So far I have covered the freshmen and sophomores on our Purdue Women's basketball team. We have four of each. Now for the juniors. We only have two juniors on this season's team, and they are two of the three best players on the team.
Ashley Morrissette - What a great name. And a player who has continued to make steady improvements to her game. After just averaging a few points a game her freshman year, she was our second leading scorer last year. Really one of the bright spots for the team. She has a good assist to turnover ratio and also hit some big three's and made some great passes last season. Hopefully her shooting percentage will increase this season. Part of that will be based on our ability, or not, of taking up a lot of space in the post, and running our offense to set up the open tre. When April Wilson was not in the game, it tended to be Morrissette running the point. Along with some help from Hayden Hamby. I expect to see further improvement in all aspects of Morrissette's game this season. Coach V has been preaching and teaching defense, so Morrissette should become a better defender this season. Not that she was a really bad defender last year, just that is where some improvement should be made. After making 43 three pointers last year, it would be great if she could double that number this year. She does have a good shooting touch, which played a large part in her being awarded the Miss Ohio basketball honor. We really need for her to stay healthy and play a lot of minutes, and just continue to make major contributions to the team. Also to become more of a team leader.
Bridget Perry - She is my favorite player to watch on this team. Purdue has needed a tall guard for a long time, and here we have one. She can also play forward with that 6'2" frame. This makes her what could be called a swing forward, or a G/F, stretch forward, 3 guard, or wing or whatever you want to call that position. Kind of like the way Katie Douglas and Robbie Hummel played. Not that Perry is in that rarefied air, but just that she fills that kind of role. And Perry just simply gives it her all and never takes a play off. I don't see what goes on behind the scenes, but just from watching her in games, she seems to be the hardest working player and the overall best competitor on the team. When she got injured last season, and was most likely not 100% the rest of the season, that really contributed to some of the problems with last year's team. So we absolutely need Perry to stay healthy and continue to give it her all. She seems to really stay loose and have fun out there on the court, even when the chips are down. It is a luxury to have a player who really is hard to match up against by the opponents. Put a shorter guard on her, and she will rebound and shoot over them. Put a forward on her and she will use her guard skills to often times outmaneuver her defender. We need more scoring and rebounds from her, and we need her to do her part to replace production by Bays and Clemons who graduated and moved on. I've already talked at length about our worries about post play this coming season. Hopefully Perry can stretch a defense out with some three pointers or shorter jump shots, but also get into the post area and fight. She will almost certainly split time between playing the 3 or 4 position, sharing some of the 4 position load with the freshman McBryde.
In summary, I would be shocked if either one of these players doesn't start. We will need their leadership and continued improvements in their game, to make anything of this season. And POINTS! MORE POINTS!