11/3/19 Makolo looks for pass

Freshman guard Roxane Makolo (12) accepts a pass from senior guard Dominique Oden (11), and looks to pass to sophomore guard Kayana Traylor (23) during the game against Southern Indiana on Sunday.

The Purdue women’s basketball team will return to Mackey Arena for its first regular-season game against Milwaukee on Sunday. Last week, the Boilermakers defeated University of Southern Indiana 62-44 in exhibition play.

The Boilers have a lot of work to do this season, but new players and staff have brought a positive attitude to the team.

“We will have pretty much everybody back and ready to go,” head coach Sharon Versyp said. “But we just got to do better in transition and offense.”

Freshman forward Rickie Woltman, who earned a double-double in the game, said the team is focusing on changing the tempo.

“We’ve got cleaned up from last game, and I’ve been really pushing them,” Versyp said. “Now, we will have really short intense practices and get them refreshed.”

Health is a very important focus for players, as they’ve been playing since June.

Woltman said this team has been very special for her. During the offseason, the whole team went to Australia for 13 days of team practice. The experience helped the team bond and develop close relationships.

“I think this trip is so great, not just (for) getting to play basketball, ... but what we will do for team chemistry,” Woltman said. “I feel like off-court, everyone can talk to everyone, and we all have great relationships.”

Versyp said she was glad the team had four days of practice to prepare for the Milwaukee game.

Versyp also said the team needs to focus on offensive playmaking more, both in the paint and in 3-point territory.

The team’s seasonal goal has always been to make appearances in the NCAA tournament and Big Ten championship.

“I am really excited about this year. I feel like we have a lot of depth,” Woltman said. “I feel like we are gonna be able to do some pretty good things.”

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