Dec. 18, 2009
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Purdue vs. Evansville
Tip: Saturday, Dec. 19 at Noon ET in Mackey Arena
Internet Video: live web stream video available at video.bigtennetwork.com for a fee of $2.99.
Radio: WBPE 95.3 BOB-FM and purduesports.com. Tim Newton will provide play-by-play and Jane Schott will provide analysis.
Rankings: Both teams are unranked.
Live Stats: Gametracker available at purduesports.com
Saturday's matchup is just the second meeting all time between Purdue (4-5) and Evansville (2-7). The first contest was an 82-63 Boilermaker victory on Nov. 30, 1984, in the Lady Brave Classic at Bradley. The Purple Aces come into Mackey Arena with a 2-7 record, but have won two of their last three games. Evansville last played on Dec. 12, dropping an 83-37 decision to Green Bay at home. UE does not have a player averaging double-figures on the season, but senior guard Amy Gallagher has been Evansville's leading scorer in the last three games and averages a team-best 8.7 ppg.
After playing just two games in two weeks, the Boilermakers will play the second of two games in three days when they take on Gardner-Webb on Dec. 21, in Mackey Arena. The Lady Bulldogs are 8-2 on the season and will play host to Converse in Boiling Springs, N.C., on Dec. 18 before traveling to West Lafayette, Ind. Gardner-Webb was picked to finish third in the Big South in the league's preseason poll and have five players averaging double-figure scoring. Junior guard Dominique Hudson leads the way with an 11.5 scoring average, while 6-foot-6 center Sandra Vaitkute leads the team in rebounding with a 6.6 per game average while contributing 10.2 ppg. It is the first time Purdue and Gardner-Webb have met in women's basketball.
Saturday will be the first home game in nearly a month for Purdue, as the last home game was played on Nov. 22 vs. Georgetown.
The Last Time Out
The Boilermakers halted a three-game losing skid with a 71-64 victory at Oakland on Dec. 13. Brittany Rayburn tied her career high for points with 26 and FahKara Malone scored a season-high 18 points, 16 of them coming in the second half. The two guards combined for 35 of Purdue's season-high 45 second half points. Purdue's total of 71 points in the win is also a season high.
Head Coach Sharon Versyp
Former Boilermaker point guard, Sharon Versyp is in her fourth season as head coach at Purdue. She has a 79-37 record for a win percentage of 68.1 percent. The Mishawaka, Ind., native has a career mark of 196-102 and is four games away from the 200-win plateau in 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. 14, Purdue is ranked No. 18 nationally in scoring defense, allowing an average of only 53.7 points per game. Additionally, the Boilermakers are 22nd in field goal defense holding opponents to 34.0 percent and are eighth in three-point field goal percentage defense allowing just 22.2 percent from beyond the arc. Purdue leads the Big Ten in that same category.
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 has resumed limited practice with the team.
Senior FahKara Malone is 39 steals away from setting the Purdue career steals record. The Evansville, Ind., native is fifth with 289 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 tied for 35th nationally with a season average of 2.9 assists per game.
Sharing The Rock
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 and is the Big Ten's active assists leader. Malone is second in the conference in both assists (5.0) and steals (2.9).
Senior Jodi Howell scored a game-high 17 points at Northwestern and was perfect from the field, including 3 of 3 from three-point range. In 2008-09, the Alexandria, Ind., native set a Purdue season record for three-point field goal percentage 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 43.5 percent (150-345). As of Dec. 17, Howell is third in the conference in field goal percentage - 21 of 46 for 54.7 percent - and is fourth in three-point FG% - 19 of 37 for 51.4 percent. She is third in the Big Ten in made three-pointers per game (2.1). The graduate student's season three-point field goal percentage ranks her 13th nationally as of Dec. 14.
Rayburn Returns To Starting Lineup
Sophomore Brittany Rayburn, the 2009 Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year as a freshman, was reinserted into the starting lineup at Oakland. She responded by scoring 26 points, tying her career high. The outing included a career-best 12 of 12 performance from the free throw line. The Attica, Ind., native is currently ranked 10th nationally in free throw percentage, making 39 of 42, including 29 consecutive, for 92.9 percent. The 6-foot guard is also tied for seventh in the conference with a 14.7 ppg scoring average.