Dec. 20, 2009
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Gardner-Webb (9-2) at Purdue (5-5)
Tip: Monday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. 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: Purdue is unranked and Gardner-Webb is receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.
Live Stats: Gametracker available at purduesports.com
The Boilermakers play their last game before a four-day break for the holidays, taking on the Lady Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb. It is the first meeting between the two teams in women's basketball. In his sixth season at the helm, head coach Rick Reeves has led his team to a 9-2 record. The Lady Bulldogs, who are coming off a 79-38 drubbing of Converse on Dec. 18, have four players averaging double-figure scoring. Junior guard Courtney Epps 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 9.5 ppg. Gardner-Webb was selected to finish third in the Big South preseason poll and junior guard Dominique Hudson and senior forward Margaret Roundtree were named to the five-member preseason all-conference team.
Purdue Vs. The Big South
Purdue is 1-0 against teams in the Big South, defeating Radford 103-56 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 16, 1994.
Purdue returns to conference action after Christmas, with a home contest on Dec. 28 at 6:30 p.m. against Minnesota and a New Year's Eve matchup at noon against rival Indiana. Both games will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.
The Last Time Out
The Boilermakers defeated Evansville 73-42 on Saturday in Mackey Arena. The Purple Aces committed 28 turnovers - 19 in the first half - and were held to 30.9 percent from the field. Purdue's 73 points is the highest offensive output of the season. Brittany Rayburn led Purdue with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting and tied her career high with four assists. Freshman forward Sam Ostarello had her best day as a Boilermaker, recording career highs of 17 points and 14 rebounds for her first double-double. She also contributed two steals, three blocks and two assists. Senior forward Laura Garriga made the first start of her career and tallied a career-high six points, while freshman guard KK Houser recorded a career-high four assists, career-high four steals and scored eight points.
Head Coach Sharon Versyp
Former Boilermaker point guard, Sharon Versyp is in her fourth season as head coach at Purdue. She has an 80-37 record for a win percentage of 68.4 percent. The Mishawaka, Ind., native has a career mark of 197-102 and is three 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 is expected to see her first game action against Gardner-Webb.
Senior FahKara Malone is 36 steals away from setting the Purdue career steals record. The Evansville, Ind., native is fifth with 292 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 (4.8) 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. The Alexandria, Ind., native currently holds the Big Ten and school record for career three-point field goal percentage (minimum of 100 attempts) at 43.1 percent (150-348). As of Dec. 14, the graduate student's season three-point field goal percentage ranks her 13th nationally. She has hit at least one three-pointer in nine games this season and 71 for her career.
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. Against Evansville, the Attica, Ind., native scored 22 points. It was her fourth 20+ point performance of the season. She leads the team in scoring with a 15.4 ppg average, good for seventh in the Big Ten.
Free Throw Prowess
As of Dec. 14, Rayburn is ranked 10th nationally in free throw percentage. She has hit 31 consecutive free throws and is shooting 93.2 percent from the stripe on the season.
Freshman Sam Ostarello, from Fort Pierre, S.D., leads the Boilermakers in rebounding at 6.5 rebounds per game. She had her best outing of the season against Evansville, tallying her first career double-double while setting career highs for points and rebounds with 17 and 14. The 6-foot-2 forward also had two assists, three blocks and two steals. It was Ostarello's third game with double-digit rebounds, having pulled down 12 boards against Western Illinois and at UC Riverside.
Among Nation's Best In Attendance
Purdue fans' loyal support makes Mackey Arena a tough place to play and has placed the Boilermakers in the top 10 in national attendance for 14-straight seasons. Purdue has finished No. 5 each of the last two years and averaged 8,971 fans a game in 2008-09. The Boilermakers are closing in on their two millionth fan and need just 8,391 patrons to hit that mark. Based the average attendance so far this season, the Boilermakers could welcome fan No. 2,000,000 on Monday vs. Gardner-Webb.