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2014-2015 Purdue Women's Basketball Preview

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Led by senior forwards Purdue Women's Basketball will look to compete for a NCAA Tournament bid in a tough B1G.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This season Purdue will attempt to replace the offensive production and defensive intensity of Courtney Moses, KK Houser and Dee Dee Williams. It won't be easy but shifting the offensive focus to the front court Purdue will be able to have success this season. Senior forwards Whitney Bays and Liza Clemons will have expanded roles this season, and Junior April Wilson is a key returner for Purdue in the backcourt.

Personnel

Departures:

Courtney Moses, Graduation, 15.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.4 apg, 44.8 FG%, 44.7 3PTFG%, 92.6 FT%: Courtney Moses graduated from Purdue with the eighth best career scoring effort, 1,674 points, most career three-point field goals, 240, and best career free throw percentage, 90.6%. Moses was an All-Big Ten selection in her senior season

KK Houser, Graduation, 15.2 ppg, 5 apg, 3.6 rpg: Houser was a second team All-Big Ten selection last year. Sadly for KK her season was cut short by a torn ACL. Last season she became the seventh Boiler to score 1,000 points, dish 400 assists, and get 200 steals. KK has recovered from her torn ACL and is playing professionally in Finland this season.

Dee Dee Williams, Graduation, 2.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.6 apg: Dee Dee was a solid role player for the Boilers throughout her career. Often Williams was tasked with guarding the opposition's best player. She was a lock down defender and helped facilitate the offense.

Camille Redmon, Graduation/Transfer, 4.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.5 bpg: Redmon received her degree back in May but was not admitted to graduate school. After deciding to not continue playing basketball at Purdue, Redmon decided to transfer to Boise State and exhaust her last year of eligibility.

Joslyn Massey, Transfer: Massey only appeared in 13 games last season for a few minutes each time. Massey transferred to the University of Central Florida this offseason.

Key Returners:

Whitney Bays, Senior, Forward: 12.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg. Bays saw action all in 31 games last year starting only one of them. Bays' numbers impress more when you consider she only played 21.8 mins per game; she thrived coming off the bench. Whitney posted a team leading eight double-doubles last season. She also had career highs of 24 points and 15 rebounds. Bays can do a lot of things for the Boilers.  She can post up and knock down jumpers when she's left open. Bays will be a focal point for the Purdue offense as they will try to maximize her touches.

Liza Clemons, Senior, Forward: 7.9ppg, 5.5 rpg. 54 FG%. Clemons started 29 of 31 games. Liza had career highs of 23 points and 10 rebounds a year ago. Clemons operates without much flash; she works hard and gets the job done.

April Wilson, Junior, Guard: 10 ppg, 4.7 apg, 3.5 rpg, 2 spg. Wilson split point guard responsibilities with KK last season and will likely be in the same role this season. As the only returning guard with significant playing experience Wilson will shoulder a lot of the burden of replacing Moses and Houser's production.

Hayden Hamby, Junior, Guard: 1.9 ppg, 1.3 rpg. Hamby's role this season will be expanded. Instead of spotting up and waiting on a shot, Hamby will be expected to help create shots and get the ball into post. She will remain as a dangerous spot up option but open looks will be harder to come by this season.

Bridget Perry, Sophomore, Guard: 3.8 ppg. Perry gained confidence as the season went on. In the regular season finale against Nebraska Bridget scored 12 points. In Purdue's two NCAA Tournament games she averaged 7.5 ppg. Perry shot 40.5% from three-point range.

Torrie Thornton, Junior, Forward: 1.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg. Thornton is the only other big on the roster besides Bays and Clemons who has played college basketball. Thornton will likely be relied on to provide rest for Bays and Clemons.

Newcomers:

Haley Bodnar, Forward, 6'3: Bodnar was the Utah Gatorade Player of the Year for 2013-2014. She averaged 14 ppg for Desert Hills last season and led them to AAA State Championship. Ranked 149 by Collegiate Girls Report.

Justine Hall, Guard 5'10: Hall played at Regis Jesuit in Denver winning back-to-back AAAAA Colorado State Championships her junior and senior year.  Five of her teammates at Regis are playing Division I basketball this season. Hall was the Gatorade Player of Year in Colorado last season. Rated as 74th in ESPN's Hoop Gurlz Top 100.

Bree Horrocks, Center, 6'5: Horrocks and Buford were runners-up last season in the Georgia AAA State Championship game. At Buford Bree played with five other future DI players.

