Dec. 27, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
No. 15/11 PURDUE (11-1) at No. 5/5 NOTRE DAME (9-1)
Tipoff: 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 29
Location: Joyce Center (9,149) - South Bend, Ind.
Internet: Live video web stream available at und.com. 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 14-11
The Rankings: Purdue is ranked No. 11 in both the Associated Press and the USA Today Division I Coaches' Polls and Notre Dame is ranked No. 5 in both.
The fifth-ranked Fighting Irish are coming off back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Championship title game. Notre Dame is led by All-American Skylar Diggins who is averaging a team-best 15.1 points per game. The Irish have a balanced attack with four in double-figures: Diggins, Kayla McBride (14.6 ppg), Natalie Achonwa (14.1 ppg) and Jewell Loyd (13.4 ppg). Achonwa leads Notre Dame in rebounding with a 9.2 rpg average. The Irish are averaging 83.2 points per game while limiting opponents to 57.7 points, for a margin of victory of 25.5 ppg. Before Christmas, Notre Dame earned three-straight wins in the World Vision Classic tournament in Las Vegas, and its lone loss this season was at home to No. 3 Baylor 73-61.
The Series vs. Notre Dame
Coming into the 26th meeting between the intrastate rivals, Purdue has a 14-11 lead in the series, but the Irish have a six-game win streak against the Boilermakers. The last Boilermaker win came on Dec. 7, 2005, by a 65-45 margin in Mackey Arena. Last time the teams met in South Bend, unranked Purdue lost 72-51 to No. 16 Notre Dame in just the second game without Drey Mingo who was recovering from a life-threatening case of bacterial meningitis. Last season, No. 12 Purdue lost 66-38 at home to No. 3 Notre Dame. The most well-known matchup between the two teams occurred in the 2001 NCAA Tournament with the Irish winning the national championship with a 68-66 victory over Purdue in the title game.
Last Time vs. Notre Dame
Natalie Novosel scored 17 points and Devereaux Peters added 16 points and 11 rebounds to help No. 3 Notre Dame defeat No. 12 Purdue 66-38 on Dec. 10, 2011. Courtney Moses scored 14 points and Antionette Howard added 13 for Purdue. Purdue's Brittany Rayburn, Purdue's leading scorer for the season, was held to four points on 1-for-7 shooting. She was ill and played just 24 minutes. Purdue produced one of its lowest offensive performances in school history. The Boilermakers shot just 24 percent from the field. Notre Dame shot 44 percent against Purdue, which had been holding opponents to 31 percent shooting. The Fighting Irish extended their lead in the second half. Notre Dame led 58-30 with 10 minutes to play. Novosel scored 11 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to help put the game out of reach.
Purdue starts Big Ten action Jan. 2 at Illinois and follows that up with a game on CBS Sports at No. 19 Nebraska on Jan. 5.
Last Time Out
Courtney Moses scored 18 points, Drey Mingo added 13 along with eight rebounds and Purdue used a big second-half run to beat IUPUI 78-53 on Dec. 21. The Boilermakers led 36-28 at halftime but blew the game open with a 14-2 run in the first 6:11 of the second half that put them up by 20 on IUPUI. DeAirra Goss, who led all scorers with 24 points, got IUPUI within 62-47 with a fastbreak layup with 7:30 remaining but the Jaguars couldn't get any closer and finished the game shooting just 36.7 percent. Moses also had four assists and four steals, and Sam Ostarello added 15 points while KK Houser had 13 for Purdue. Akilah Sims had 10, but was the only IUPUI player besides Goss to score in double figures.
The Boilermakers are off to their best start since the 2002-03 season. Purdue went 11-1 before a second loss in both 2002-03 and 2001-02. The best record in school history was the national championship season in 1998-99 when Purdue went 34-1, including a 32-game win streak. The Boilermakers have not trailed at all in six contests this year - at SIU Edwardsville, Bowling Green, Wake Forest, Central Michigan, at IPFW and IUPUI - and have trailed at halftime only twice - vs. UConn and at UT Martin. Purdue is 1-1 when trailing at the half.
Last Nonconference Matchup
Saturday's game against Notre Dame is the final nonconference contest of the 2012-13 season. At 11-1, the Boilermakers are tied with Michigan State for best pre-conference record. All 12 Big Ten schools are above .500 on the season.
As of Dec. 17, Purdue's three-point field goal average of 41.7 percent was fifth highest in the nation and currently at .413 is best in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers hit a season-high 13-of-22 threes against No. 2 UConn, tying for third most in school history. Purdue has six players shooting .400 or better: (Taylor Manuel (1.000), Dee Dee Williams (.556), April Wilson (.440), KK Houser (.440), Hayden Hamby (.429) and Courtney Moses (.413).
Purdue's three-point field goal defense has been impressive. The Boilermakers are holding opponents to 26.7 percent from beyond the arc. IUPUI was limited to a season-low 7.1 percent (1-of-14), while Wake Forest had the season high with 38.5 percent (5-of-13).
Based on statistics through Dec. 16, Purdue is ranked in the top 50 among Div. I institutions in several offensive categories. In addition to holding the No. 5 spot for three-point field goal percentage (.417), the Boilermakers are No. 9 for win/loss percentage (.909), No. 10 for field goal percentage (.470), No. 14 for free throw percentage (.781), No. 26 for assists per game (16.5), No. 43 for scoring offense (71.6 ppg) and No. 50 for scoring margin (+13.4). Purdue also is No. 46 in rebound margin (+7.4).
At 78.4 percent, Purdue is shooting a higher free throw percentage than the school season record of 77.7 percent set in 2010-11. Four players are shooting over 82.0 percent, led by Courtney Moses at .917. Drey Mingo is shooting .886, KK Houser .837 and Sam Ostarello a career-high .828. April Wilson is not far behind at .792.