B1G Game 10: Gophers Host Purdue (1-28-21)

Ignatius L Hoops

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Moving on Up:
Can Minnesota (3-6: 10th) Pass Purdue (3-5: 9th)?


At the end of June, Purdue received some depressing news: Boiler point guard, leading scorer and team heartbeat, Karissa McLaughlin, was undergoing reconstructive ankle surgery and would miss the 2020-21 season. The operation, originally scheduled for early April, was delayed to July by a Covid ban on elective surgery.

That meant the Boilermakers top three scorers and the only Boilers in double figures would not be returning for this season. Two graduated: All Big Ten first team and defensive ace, Ae’Rianna Harris, (14.7 points/game) and Dominique Oden (14.2/game). McLaughlin’s absence would remove her 13.5 points/game. That’s a total of 42 points erased from a team averaging 64 points a game-10th in the B1G.

Later, in September, veteran, reserve guard, Lyndsey Whilby opted out of both the season and the remainder of her Purdue career. Yes, quite a pile of points and experience were accumulating in the team roster outbox.

However, as the out box filled up; the inbox became active. 5’7” guard Brook Moore transferred from Auburn and 5’9” guard Rokia Doumbia transferred from Arkansas. Plus, there were two highly regarded inbound freshman recruits: 6’6” center Ra Shaya Kyle and 6’1” guard Madison Layden.

The newbies joined several returning players with starting experience; but, with limited scoring ability: 5’9” junior G Kayana Traylor (5.7 points per game); 6’0” senior G/F, Janelle Grant (5.3); 6’0” senior G/F, Tamara Farquhar (4.7); 5’10” Junior G, Cassidy Hardin (4.4) and 6’4” C Senior, Fatou Diagne (3.5). Combining this inbound roster with lackluster non-conference games performances (including a 47-52 loss to Valparaiso), it’s safe to say excitement was not palpable in West Lafayette.

Further dampening any hint of hysteria, Northwestern swaggered into Mackey Arena for the B1G season opener. The Wildcats, not caring a hoot about Purdue’s inbox and outbox contents, swaggered out with 70-54 victory.

SURPRISE!

And then, a Christmas present hit the inbox in the form of Karissa McLaughlin. The senior guard, recovered and rehabbed, returned in time for a trip to at Penn State. She played 5 minutes in a 91-87 Boiler win. Leading Purdue were Kayana Traylor with 28 points, Moore 19 and Fatou 13. Maybe something was afoot.

Next up was a visit from Nebraska. McLaughlin came off the bench for 13 points in 14 minutes in an 83-72 Purdue win. McLaughlin’s performance included going 3-3 from behind the arc in a game in which the Boiler were 10-22 from three. Once again Traylor led the way with 21 points. Things were looking up.

Then, along with a calendar change, came Michigan State. The Spartans kicked Purdue to the curb 71-64 initiating a Boilermaker four game, new year, tailspin. Purdue lost at Maryland 46-83, Indiana 45-66 and at Iowa 81-87. The streak could’ve been worse, but Rutgers postponed their game against Purdue in Piscataway. After the Maryland loss, McLaughlin replaced a struggling Brooke Moore in the starting lineup.

Fortunately for Purdue, they were blessed by a visit from the B1G’s worst team-Wisconsin. It wasn’t an easy W. Purdue required some late game heroics to win 56-55. Brooke Moore nailed a three pointer with 36 seconds remaining for a one point Boiler advantage. On Purdue’s next possession, Moore went one of two from the line upping the lead to two. The Badgers Imani Lewis quickly tied the game on a layup. After McLaughlin missed a three with two seconds left; Diagne was fouled by Hilliard on the rebound. Diagne missed her first shot and then nailed the second for the win. Purdue had a little more time to savor the victory, and prepare for the Gophers, because their next game (Michigan) was postponed.

Who Are The Black and Gold?:

Bottom line: Purdue has defeated the teams they’re supposed to beat. Which puts them one up on Minnesota which found a way to lose a game to Penn State. Offensively, Minnesota 70.44/points per game is 9th in the conference while Purdue is 11th at 65.00. Defensively, Minnesota 79.67 is 13th while Purdue 73.88 is 7th. Neither team is a notable threat from three. Minnesota is 9th .325 (78-240) and Purdue .327 (52-159) is 8th.

Will Thursday Evening Be a Slugfest or Shootout?:

If both teams play like they did in Iowa City, I’m guessing a shootout. The Hawkeyes give up a Gopher like 79.6 points/game. Subsequently, the Boilermakers and Gophers found ways to crank up the offense. In the end, both teams were disappointed with the result; but rather pleased with the effort. Purdue plan of attack would be repeatable against Minnesota.