Andreona Keys, Guard, 5'10: In her senior season Keys was the second leading scorer in Georgia AAAAAA basketball posting 24.1 ppg to go with 7.4 rebounds and 2.7 steals.

Erica Moore, Forward, 6'2: Moore played in the Indiana All-Star game as a senior and junior. In 2013 Mount Vernon won the 3A State title and were runners-up in 2012. Moore missed most of her senior season with knee injuries. During her junior campaign she averaged 17.8 ppg and 8.3 rpg.

Coaching Staff

Coach Versyp is back for her ninth season with the Boilermakers. This summer she signed a contract extension through 2020.  Versyp has lead Purdue to a 183-88 record during her tenure. Assistant Coach Nadine Morgan is back for her ninth season at Purdue. Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton is back for her second year as an assistant coach. Assistant coach Christy Smith left during the offseason to take an assistant coaching position at her alma mater Arkansas. She is replaced by Kelly Komara. Komara is a 2002 graduate of Purdue and was on the 1999 National Championship team. Most recently Komara was an assistant coach the University of Albany. During her two seasons in Albany the team went 55-9 with two NCAA tournament appearances. Komara has also been on the Women's Basketball staff at Valparaiso, Auburn, and Northwestern since graduating from Purdue.

The B1G is even deeper this season than last. The addition of Maryland and Rutgers has only heightened the amount of talent in the conference. Maryland made it to the Final Four last season and won the National Championship back in 2006. Rutgers was the runner-up the following season, 2007.

In ESPN's season predictions they picked Purdue to finish seventh behind Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska, Iowa, Rutgers, and Minnesota. Purdue is followed by Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Northwestern, IU, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

There are five Big Ten teams in the preseason rankings this season. No. 10 Maryland is highest ranked followed by No. 14 Michigan State, No. 16 Nebraska, No. 19 Iowa, and No. 24 Rutgers. Purdue, Penn State, Minnesota, and Northwestern received votes but fell outside the Top 25.

At the B1G Media Day coaches and the media selected Rachel Banham as the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year. Last season Banham averaged 23.3 ppg and was a first team selection and honorable mention All-American. Other players selected to the preseason first team by the coaches and media were Samantha Logic of Iowa and Rachel Theriot of Nebraska. The coaches also chose Aerial Powers from Michigan State and Nia Coffey from Northwestern. The media chose Lexie Brown from Maryland, Amanda Zhui from Minnesota, and Ameryst Alston from Ohio State; there were six on the media's first team due to a tie. The coaches and media also were asked to list what teams would finish in the top three in the conference. The two cohorts agreed that Maryland and Michigan State would finish 1 and 2 but the coaches picked Nebraska to finish third and the media picked Iowa.

This season Purdue will appear on BTN nine times. Purdue's match-up against Illinois in February could be added to BTN's women's basketball coverage. Fifteen other games will be on BTN Plus.

Thursday, Jan. 8 at Maryland - 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 11 at Iowa - TBA

Monday, Jan. 19 at Nebraska - 7 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 29 vs. Rutgers - 7 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 2 at Indiana - 8:30 p.m

Saturday, Feb. 14 at Rutgers - Noon

Tuesday, Feb. 17 at Ohio State - 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 24 at Michigan - 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 28 vs. Michigan State - 2 p.m.

This past Sunday Purdue played an exhibition game against DII Findlay. Purdue overwhelmed the Oilers in an 84-25 win. The overmatched Oilers only managed to score seven points in the first half; the score at the break was 37-7. Findlay's shooting improved marginally in the second half but they weren't able to slow down Purdue any. Whitney Bays led the Boilers with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists. Liza Clemons also had a double-double with 13 and 11. Bridget Perry scored 13 to go with 4 steals. Freshman Andreona Keys scored 10 points. Ashley Morrissette played point guard Sunday and did admirably finishing with six points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Purdue shot 53% from the field but made only one three-pointer shooting 1-11. Starting point guard April Wilson did not play against Findlay and will not play against Ball State due to a suspension stemming from an arrest during Grand Prix weekend.

Purdue will tip off their season against Ball State this Friday. Ball State is picked to finish third in the MAC this season. The Cardinals return seven letter winners from last year's team. Ball State is young; there are three freshman and five sophomores on the roster. Natalie Fontaine, last season's leading scorer, returns for BSU along with one other starter from last season, Shelbie Justice.

Yesterday on signing day Purdue had the seventh best class in the country. More coverage can be found here.