12/21/19 Bowling Green, Team Introductions

Purdue players high five each other during introductions on Dec. 21, vs. Bowling Green.

When the Purdue women’s basketball team hosts an afternoon New Year’s Eve conference game it will try to do something it has not done in four seasons – start 2-0 in the Big Ten.

The Boilermakers (10-3, 1-0) host Wisconsin (8-4, 0-1) at 4 p.m., Tuesday – the third straight New Year’s Eve matchup with the Badgers interestingly enough. The two teams are 1-1 in those two most recent games.

But, more importantly, Purdue could move to 2-0 in the Big Ten – something it has not done since the 2015-16 season. That year, the Boilers started conference play 5-0, but finished the season 10-8 in the Big Ten.

The Badgers have won 4 of their last 5 games this season, but lost their conference opener 64-61 to Rutgers Saturday at the Kohl Center in Madison. They are 1-2 away from home with the lone win coming at North Dakota State (3-10) with losses at Colorado, 74-57, on Nov. 14 and at Georgia Tech, 60-41, on Dec. 5.

Last season, when Wisconsin was 15-18 overall and 4-11 in the Big Ten, it went 2-10 on the road. One of Wisconsin’s 4 Big Ten wins was in the Kohl Center against Purdue on Dec. 31, 2018, 76-69.

Wisconsin has not had a winning season since going 18-15 in 2010-11. But, the Badgers are 4-1 against Purdue in the last 5 matchups.

The Badgers have three players averaging double figures on the season. They are led by Imani Lewis, a 6-1 sophomore forward, who averages 13.1 per game. She also leads the team in rebounding with 7.5 boards per game.

Joining her in double-figure scoring is Abby Laszewski, a 6-3 senior forward, at 12.1 points per game. Laszewski is second in rebounding at 7.0 per game and she leads the team in blocked shots with 15. Sydney Hilliard, a 5-11 freshman guard, is the final double-digit scorer. She averages 10.3 per game.

Suzanne Gilreath, a 5-4 senior guard who has started 8 games this season, is the team’s leading 3-point shooter. She has hit on 23 of 69 from long range, 33.3 percent. She has taken the most 3-point shots on the team that has attempted 62 on the season.

Wisconsin shoots 41.6 percent from the field – including 31.3 from 30-point distance – and 65.5 from the line. The Badgers average 66.2 points per game and give up 59.7.

Purdue, comparatively, shoots 41.9 percent from the field – 34.4 percent from 3-point range. The Boilers are shooting 72.3 percent from the line. As a team, they average 64.5 per game and give up 58.7.

Purdue also has three players averaging double figures led by Karissa McLaughlin, a 5-7 junior guard, and Ae’Rianna Harris, a 6-1 senior forward, both who are averaging 11.8 per game. Dominique Oden, a 5-8 senior guard, averages 10.7. Harris is Purdue’s leading rebounder, at 8.6 a game.

When Purdue won at Ohio State on Saturday, it was the first time earning a victory there since 2001, snapping an 11-game losing streak against the Buckeyes.

NOTES

• The first 300 fans at Tuesday’s game will receive a Purdue tote bag, free of charge.

• Purdue owns a 51-20 all-time record against Wisconsin.

• Harris has finished in double figures in 10 games this season and totaled at least three blocks in nine outings.

• The Boilermakers have a record of 211-133 over the last 10 years.

• With a win on Tuesday, Purdue can notch its third straight calendar year with at least 20 victories.

• Harris is closing in on multiple career milestones. The Indianapolis native needs two defensive rebounds to break Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton’s career mark of 665. She is 46 rebounds shy of another Wisdom-Hylton record of 968. And she is 25 blocked shots from passing men’s basketball’s Joe Barry Carroll with 349.

• Oden is three points shy of joining the 1,500-point club as Purdue's 15th member.

• Harris leads the Big Ten in blocks (41) and blocks per game (3.15).

• The Boilermakers are allowing 58.7 points per game, which ranks fifth in the Big Ten.

• McLaughlin, Oden and Harris rank first, third and fourth in the Big Ten total minutes played this season.

• McLaughlin has shot 45 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from distance over the last five games with 16.6 points per outing.

• Traylor has dished out a team-high 54 helpers this season, as Purdue has assisted on 62.5 percent of its field goals.

– Purdue Athletics Communications contributed to this report.

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