Dec. 19, 1999
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The defending national champion Purdue Boilermakers, under first-year head coach Kristy Curry, are 8-1 heading into a Tuesday, Dec. 21, match-up with the third-ranked Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters in Ruston, La. The Boilermakers most recently defeated Kentucky 48-40 in Indianapolis on Dec. 18 in the first collegiate basketball game played in Conseco Fieldhouse, home to the NBA's Indiana Pacers and the WNBA's Indiana Fever. Purdue, last year's Big Ten regular season, Big Ten Tournament and NCAA national champion, was ranked No. 12 in the Dec. 13 Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN polls.
#12 Purdue Boilermakers (8-1, 0-0 Big Ten)*
vs. #3 Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (7-1)*
Thomas Assembly Center (8,000) - Ruston, La.
December 21, 1999 - 7 p.m. CST/8 p.m. EST
* rankings as of Dec. 13 Associated Press poll
ALL-TIME RECORD: 415-269 (.607)
BIG TEN RECORD: 187-109 (.632)
RADIO: WLFF (95.3 FM), www.purduesports.com -- Tim Newton (play-by-play), Kathleen Offer (color commentary)
HEAD COACH KRISTY CURRY: Kristy Curry is in her first season at Purdue and as a collegiate head coach. She was hired April 2, 1999, replacing Carolyn Peck, who left the Boilermakers to become the head coach and general manager of the WNBA's Orlando Miracle. Curry has been in the collegiate coaching ranks for eight years, spending time as an assistant at Tulane (1991-93), Stephen F. Austin (1993-94), Texas A&M (1994-96) and Louisiana Tech (1996-99). Curry, now 8-1 as a head coach, owned a 179-91 record as an assistant, good for a .716 winning percentage. Her three-year stint with the Lady Techsters was her most prodigious tenure, producing a 92-11 record and two NCAA Women's Final Four appearances. Curry, 33, is the youngest head coach in the Big Ten Conference and is the first in NCAA women's basketball history (since sanctioned championships began in 1982) to inherit a national champion team. A native of Olla, La., Curry is a 1988 graduate of Northeast Louisiana and received her master's degree in 1994 from Stephen F. Austin.
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP
OFF THE BENCH
HOMECOMING: Tuesday's game marks a homecoming for Purdue coaches Kristy Curry, Kelly Curry and Pam Stackhouse, who all were previously assistant coaches under Leon Barmore at Louisiana Tech. Kristy Curry worked as the second assistant with the Lady Techsters from 1996-99, with her husband, Kelly, serving as the third assistant for the 1998-99 season. Stackhouse, now in her fourth year at Purdue after joining former Boilermaker head coach (and former Louisiana Tech assistant) Nell Fortner for the 1996-97 campaign in West Lafayette, is a Louisiana Tech alum (Class of ?91) and assisted Barmore during the 1995-96 season.
HISTORY: The last time Purdue met Louisiana Tech was in the 1999 NCAA Women's Final Four in San Jose, Calif., on March 26, with the Boilermakers claiming the penultimate victory (77-63) of their national championship-winning season. Purdue's first win against Louisiana Tech came last season in the Boilermaker BlockBuster on Dec. 19 (71-65). Despite losing the last two meetings, Louisiana Tech holds a 4-2 edge in the all-time series with the Boilermakers.
CURRY CRUISING: Purdue head coach Kristy Curry is off to a good start at Purdue. The first-year boss won her first four games and is only the second coach in the history of the program to accomplish that feat (also Marsha Reall). Coincidentally, both Curry and Reall lost their fifth games (Curry at Tennessee and Reall at Southern Illinois). Reall, who coached Purdue for the 1986-87 season, had the best start of any Boilermaker coach, leading her squad to a 9-1 record before finishing 18-9. Only Curry and Reall have been 8-1 through the first nine games of their first seasons at Purdue.
DOUGLAS' DOINGS: Purdue guard/forward Katie Douglas is closing in on history. At the pace she is going, the Indianapolis native may crack the 1,000 point, 500 rebound, 300 assist and 200 steal club as a junior. Douglas would join former Boilermakers Lisa Jahner (1985-88) and Stephanie White-McCarty (1996-99), who both accomplished the feat as seniors. An approximate time-table for when Douglas might enter the elite club follows.
Points: 56 for 1,000 - averaging 20.8 points per game, needs three games
Rebounds: 101 for 500 - averaging 5.1 rebounds per game, needs 20 games
Assists: 17 for 300 - averaging 4.5 per game, needs four games
Steals: 23 for 200 - averaging 3.0 per game, needs eight games
COMING ON STRONG: Junior center Camille Cooper has brought her play to another level. Averaging 6.0 points and 5.5 rebounds through the first four games of the season, Cooper increased her productivity through the last five to average 18.4 points and 9.0 boards per contest. She was five total rebounds shy from averaging a double-double in the last five outings.
GLASS CLEANERS: The Boilermakers are outrebounding their opponents 40.9-33.9, with a season-high 49 in their last outing vs. Kentucky on Dec. 18. Purdue has been outrebounded just two times through the first eight games (vs. Indiana State and at North Texas), but won both contests.
LIFE SAVER: Senior Michelle Duhart is breathing life into the Boilermaker offense by attacking the glass. The forward leads Purdue in offensive rebounds with 32, averaging 3.6 per game. Duhart and reserve freshman Mary Jo Noon (19) have both pulled down more offensive than defensive rebounds.
GOING DEEP: Kristy Curry is routinely going eight players deep on her 12-player roster. After the starting five, Curry usually taps senior forward Mackenzie Curless, junior forward Candi Crawford and redshirt freshman center Mary Jo Noon. Curless started three games this season, while Crawford started one.
GOOD START: The Boilermakers started off the 1999-2000 campaign with four straight wins, marking their best start since the 1992-93 season (8-0). Purdue's best start ever was in the 1990-91 season, when the Boilermakers went 10-0 to kick off the campaign.
CLOSE CALLS: In the 1998-99 season, the Boilermakers had four games decided by two points or less (at Stanford, at Iowa-OT, at Penn State-OT, at Minnesota). Already this year Purdue has played in two games decided by two points. The Boilermakers are 2-0 this season in those close contests, and were 3-1 last season. The last time Purdue played to a two-point finish at home was in 1998, when the Boilermakers lost 60-62 to Michigan on Feb. 8. That was Purdue's last loss in Mackey Arena.
FOUL BEHAVIOR: The Boilermakers have had three foul-outs so far this season, including two by sophomore Kelly Komara (vs. Indiana State and at North Texas). Purdue suffered two disqualifications in 35 games last year.
THE CLOSER THE BETTER: Purdue is averaging 47.3 two-point field goal attempts per game (converting 21.4), compared to 7.4 from beyond the three-point arc (converting 2.8). Last season, Purdue averaged 14.0 three-point attempts per game, compared to 43.8 two-point field foal attempts. The Boilermakers made an average of 5.3 three-pointers and 21.7 field goals per game in 1998-99.
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT: Purdue has trailed in six out of its first nine contests (exception Valparaiso and North Texas). The Boilermakers' greatest deficits in each game to date: 4 at Dayton, 14 vs. Vanderbilt, 4 vs. Florida, 19 at Tennessee, 14 vs. Indiana State, and seven vs. Notre Dame. Purdue rallied to win five of those six games (exception Tennessee).
SMITH BARNEY BOILERMAKERS: The Boilermakers are getting respect the old-fashioned way - they're earning it. Purdue was ranked 23rd in the preseason AP poll, the lowest ranking ever for a defending national champion team, and was ranked 19th in the preseason USA Today/ESPN poll. They are now ranked 12th by AP and USA Today/ESPN (Dec. 13). Purdue started off the season with little national regard, unranked by Fast Break, Lindy's, Street & Smith's and Women's Basketball News Service. Athlon's and Women's Basketball Journal ranked the Boilermakers 17th and 24th, respectively, in their preseason prognostications. Purdue has played two ranked teams this season (both higher), falling by six (66-72) at No. 3 Tennessee and upsetting No. 7 Notre Dame 71-61.
BIG TEN CRYSTAL BALL: The Boilermakers were picked to finish third in the Big Ten preseason media poll and fourth in the preseason conference coaches' poll released Oct. 31. Penn State was tabbed by the coaches to win the league title, followed by Illinois, Wisconsin and Purdue. The media picked Illinois as the top team and Penn State as the runner-up. Purdue junior guard/forward Katie Douglas was named the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year by conference media, and was also selected to the coaches' All-Big Ten team. Douglas was a second team All-Big Ten pick as a sophomore and honorable mention as a freshman.
THE STREAK ENDS: The Boilermakers concluded the 1998-99 campaign on a Big Ten-record 32-game winning streak (by an average of 17.5 points). Purdue's victories at Dayton and against Vanderbilt, Valparaiso and Florida pushed the streak to 36, the fourth-longest in NCAA history. Tennessee, which had its 46-game winning streak snapped at Purdue on Nov. 15, 1998, returned the favor by snapping the Boilermaker streak with a 72-66 victory in Knoxville on Dec. 2. Louisiana Tech leads the all-time list with 54 straight wins (1980-82), followed by Tennessee (46, 1996-98) and Texas (40, 1985-87).
MURDOCK GRANTED RELEASE: Connie Murdock, a 6-2 junior forward for the Boilermakers, asked for and was granted her release from the Purdue women's basketball program Dec. 3. A native of South Bend, Ind., Murdock had been averaging 2.0 points and 1.0 rebounds per game in two games played (Vanderbilt and Valparaiso). "It is not easy to lose anyone from your program, but we want Connie to be happy," Purdue coach Kristy Curry said. "We wish her the best of luck as she pursues her options and continues her career." Murdock, an Indiana All-Star from Clay High School, will have one year of eligibilty remaining upon her transfer.
CLASS OF 2004: Purdue coach Kristy Curry signed a sensational recruiting class in the early-signing period from Nov. 10-Nov. 17. The class, comprised of Cherrise Graham (5-7, G, Conshohocken, Pa.), Lindsey Hicks (6-1, F, Lebanon, Ohio), Shalicia Hurns (6-3, F, Indianapolis, Ind.), Beth Jones (5-9, G, Mason, Ohio), Erika Valek (5-6, G, Lubbock, Texas) and Shereka Wright (6-0, F, Copperas Cove, Texas), was ranked No. 2 by All-Star Girls Report.
GAME 9 RECAP (PURDUE 48, KENTUCKY 40): A win is a win. And that is what Purdue got when it defeated Kentucky 48-40 in the Boilermaker BlockBuster on Dec. 18. Playing in the first collegiate basketball game in Conseco Fieldhouse, home to the NBA's Indiana Pacers and WNBA Indiana Fever, both teams appeared jittery at that tip.
Neither team scored through the first two minutes, but Purdue's Camille Cooper ended the stalemate with a bucket at 17:40. It wasn't until the 16:28 mark when Kentucky first scored on a basket by Tanesha Seaton. The slow scoring pace continued throughout the first half, with both teams struggling offensively. The halftime score (27-18 in favor of Purdue) reflected the laborious efforts of the Boilermakers and Wildcats, who combined to shoot 24.5 percent from the field with 25 total turnovers (12 and 13, respectively).
The situation was not much better in the final 20 minutes, as the Old Gold and Black and Blue and White continued straining to put the ball in the basket. Despite the shooting woes, Purdue managed to break out to a 13-point lead early in the second half and held at least a six-point cushion for most of the remainder. An 8-1 run in the final four minutes, capped by a jumper by Kentucky's Erica Jackson lessened the margin to five at 45-40, but free throws by Cooper (one) and Katie Douglas (two) held the Wildcats at bay and gave Purdue the eight-point victory.
Douglas finished with a game-high 18 points and Cooper added 13, while Jackson paced Kentucky with 15. Purdue finished the contest shooting a season-low 34.0 percent from the field (16-for-47). Kentucky shot 21.5 percent from the field (14-for-65), the lowest of any Boilermaker opponent this season. The Boilermakers shot 20.0 percent from three-point range (2-for-10), compared to the Wildcats' 25.0 percent (3-for-12).
Purdue outrebounded Kentucky 49-41, got to the free throw line six more times (14-for-20, 9-for-14) and committed seven less fouls (16-23). Purdue turned the ball over a season-high 28 times, with the Wildcats' giving up possession of the ball 21 times.
KATIE'S COURT: Junior Katie Douglas may be the nation's most versatile player. The 1999-2000 Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, Douglas leads Purdue in points (20.8 ppg), assists (4.5 apg), steals (3.0) and minutes (35.8 mpg) and ranks fourth in rebounds (5.1 rpg). Douglas, a 6-1 guard/forward who can play at the 1, 2, 3 and 4 positions, is shooting 43.5 percent from the field (54-for-124) and 87.0 percent from the free throw line (47-for-54). She opened her junior season by scoring a career-high 31 points at Dayton on Nov. 19, and hit a game-winning buzzer-beater to give the Boilermakers a 60-58 victory against the Flyers. That was the fourth time Douglas has decided a game in her Purdue career. She also hit for 31 in a 90-50 win against Florida on Nov. 26. A preseason Naismith Award candidate and a preseason first team All-American by Women's Basketball News Service, Douglas recorded a career-high eight steals and tied a career high with seven assists to go along with 21 points in Purdue's 71-61 upset of Notre Dame (Dec. 8).
