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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 3

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 3 71 in ESPN's rankings over the three years since she was at the top — ESPN has her as the No. 5 forward in the coun- try now, No. 34 overall — she's having another solid sea- son at Incarnate Word. The forward is averaging about 10 points and six rebounds per game for the deep and talented Red Knights. IWA plays a national schedule — the Knights were in Washington D.C. in December, taking on a couple of the nation's top-15 teams in an event there, and will play two others in Louisville later in January — that Woltman thinks has helped her develop. Playing against Virginia's Paul VI High School at the D.C. tournament, Woltman matched up against Amira Col- lins, a 6-3 signee at Tennessee. It was a good battle, Wolt- man said, far different than what she faces when IWA is playing against local competition. "I'm usually three inches taller than everyone that I play, so I definitely have to play a lot smarter and quicker and more physical than the competition locally," she said. "It's kind of fun to travel, because I feel like within one game I can get a lot better, just by playing against good competition." Woltman will face similar opponents in the Big Ten, once she arrives for the 2019-2020 season. She committed to the Boilermakers on Nov. 5, about a year before her sign- ing day, after having visited Purdue several times. Then, she chose Sharon Versyp's program over Illinois, Kansas and Marquette. She'll certainly get an opportunity, one would think, to impact the Boilermakers right away. Purdue has a void, even now, at power forward, where senior Andreona Keys is playing, rather than at her usual position on the wing. And Keys will graduate after this season, leaving Purdue with even fewer options next year. Freshman Dani Lawson is out due to impending microf- racture surgery on her ailing knees, with a recovery that can take up to nine months and might affect her availability early next season. Versyp is bringing in one forward in the '18 class, in Nebraska's Nyagoa Gony, but she's largely a defensive player with a still-developing offensive game. Needless to say, Purdue could use a versatile stretch 4, to balance the Boilermakers' strength in the backcourt in years to come. Purdue adds Kayana Traylor and Cassidy Hardin, two of the best seniors in Indiana, to the roster next season, plus '19 commitment Bria Harmon, a point guard from Georgia, the following year. The trio, in com- bination with Dominique Oden and Karissa McLaughlin, two current underclassmen, should give the Boilermakers a deep backcourt. "I know that's something Coach has talked to me about, that they have really good guards who can shoot and han- dle the ball," Woltman said at the time of her commitment. "They'll get it inside to you. They said they don't have a lot of size (in the classes). ... In my position, they said that's where they really, really need somebody. That's a big thing because I didn't want to pick a school where I'd be behind a 4 player every single year." Now, Woltman wants to continue to work, so that she can be at her best when she arrives in a couple seasons. At that point, she'll likely still be ranked one of the best in the country. "I definitely say my work ethic is something that I really — I don't know how to say it — but it has helped me get to where I'm at now and hopefully where I want to be in the future," she said. "I want to work hard, want to be in the gym." j INCOMING BOILERMAKERS 2018 Signees Name Pos. Ht. Hometown/Last School Nyagoa Gony F 6-3 Lincoln, Neb./Lincoln Cassidy Hardin G 5-9 Bargersville, Ind./Center Grove Kayana Traylor G 5-9 Martinsville, Ind./Martinsville 2019 Commitments Name Pos. Ht. Hometown/Last School Bria Harmon G 5-7 Suwanee, Ga./Collins Rickie Woltman F 6-2 St. Louis/Incarnate Word Academy "In my position, they said that's where they really, really need somebody." — Rickie Woltman, ranked as the No. 5 forward in the 2019 class by ESPN, on Purdue's need for an impact 4 player

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