WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — The Purdue women's basketball team accepted an at-large bid into the 2018 Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) on Monday night, and will open tournament play Thursday at 7 p.m. ET at IUPUI. It marks just the Boilermakers' third-ever appearance in the postseason tournament and their first since 2010.
Purdue is 3-2 all-time in the WNIT, going 2-1 in 1988, and 1-1 in 2010. The Boilermakers are one of four teams from the Big Ten Conference in the WNIT, joining Indiana, Michigan State and Penn State. Thursday will mark the first time Purdue has played in Indianapolis in the postseason, and the second straight year the Boilermakers have played a Horizon League opponent, knocking off No. 8 seed Green Bay in the opening round of last season's NCAA Tournament.
Thursday makes the sixth all-time meeting between Purdue and IUPUI, and the second-ever on the Jaguars' home turf. IUPUI earned their first-ever win in series history in 2016, stealing a 67-62 victory at Mackey Arena, ending a four-game Purdue win streak against its intrastate foes. The Boilermakers played one of the first games of the 2013-14 season in Indianapolis, earning a 76-56 win over the Jaguars in The Jungle behind a 20-point effort from KK Houser.
IUPUI enters its third straight WNIT at 22-9, going 13-5 in the Horizon League, where it was runner-up to Green Bay and earned an automatic bid to the WNIT. The Jaguars are led by Purdue men's basketball alum Austin Parkinson, who is in his eighth season at IUPUI. Senior guard Danielle Lawrence paces the Jaguars with 17.3 points per game, hitting on 39.4 percent from 3-point range, while freshman post player Macee Williams adds 13.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game and junior Tamya Sims is their third player averaging double figures at 10.6 points per game. Williams is fourth in the NCAA in field goal percentage, converting 65.8 percent from the floor this season, leading her team to the nation's No. 26 team field goal percentage at 45.4 percent shooting.
Purdue enters the postseason with the opportunity to extend several individual records, most notably by sophomores Ae'Rianna Harris and Dominique Oden and freshman Karissa McLaughlin. Harris already owns the Boilermakers' sophomore season records for rebounds (272) and blocked shots (93), ranking No. 8 and No. 2 on Purdue's single-season record lists in each category, respectively. Her eight double-doubles on the year are also the most-ever by a Boilermaker sophomore and tied for 10th-most in a season in program history.
Oden is the Boilermakers' leading scorer this season, netting 423 points to date; ninth-most ever by a Purdue sophomore. She aims to become the first sophomore to lead the Boilermakers in scoring since Brittany Rayburn in 2010 (468), but is trailed closely by senior teammate Andreona Keys, who has scored 417 in her final collegiate campaign. Oden has broken her class 3-point record for the second straight season, hitting 58 on the year, and has the most triples over her first two seasons of any player in Purdue history (119).
McLaughlin has already broken Oden's freshman 3-point record, draining 67 triples on the year, which is sixth-most in a season all-time for the Boilermakers. Her 113 assists are fifth-most all-time by a Purdue freshman, and she looks to extend her Purdue record for consecutive minutes played, which currently sits at 260 minutes after notching every minute of the last six games and 26 straight quarters.
Keys is putting the finishing touches on an outstanding Boilermaker career, entering her 130th career game and 107th career start Thursday. She's 23rd in program history with 1,206 career points, 17th with 629 career rebounds and 15th with 329 career assists.
Tickets for the game against will be sold at the door beginning one hour before tipoff. The Jungle is located on the main concourse of the IU Natatorium and seats 1,215 fans. Ages 13 and up will be $10 per ticket while ages 3-12 will be $5 per ticket.