. 11. It is the fourth time in school history that the Boilermakers have three-straight games against top-10 opponents and the third time it has happened in the regular season. The last time it occurred, top-ranked Purdue beat No. 9 Rutgers, No. 3 Louisiana Tech and No. 10 Duke for the 1999 NCAA national championship. In Dec. of 1995, No. 7 Purdue went 0-3 when facing No. 3 Tennessee and No. 8 Colorado before playing No. 2 Tennessee (when ranked 10th), six days after the first matchup. The first time in happened was in the 1992-93 season, unranked Purdue lost to No. 5 Penn State, No. 7 Ohio State and No. 3 Iowa. Last season, the Boilermakers had three-consecutive games against top-25 opponents (No. 22 Maryland, No. 16 Notre Dame and No. 7 Texas A&M) and had to play all three without Drey Mingo who had contracted bacterial meningitis on Nov. 22.
The Boilermakers will be on the hardcourt again in just 26 hours, playing at Central Michigan on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. Purdue then will take the week off for exams before facing Auburn on the road on Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. ET. The Boilermakers then have three-straight home games starting with Oakland on Dec. 20 at noon, IPFW on Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. and Big Ten action begins on Dec. 30 against Minnesota at 7 p.m.
Not only has senior Brittany Rayburn led Purdue in scoring the last two seasons with averages of 14.6 ppg (sophomore)and 14.4 ppg (junior), with 1,415 points, she also is second among active Big Ten players for career points, trailing only Ohio State's Preseason Player of the Year candidate Samantha Prahalis. Rayburn leads the Boilermakers in scoring so far this season with an average of 15.3 ppg and through seven games, is shooting a career-best 46.2 percent (42-of-91) from the field, including 42.9 percent (18-of-42) from three-point range. Against Tulane, Rayburn knocked down 5-of-8 three-pointers, her highest number of threes since the 2009-10 season. Rayburn also recorded five threes at Duke.
Moses Returning To Form
Sophomore guard Courtney Moses has led Purdue in scoring in the last two contests. She is Purdue's second leading scorer, averaging 10.3 points per game after averaging 11.7 ppg as the Boilermakers' starting point guard as a freshman last season. Moses set Purdue's freshman record for three-pointers a year ago with 54, making 40.9 percent of her attempts from long range and 42.3 percent overall from the field. The Sweetser, Ind., native has gotten off to a slower start from the field this season but made 3-of-5 threes against Texas A&M en route to a game-high 15 points. Moses missed the Kansas State game due to concussion symptoms.
More Guard Play
Redshirt sophomore guard KK Houser is Purdue's third leading scorer with a 9.1 ppg average. She is leading the team in assists (29) and steals (22) while splitting time between the point guard and two-guard spots. One year and one day from her ACL injury, the 5-foot-6 guard tied her career high with a game-high 18 points against IUPUI. The Lincoln, Neb., native also set a career best with six steals while pulling down four rebounds and dishing out three assists in the 75-45 victory. Houser had an impressive night against Chicago State with a career-high seven assists to go along with 11 points, five steals and her first career block.
By holding opponents to 36.6 percent from the field last season, the Boilermakers tied the second-lowest opponent season field goal percentage in school history. So far this season, Purdue has limited opponents to 30.9 percent from the floor which is tops in the Big Ten and sixth nationally. The Boilermakers have held opponents to an average of 48.9 points per game - good for first in the Big Ten and 11th in the national stats rankings - and have held seven opponents to 53 points or less this season.
Purdue is ninth nationally in blocked shots per game at 6.6 per game as of Dec. 4. Purdue tied a school record with 13 blocks against Chicago State. Chelsea Jones leads Purdue with 15 blocked shots this season. Sam Ostarello is second with 13 blocks.
Speaking Of Defense
Six-foot-four center Chelsea Jones went against two of the top centers in the country in the last two games and her defense against them was outstanding. Jones held No. 6 Duke's leading scorer Elizabeth Williams to 2-of-17 from the field and followed that up by limiting Texas A&M's leading scorer, Kelsey Bone to 4-of-11 from the field. After recording three blocks against Duke, Jones blocked four shots against the Aggies. The Texas A&M game was Jones' best overall performance this season, with a season-high nine points, six rebounds, four blocks and a steal.