Boilermakers prove they’re back to form
The 2009-10 Purdue women’s basketball season was one for the record books, though not in a good way for a traditionally strong women’s basketball program. Last season was the first time the Boilermakers had ended up on the far side of the win-lost column since the 1984-85 season, falling to mid-major programs such as Gardner-Webb, Dayton and Illinois State. It was a 15-17 campaign Boilermaker fans woefully endured and hoped would be a distant memory when “wait until next season” rolled around.
Well, if the early season is any indication of what is to come for the new edition of the women of Mackey Arena, it looks as though the hopes of Purdue fans have been answered.
The Boilermakers plowed through their first four games — all within the the Preseason NIT bracket — to take the championship title on Sunday in a 67-58 win over DePaul in West Lafayette. Dominating wins over Austin Peay (93-53), Toledo (79-66) and South Dakota State (73-40) brought Purdue to Sunday’s Preseason NIT championship game to battle against Big East member DePaul.
With a starting lineup that included senior Brittany Rayburn (Attica) and freshman Courtney Moses (Oak Hill), the Boilermakers were determined to make a statement that they are a much improved ball club. The two Hoosier natives combined for nearly half of the Purdue offense with 32 points between them, including a total of 16 of 17 from the charity stripe. In fact, taking advantage of some serious foul trouble for DePaul, Purdue marched to the bonus line 30 times in the second half alone, converting on 26 of those freebies. Rayburn, who also drew three charging fouls from the Blue Demons in the title game, was named Tournament MVP, while redshirt junior Drey Mingo, a Maryland transfer, was named a member of the All-Tournament Team after logging 21 points and 13 rebounds in the winning effort.
Purdue is currently 4-0 on the young season and will travel to Cancun during the Thanksgiving Holiday to take on Montana and Florida Gulf Coast in the Caribbean Challenge.
And Purdue women’s basketball fans are smiling today.