© Old Gold Free Press Columnists
The Purdue Boilermakers are going to gradually ease into the 2008-2009 season. They begin by hosting 3 mid-major teams at home before facing stiff competition in less friendly haunts. First on the docket was Indianapolis’ IUPUI Jaguars. The Jags have has a handful of quick, athletic players plus one huge center, and they will do well in the recently-minted Summit Conference. But Shann Hart’s charges don’t have anything close to the horses needed to hang with the Boilers. This contest was Versyp’s chance to take her team out of the box and see what they could do. There were occasions of nerves and a few lapses on both ends of the court, but overall she must have been quite happy with what she saw.
The game was never in doubt. Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton scored the first 4 points of the contest. IUPUI was able to tie things up on a Brittany Ransom jump shot with three minutes elapsed. The Jaguars packed the paint on Purdue’s next offensive possession. The ball was flipped out to Jodi Howell behind the perimeter and she nailed a three pointer. Game. Set. Match. The Boilers never looked back, and they went into the locker room ahead by 22 points, 45-23.
Purdue picked up where it left off in the second half. They methodically poured in the points – going inside when there was an entry to the post, nailing outside shots if the defense collapsed into the paint. With over 12 minutes elapsed in the half IUPUI had only managed only 1 field goal and Purdue was ahead by 43 points, 68-25. The Jaguars were able to narrow the gap a bit in the final minutes when the Boilers emptied the bench. The final margin was 36, 80-44.
Comments on Specific Aspects of the Game:
The Boilers shot a blistering 57% from the floor in the first half. They cooled down a bit in the second, but finished the game with a very respectable 44%. Most exciting was the 8 three pointers made on 17 attempts for 47%. Most of this was keyed by the return of Jodi Howell, but others got into the act as well. Poor three point shooting was the Achilles’ heel of last year’s team, so it was extremely encouraging to see its return.
Before the season, coach Versyp stated that the 2008-2009 Boilers would be a pressing, trapping team. They are certainly in position to do this with their deep, athletic roster. On Sunday they only attempted one or two half-hearted press attempts in the first half. Their press was broken quite easily by the Jaguar players, and was quickly pulled off. In the half court, however, the “D” was exceptional.
The Boilers began slowly in the rebounding department. Their lackluster performance was a point of emphasis during half time, and the team improved a great deal in the second half. At the end of the game the Boilers had won the battle of the boards 48-36. Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton led the Boilers with 11 caroms.
Free Throw Shooting:
Free throw shooting percentage is often a good indicator of a team’s state of mind. This appeared to be the case Sunday as the Old Gold and Black’s focus and comfort contributed to the team making 22 of 26 charity tosses for 84%. Lindsay, Jodi, FahKara, and Alex were perfect from the line.
The Boilers committed 17 turnovers on the afternoon. That’s not too awful when you consider that it was the first game of the season, with lots of new faces at many positions. On the bright side, the number of assists outnumbered turnovers by 1 – with 18 total assists. The Boilers run a lot of offensive and defensive sets, and the freshmen did a particularly good job of looking like they knew where to go.
She’s back! Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton is clearly the best player on the court right now, and looks to be in control of every aspect of the game. She looked like she could score at will, and played her patented superior defense. The Naperville native is still not in game shape, and she became winded as the game wore on. In a superb outing Lindsay recorded 16 points (5-9, 6-6 FT), 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, and a blocked shot to 4 turnovers.
After the game, the IUPUI coach stated that their first priority was shutting down Danielle Campbell. Perhaps that was the reason Danielle was the only Boiler to truly struggle. She picked up two quick fouls that had her sitting most of the first half. In the second she found her stride somewhat, and made up for her lack of offensive output by playing excellent post defense. In one notable sequence, Danielle matched a Jaguar player stride for stride as she raced down the court for a lay-up. Campbell bided her time, and then swatted the ball into the stands when the shot was attempted. In all, Danielle had 3 points (1-6, 0-1 3 pt.er, 1-2 FT), 8 rebounds, and assist, and 4 blocked shots to 2 turnovers.
The best part about Jodi Howell’s three point shooting isn’t the accuracy, although that’s amazing, but the speed at which she gets her shot off. It means that defenders can’t sag off her at all, because she’ll get off the trey before anyone recover back on her. The biggest concern about Jodi is her health; she looks to be held together by tape and string. Luckily, Purdue has the depth this year to allow Jodi to play fewer minutes. Hopefully this will help her remain effective all year. Jodi finished with 11 points (3-5, 3-4 3 pt.ers, 2-2 FT), and a turnover.