KARMA CAMILLE-EON: Junior Camille Cooper is Purdue's leader in season and career field goal percentage. The 6-4 center shot 64.2 percent (149-for-232) in 1998-99, and now owns a career percentage of 61.2 percent (289-for-472) over three years. Cooper scored a career-high 23 points with 11 rebounds in Purdue's win vs. Indiana State on Dec. 4, good for her second double-double of the season (17 points, 11 rebounds at Tennessee). She earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors for those performances. Not just an offensive threat, Cooper is an intimidating shot blocker. She averaged 1.5 blocks per game as a sophomore and tied the school single game record with seven against Valparaiso on Nov. 25, 1998. Cooper, a preseason Naismith Award candidate, ranks seventh on Purdue's all-time blocks list with 107. She is currently averaging 12.9 points, a team-high 7.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.
OUR KELLY: Sophomore Kelly Komara is getting the starting nod this season after serving as an understudy during the 1998-99 campaign. A 5-7 guard, Komara converted 26 three-pointers as a rookie, ranking third on the team. She hit 41.3 percent (26-for-62) from behind the arc, good for fifth on the school season list. A 1999 Big Ten All-Freshman team member, Komara averaged 9.5 points and 2.8 rebounds for the Big Ten All-Star team that toured Belgium and Germany over the summer. Komara, who has hit seven treys so far this season, including 4-for-4 at North Texas, is averaging 11.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 34.4 minutes per game.
DUTIFUL DUHART: Senior Michelle Duhart provides a wealth of services for the Boilermakers. The 6-0 forward is Purdue's top post defender and leading offensive rebounder. Duhart is averaging 6.7 rebounds per game, including 3.6 per game on the offensive glass. She pulled down a season-high 13 rebounds against Vanderbilt on Nov. 21 to lead all players. Duhart missed the start against Indiana State while completing the LSAT (Law School Admission Test), snapping a 73-game starting streak. She ranks 13th on Purdue's all-time rebounds list with 522.
PARKS DRIVES: Junior college transfer Shinika Parks has jump-started herself into a starting position with the Boilermakers this season. A national champion at Trinity Valley Community College last year, Parks is averaging 6.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in her first nine contests in the Old Gold and Black. A dangerous penetrator and playmaker, not to mention rebounder, Parks averaged 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game for the Lady Cardinals in their undefeated (36-0) 1998-99 campaign.
TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: Purdue has made 10 trips to the "Big Dance," the NCAA Tournament, in its history, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 1990 and 1992, the Elite Eight in 1995 and 1998, and the Women's Final Four in 1994 and 1999. The Boilermakers' .690 winning percentage (20-9 record) in NCAA Tournament games is the best of any Big Ten school.
NOW A BIG TEN POWER: Prior to the 1987-88 season, the Boilermakers had a 47-99 record (.322) against Big Ten opponents. Since then they are 169-51 (.768) with winning records against all 10 schools (21-3 vs. Indiana, 20-2 vs. Illinois, 20-2 vs. Minnesota, 19-2 vs. Michigan, 19-4 vs. Michigan State, 18-5 vs. Northwestern, 16-5 vs. Wisconsin, 13-10 vs. Iowa, 13-11 vs. Ohio State and 10-7 vs. Penn State).
COME WATCH US PLAY: A record number of Boilermaker fans have purchased season tickets for the 1999-2000 campaign. According to the Purdue Athletic Ticket Office, more than 8,000 season tickets have been sold, including Gold Rush cards (season tickets to all sports except men's basketball). The Boilermakers averaged a school-record 9,681 fans per game in 1998-99 to rank third in the nation behind Tennessee (17,512) and Connecticut (11,072). They recorded the first sellout in school history when 14,123 fans jammed into Mackey Arena against Ohio State on Feb. 14, 1999.
-60/+80: Purdue is 167-5 when holding its opponents to 60 or fewer points since 1986-87. The Boilermakers are 123-3 when scoring 80 or more points during the same period.
2 blocked shots for 109 (6th all-time)
23 rebounds for 369 (25th all-time)
106 points for 782 (23rd all-time)
8 rebounds for 302 (30th all-time)
41 points for 556 (28th all-time)
2 three-pointers for 41 (9th all-time)
4 steals for 181 (7th all-time)
6 rebounds for 405 (22nd all-time)
26 assists for 309 (7th all-time)
30 points for 974 (17th all-time)
21 rebounds for 543 (12th all-time)
1 assist for 99 (30th all-time)
8 three-pointers for 41 (9th all-time)