As with most teams, Purdue is increasingly guard oriented. On the other hand, I’m not certainhead coach Sharon Versyp has truly embraced guard oriented offense. I am certain Versyp watched Penn State’s Johnasia Cash go off for 22 points and 15 rebounds and thought, “Hey, I’ve got two of them. Let’s pound the Gophers inside”. The 6’4” Fatou Diagne, a physical presence in the lane, had 16 points (8-11) and 10 rebounds against Iowa. And she was backed up by 6’6” Ra Shaya Kyle with 7 points. That’s a strong combined outing against the Hawkeye bigs.

Gopher defenders will have their hands full with quick and speedy, lefty, Kayana Traylor. The junior, who leads the Boilers in scoring (14.5), had 14 points versus Iowa. However, the scoring story for the Boilers in Iowa City was freshman Madison Layden 19 points, 4 assists and 6-7 from behind the arc. She is Purdue’s leading three-point threat 15-35 (.441). Layden has started since the opening game and was this week’s B1G Freshman of the Week.

As noted above, McLaughlin returned to the starting lineup; but has not returned to form. She is 10-35 (.286) from beyond the arc. Against the Hawkeyes she had 9 points and 7 assists. In addition to McLaughlin, there is another starter returning to form. Senior wing Tamara Farquhar is coming back from a season ending knee injury that occurred three games into last season’s conference play. Against Iowa, Farquhar scored 5 points in 19 minutes.

In their Iowa City shootout’s, Purdue scored 81 points versus Iowa and Minnesota 79. It will make for an entertaining late Thursday afternoon contest in Williams Arena and bring some much needed juice to the victor’s season.

Last Season’s Matchup with Minnesota:

On January 19, Minnesota traveled to West Lafayette accompanied by a five game losing streak. After defeating Penn State in the conference opener, the Gophers lost by 3 to Ohio State, 14 @ Nebraska, 2 to Northwestern, 3 @ Illinois and 2 to Iowa. Competitive; but no cigar. The first quarter at Mackey Arena ended 16 all. Then came the streaks. Purdue, trailing 41-33 rallied to a 43-43 tie with 3:52 remaining in the 3rd quarter. The Gophers buckled down and launched a 19-0 run fueled by six points each from Powell and Scalia. The six minute run buried Boiler hopes and gave Minnesota a 72-59 victory.

For the game: Scalia scored 18 points in 40 minutes, Hubbard 17, Brunson 13 points and 5 steals, Powell 10 points and Taiye Bello 10 points and 10 rebounds. For Purdue: McLaughlin 10 points and 7 assists, Traylor 3 points and Hardin 6 points



Purdues Conference Record:

B1G Wins:
@ Penn State 91-87, Nebraska 83-72, Wisconsin 56-55

B1G Losses: Northwestern 54-70, Michigan State 64-71, @ Maryland 46-83, Indiana 45-66, @ Iowa 81-87

Postponed: Rutgers, Michigan


Kayana Traylor’s Last Six Games Games

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Michigan State1632293
Maryland1253333
Indiana831330
Iowa1402284
Wisconsin820293
MichiganPPD


Fatou Diagne Last Six Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Michigan State652180
Maryland340160
Indiana254184
Iowa16191313
Wisconsin11121254
MichiganPPD

Probable Starters:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’9”GJrKayana Traylor32.114.52.9
6’4”CRSrFatou Diagne23.89.18.9
6’1”GFrMadison Layden29.38.02.8
5’7”GSrKarissa McLaughlin23.47.61.3
6’0”G/FSrTamara Farquhar27.36.05.0


Bench:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’7”GJrBrook Moore18.48.11.1
6’6”CFrRa Shaya Kyle10.54.83.8
5’10”GJrCassidy Hardin13.03.51.4
6’0”G/FRSrJanelle Grant13.02.62.9
5’9”GJrRokia Daumbla9.31.92.9
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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NOTES
• Purdue owns a 46-22 advantage in the all-time series against Minnesota.
• The Boilermakers have won seven straight at Minnesota dating back to 2011.
Madison Layden's steal tally climbed up to 23 on the year. Averaging a Big Ten rookie-best 1.9 steals per game, Layden is 11th among freshmen nationally with at least 10 games played.
• Purdue has knocked down at least nine 3-pointers in five games this season, tied with Iowa for the most in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers are 21-4 over the last six seasons when making nine triples.
Madison Layden and Kayana Traylor have combined to average 6.4 assists per game, while Purdue is assisting on 60% of its made field goals this season, good for fourth in the Big Ten.
Tamara Farquhar is second on the team and 17th in the Big Ten with 7.1 rebounds per game. The senior has three games with double-digit boards.
Ra Shaya Kyle posted her fifth game with at least five rebounds, going for seven boards and six points against Wisconsin. The freshman is averaging 5.8 points and 4.2 rebounds with a team-high 55.6% field goal clip in 11.3 minutes per game.
• Head coach Sharon Versyp is the eighth member of the Purdue 300-wins club, members including Gene Keady, Matt Painter and Dave Shondell.
Karissa McLaughlin is closing in on her 100th start for Purdue. The former Indiana Miss Basketball has made a 3-pointer in 93 career games.
 

tripledouble

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Even though the Boilers should probably be favored, I think this is a winnable game.
 