FahKara Malone played within herself and looked very comfortable on the court. Unlike last year, Malone does not need to worry about being a primary scoring threat or pacing herself so that she can go all 40 minutes. Between those facts and an extra year of maturity, all things point to FahKara having an excellent year. She certainly started it out on the right foot. At the end of the game FahKara recorded 12 points (3-9, 2-5 3 pt.er, 4-4 FT), 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal to 2 turnovers.
Kiki Freeman is Purdue’s silent assassin. She is easy to forget about as she quietly plays position defense. Then she nabs a key steal or rebound, or finds a lane to the hoop. Kiki finished the game with the most minutes, perhaps because she plays so seamlessly with everyone else. Kiki finished with 8 points (4-7, 0-1 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal to 2 turnovers.
It would be interesting to read an opposing team’s scouting report for Natasha Bogdanova. How can you prepare for the bundle of frenetic energy that Bogs brings to the court? She has found her niche – provide energy, active defense and rebounding when she’s in the game. Emphasizing rebounding rather than scoring is a good move, as being slightly out of control helps Natasha in this endeavor. Bogs pulled down 10 rebounds in only 15 minutes time, a remarkable stat. In addition, Natasha scored 6 points (2-4, 1-1 3 pt.er, and 1-2 FT), an assist and a block to 3 turnovers.
Brittany Rayburn plays with a maturity and court IQ that belies her freshman status. She looked to have a case of nerves at the beginning of the game, but settle down and made excellent contributions in the second stanza. Brittany makes good decisions when the ball is in her hands, finding open players are taking the ball strongly to the hoop when a lane is open. It’s going to be a lot of fun watching Rayburn’s career over the next 4 years. Rayburn was the fourth player in double figures with a total of 11 points (4-9, 2-5 3 pt.er, 1-2 FT), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal to 2 turnovers.
Lauren Mioton ran the show for 9 minutes although she failed to dent the box score. Lauren passed up open looks on several occasions, perhaps because she was more intent on running set plays than taking a shot.
Michelle Clark did a credible job when she ran the point. She did a good job getting the ball to shooters, resulting in 1 assist. The coaching staff appeared very pleased with her performance as she received an “Atta girl” from every one of them. No doubt this was because she is doing what they are looking for and they want to keep her on the right track.
Chelsea Jones matched up well against Julia Whitted, IUPUI’s 6’5” center. She runs the court with deceptive speed, and has the wonderful ability to get the ball through the hoop when she takes a shot. Jones evidenced a great deal of potential during her short time on the floor. In all she racked up 4 points (2-3), 2 rebounds, and a blocked shot.
Shortly after Alex Guyton entered the game she found Lindsay under the basket for an easy lay-up. That sort of move is sure to endear Alex to the other players and coaches. Alex appeared to have a case of the nerves, but evidenced a huge upside with her speed. In 8 minutes the Bloomington native recorded 2 points (2-2 FT), 1 rebound, an assist, and a blocked shot.
Chantel Poston has mad ups. That girl can elevate, and would sky for rebounds. Her elevation also makes her a target for fouling as opponents can’t get to the ball if they attempt to block her shot. Poston’s shot hasn’t fallen for her, but when it does she will be well on her way towards being a very complete player. Chantel scored her 5 points from the charity stripe going 5-6. In addition she pulled down 3 boards, and dished out an assist.
Laura Garriga played for the final 5 minutes of the contest. She ran the court well, and was rewarded for getting to the basket by en entry pass which she put in for her 2 points. Although Laura is unlikely to become a regular in the rotation, it was nice to reward her for her hard work in practice with extended playing time.
Sam Woods did not play, and it has been revealed that she is considering a red shirt year.
This type of game is a coach’s dream. The final outcome is never in doubt, so coaches can concentrate on their kids; finding combinations that work and test-driving plays. Versyp seemed quite pleased with the efforts of her charges.
The officials joined everyone else at Mackey in realizing that the game was over well before the final buzzer. The play in the second half was allowed to be considerably more physical before a whistle was blown.
The announced attendance was 8495, and there was a very good turnout. It seems that Brittany Rayburn has brought fans from Attica with her as she received particularly loud cheers. Purdue enjoyed a large bump in attendance when Stephanie White wore the Old Gold and Black, and it is great to see a local player bring a new audience to the college game.
One can only tell so much when a team plays an opponent as overmatched as IUPUI. Still, there is no questioning the talent and depth of this year’s edition of the Boilermakers. The next 2 games look to play out in a similar fashion as Purdue hosts Portland and Oakland in Mackey before taking on sterner opponents.
Game Ball: Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton