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Purdue University

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Boiler women to play up-tempo

– Purdue might not have size, but it has speed – unprecedented speed, coach Sharon Versyp said.

The Boilermakers lost 16 rebounds per game between graduated seniors Drey Mingo and Sam Ostarello. But senior guards KK Houser and Courtney Moses have Purdue ready to run.

“We’re pushing the ball more than we’ve ever pushed the ball before,” Versyp said. “We’ve put in two different motion offenses – four-out, one-in type of motion offenses. You’re going to see that more than our three-out, two-in.”

The offensive switches are dictated by personnel.

Mingo and Ostarello pulled in 42 percent of Purdue’s rebounds last season, and the Boilermakers are working with just four forwards. Snider graduate Liza Clemons, a 6-foot-2 junior, could see an increased role as a result.

But Houser, Moses and the rest of a guard-heavy lineup will play to their strengths and go for speed, not size, this season.

“We’re just going to be really, really quick,” said Moses, who led Purdue in scoring with 13.3 points per game as a junior. “Every single person that gets a rebound can take it and go up the court. You don’t need to slow down for an outlet. They can get it, they can dribble up, kick it ahead.”

That style will benefit Purdue, No. 18 in the preseason Associated Press poll, thanks to some changes.

The women’s game has added a 10-second backcourt clock. The rule should give an advantage to teams that press, and the Boilers will be doing a lot of that thanks to their depth at guard.

Houser, who scored 11.3 points and had a team-best 4.7 assists per game last season, and Moses, a preseason All-Big Ten selection, have led Purdue in its transformation to a more up-tempo attack.

“Right now, I think that people think we’re really inexperienced, which we may be, but our post players have stepped up and I think people are going to see a lot more offense from us,” Houser said. “We’re a really good defensive team, and we thrive on defense, but I think you can expect us to score a lot of points this year.”

The expectations, Houser said, are to contend for a Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles. Purdue also wants to get past the second round of the NCAA tournament, which it wasn’t able to do last year.

Whether the Boilermakers can do that, Moses said, depends on the vocal leadership of Houser and her ability to lead by example.

“The team goes how the seniors go,” Moses said.

Versyp is happy to be along for the ride with her two seniors.

“Next year will be very hard,” she said with a smile. “This year, it’s fun.”

smorrison@jg.net

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