MNGirlsHoops

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Even though the Boilers should probably be favored, I think this is a winnable game.
Its a game of matchups for us right now, some players give us big issues, especially athletic 5s. We actually match up well with a team like Iowa, so hard to tell right now with Purdue.. Actually Penn st was a tough match up, but they just dont have the horses this year to be consistent.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Minnesota (4-7, 3-6) enters the matchup off a two-game win streak, the most recent being an 85-76 win over Penn State on Monday. In that win, four different Gophers scored 15+ points.

Sophomore guard Sara Scalia set a career record in 3-point shots with five, which accounted for half of the Gophers’ total for the game. Scalia also has yet to miss a free throw this year.

The Gophers went 10-for-30 from the 3-point line against the Nittany Lions, shooting slightly above their season average of 32%. The Boilers are shooting 32.3% from the arc this season.

The Gophers’ coordinated passing led to a 41% shooting percentage against Penn State, but they lacked the physicality to drive to the rim to score points. Wisconsin averages 24.2 points in the paint for the year.

Purdue’s strategy is the opposite of its opponent’s. While the Boilers shoot a comfortable percentage from the 3-point line, the team tends to rely on driving to the basket, offensive rebounds and physical basketball. The Boilermakers average 37 rebounds per game and have a +2 margin in rebounds over opponents this season.

“I tell them, you have one job, rebound,” Versyp said of her players. “We lost a lot of rebounds last year and we have to make up for it.”
 

Katogopher

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Alexia Smith starting in Hubbard’s place. Hopefully she can find some offensive fire power.
 

tripledouble

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With Hubbard out and Powell with 2 quick fouls, Smith and Katie are sure to get some valuable PT today.
 

tripledouble

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McGloughlin for Purdue in a boot. Maybe that will offset the unavailability of Hubbard.
 

Aesop70

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Borowicz is getting the ball to the low post with nice passes -but we can't make the layups...
 

tripledouble

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Not a bad first half. Interesting to note that 18 players played. 10 for the Boilers; 8 for the Gophers. Now, can the Gophers hold their own in the third quarter? Maybe someone needs to tell Lindsey to tweak her halftime messages. (joke)
 

whalenfan

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Nice to see Alexia Smith be a little more aggressive today. Shes gonna be a really nice player.
 

Aesop70

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We'd be leading by 15 if Sissoku could finish at the rim more.
 

thatjanelpick

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Sorry to harp on him but does Corbu not have stats right in front of him? His point totals have been off all game.
 

Aesop70

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WTF????? Are we feeling sorry for Purdue? 2 straight turnovers for easy layups? F***ing lazy!
 

whalenfan

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WTF????? Are we feeling sorry for Purdue? 2 straight turnovers for easy layups? F***ing lazy!
Some bad decisions in the last minute. Otherwise nice to get a win without Hubbard. 3 in a row!!
 

tripledouble

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3-game win streak. Almost reminiscent of the game the Gophers gave away to Maryland in the last minute a couple years ago. Obviously a great game for Scalia. I thought Smith played well in Hubbard's absence. Good chance for her to get some heavy minutes. Mershon brings a lot of intangibles...I love the hustle plays. Still like her better coming off the bench. Nice win.
 

Katogopher

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Wow, should have won by a bigger margin but kept shooting themselves in the foot. Couldn’t understand rushing their shots with little over a minute left. Anyone else hold their breaths when Sissoko gets the ball? Feast or famine. Still a young team and it showed but still got the victory.
 

whalenfan

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Wow, should have won by a bigger margin but kept shooting themselves in the foot. Couldn’t understand rushing their shots with little over a minute left. Anyone else hold their breaths when Sissoko gets the ball? Feast or famine. Still a young team and it showed but still got the victory.
Powell going to the rim with like 25 seconds on the shot clock with a little over a minute left was a really really bad decision.
 

Aesop70

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Still a good win. 3 in row always builds confidence (they'll need it on Sunday - Iowa is much better than our prior 3 opponents). Scalia showed she can be the go to star, Smith got some nice experience and Sissoku contributed although she still is frustrating to watch with some of her turnovers and missed shots at the rim.
 

GringaGopher

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Scalia having fun being unconscious from 3!!! Shaky with the late TO's but they get an important W. Sissoko a difference maker but agree that I close my eyes when she starts dribbling. They do seem to be playing with more confidence.
 

thatjanelpick

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Still a good win. 3 in row always builds confidence (they'll need it on Sunday - Iowa is much better than our prior 3 opponents). Scalia showed she can be the go to star, Smith got some nice experience and Sissoku contributed although she still is frustrating to watch with some of her turnovers and missed shots at the rim.
Still, 57% is not terrible for a forward.
 
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