When: Thursday, Jan. 29, 6 p.m.
Site: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Ind.
Broadcasts: WIBA AM/Internet (UWBadgers.com)
Series Notes: Purdue leads all-time series 13-31.
After coming off of a much-needed 69-53 Big Ten victory over Northwestern, the Wisconsin women's basketball team travels to West Lafayette to face off against a top-notch Purdue team Thursday.
Purdue has all the weapons necessary to be labeled one of the best in the Big Ten. Senior forward Shereka Wright is coming off one of her best weeks in her career. Her 22 and 23 points in the Boilermakers' victories over Ohio State and Indiana, respectively, helped her earn co-Big Ten Player of the Week honors.
In addition to Wright's offensive power, the Boilermakers also depend on senior point guard Erika Valek to distribute the ball. So far this season Valek has been productive with her 4.3 assists per game (sixth in Big Ten) and 1.8 steals a game (11th in Big Ten)
"They've got the whole package," Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone said. "(Purdue coach) Kristy (Curry) is a tremendous coach and they play within themselves. Shereka Wright is their big-time player, obviously... Erika Valek, her numbers may not be as high as they have been in the past, but I think she's the glue to their team. When you have a point guard that can distribute, can get out and get the ball to the right people, obviously that's great for them."
The Badgers should not be underestimated though, as they have not one, but two sophomore sensations that have recently stepped up for the team. Sophomore forward Jordan Wilson gave the Badgers a boost with her 12 rebounds and career bests in scoring (15) and assists (5) in Sunday's win over Northwestern.
The second in the pair is sophomore guard Ashley Josephson, who is leading the team with 12 points per game and 43 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Josephson added 16 points in the win over NU and knocked down a career-high four 3-point shots.
"She's quite a team player," Stone said. "She's into every game, on a win or a loss she takes it right to heart and is very, very coachable. She's playing with a lot of confidence, and she's hot right now from the three-point line. This young woman has taken her game to a new level and I'm real excited for Ashley."
"It's something we don't fear, but it's an opportunity for us to raise our bar," Stone said in regards to the upcoming stretch. "We've got to raise our bar. These are programs that have been at the top of the Big Ten and that's where we want to be. So to be there, we've got to play them and put ourselves in a position to be successful."
- Wisconsin only saw Purdue once last year and the same goes for this season. In their matchup last January, the Boilermakers got the best of the Badgers. Despite Wisconsin opening the game up with a 12-0 run, Purdue ran away with it in the final minute, making 5 of 6 free throws. Wright led all scorers with 26 points in Purdue's 59-53 victory.
- Though the Badgers are far below the Boilermakers in the conference standings, they tower over Purdue on the inside. Wisconsin is fourth in the Big Ten in blocks with 4.41 a game and is third in the Big Ten in rebounding margin (+5.1) while Purdue is tenth (-0.4)
- Purdue has done a phenomenal job controlling the ball this season. The Boilermakers' 13.9 turnovers per game are the second fewest in the conference and their 10.2 steals per contest leads the Big Ten.
- Going into Mackey Arena is tough for any Big Ten school and the record shows, with Purdue coach Kristy Curry's 33-2 home record against conference teams.
- The Gebisa sisters, who hail from West Lafayette, will get a homecoming against Purdue. Ebba, a junior forward, will most likely start, while Lello, a senior forward, will be a big contributor off the bench with her 1.9 blocks per game (fourth in Big Ten).