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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 5

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 5 75 BY KYLE CHARTERS KCharters@GoldandBlack.com W hen Karissa McLaughlin watched the Boilermakers battle top-seed Notre Dame in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in March, she couldn't help but like what she saw. Purdue fought, then nearly pulled the upset, losing only in overtime. But the Boilermakers' end-of-season surge, in which they won seven straight to get into the NCAAs, then went to the wire vs. the Irish, had a re- sounding impact on Homestead's senior guard. And after being granted her release from Flori- da following the Gators' coaching change in early March, a couple weeks before that game in South Bend, McLaughlin felt a strong pull to Purdue. So in early April, she committed to the Boilermakers, doing so over Indiana, Michigan and Florida, then signed April 12. "That (streak) played a huge role in my recruitment," the 5-foot-7 Fort Wayne native said. "Watching (the Boilermakers) play and seeing the style that they play, the fact that they have so much heart and never give up. They battle to the very end. I think there's some amaz- ing players on the team. Everyone is willing to give it their all, every single day, every single practice. "I feel like those are the people I really want to sur- round myself with. I feel like the future is really bright for Purdue. With the surge that they made at the end of the season, that just shows how great this team could be and how great they will be." McLaughlin fills a big void for the Boilermakers, in that she's capable of playing at the point. Purdue gradu- ates Ashley Morrissette — the guard is in the Washing- ton Mystics' training camp — who played a majority of the minutes last season at the point, leaving the Boil- ermakers without an established player at the position. But McLaughlin can run an offense, doing so as a senior at Homestead, when she helped the Spartans to the Class 4A state championship. In the title game, she scored 29 points and had six assists in a win over Pike. "She's a worker and a gym rat," Coach Sharon Versyp said. "I always love combo (guards). That's how we've been extremely successful, like with Morrissette. (Mc- Laughlin's) experience will elevate us. She's a fresh- man, but we've had freshmen come in and do really great things." McLaughlin, the Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year and possible Miss Basketball, put a premium on staying close to home in her re-recruitment. It helped too that she was familiar with Versyp and the Purdue staff, after the group had recruited her the first time around. "It's not all the time that you can recruit a kid once Gail Herendeen Photography Purdue needed a point guard to add to its 2017-18 roster and found one when Homestead's Karissa McLaughlin became available. Right Answer Spring signee adds to Purdue's backcourt

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