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Monday, May 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports women's basketball

IU, Purdue to face off inside Assembly Hall

In its biggest game of the year, the IU women’s basketball team is looking to end its  five-game losing streak.

The No. 13/18 Purdue Boilermakers are coming to Bloomington on Thursday night for the first of two matchups in 2012 between the arch-rivals. The two teams are set to play at 8 p.m. in Assembly Hall.

IU currently ranks last in the Big Ten in both overall and conference records with marks of 5-13 and 0-5.

Purdue, meanwhile, is on an eight-game winning streak that puts it on top of the Big Ten with a perfect 5-0 record. Its 15-3 record for the season is third-best in the conference behind Ohio State and Nebraska.

In addition to breaking this losing streak, a win for IU would break its dry streak against Purdue. The Hoosiers have only beaten Purdue three times in their last 19 meetings and have dropped four straight games to the Boilermakers.

IU Coach Felisha Legette-Jack said she knows this will be one of the team’s toughest matchups of the year.

“Purdue’s one of the best teams in our conference right now,” she said. “To me, they’re a team that can easily be a Sweet Sixteen team or Elite Eight for that matter. They play very stingy defense. We’ve got our hands full, but that’s the beauty of this basketball game. You don’t play just to play in it. You play the best, and the best is in this state of Indiana, and here comes Purdue.”

The battle between the two schools should be a low-scoring one. Purdue ranks 10th out of 12 in scoring offense in the Big Ten, while IU ranks 11th. Purdue also ranks first in the conference in fewest points allowed and blocks and is tied for first in steals. IU is tied for fourth in blocked shots.

A large amount of those blocked shots comes from freshman center Quaneisha McCurty, who has 26 on the season and averaged three per contest during the past seven games.

IU will look to slow down Purdue’s Brittany Rayburn.

“How do you stop her?” Legette-Jack said in response to defending the senior guard. “She could vie for player of the year.”

The senior guard was named the Big Ten’s Player of the Week on Tuesday for her performances against Minnesota and Iowa on Thursday and Sunday. Rayburn averaged 26 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and one block between the two games while shooting just less than 62 percent from the 3-point line.

Against Minnesota, she tied an NCAA record and broke the Big Ten mark for threes in one game with 12.

Against Iowa, she scored two free throws to give Purdue the lead with 17.5 seconds left and blocked the potential game-winning basket as time expired.

Junior forward Sasha Chaplin knows what it would mean for the Hoosiers to get their first Big Ten win against Purdue.

“I think we’re all pumped up for this game just knowing that this is one of the biggest games of the season,” she said. “Regardless of the situation, we’re going to try to come out hard and play to the best of our abilities and just try to own the state.”

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