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Gold and Black Illustrated Volume 28, Digital 5

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Page 49 of 60

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 5 50 that's the biggest piece," Coach Sharon Versyp said in mid-April. "We won some incredible games, but of course fell short in other games. Having that building block is really important, and now people understand (what it takes). Whenever you bring in a new group of kids, they take a moment and need to understand. But everyone has to be better in a lot of different areas, and have a good mindset going forward." The Boilermakers, who finished the season 20-14, in- cluding a seventh-place tie at 9-7 in the Big Ten, have a solid core returning in 2018-19, led by All-Big Ten-level guards Dominique Oden and Karissa McLaughlin and Big Ten Defensive Player-of-the- Year Ae'Rianna Harris. But Purdue has significant per- sonnel questions, too. Starter Lam- ina Cooper missed two portions of the season, including the last 10 games, with an undisclosed illness. The junior's future will be deter- mined this summer, Versyp said, based on whether her health allows her to stay at Purdue. But the wing, a double-figures scorer and the Boil- ermakers' best perimeter defender, will be welcomed to return, if pos- sible. That issue, though, isn't the only one. Purdue has personnel gaps at the 3 and 4 positions, needing to add depth there, if not seek out potential starters. It's why Versyp has sought immediate help this spring, looking at the fifth-year market — Cleve- land State forward Ashanti Abshaw, a two-time Horizon League first-team member was slated to visit as of mid- April — as well as traditional and J.C. transfers. One possibility is Florida forward Mikayla Hayes, who stuck through her first season with the Gators following a coaching change — the same one that brought Mc- Laughlin to Purdue — but is looking to transfer now. But she'd likely have to sit a season before being eligible. She visited in April. Purdue will bring in three freshmen: Point guard Kayana Traylor, shooter Cassidy Hardin and defensive post Nyagoa Gony. "We're excited about the pieces, but it doesn't matter what it looks like on paper," Versyp said. "They've got to put the work in. But we are going to have the depth and hopefully the consistency. "Our freshman class, they're hungry. They want to be great every day and want the work. They're not going to back down from hard work or complain about it. It's a great mindset, kind of like what Dominique, Lamina and 'Ria brought in (two years ago). That class is very similar. They're going to do everything possible." It's hoped that additions — Pur- due loses its lone senior, Andreona Keys, one of the more versatile play- ers in recent program history, plus saw reserve Miracle Gray decide to transfer — and health will help the Boilermakers' depth next season. It was limited, to say the least, in the second half of '17-18. Forward Dani Lawson (knees) and center Fatou Diagne (foot) were sidelined for the season with injuries, then Purdue Dominique Oden had a breakout season, averaging a team-high 14.1 points per game. Her 478 points ranked fourth in school history in points scored by a sophomore. PROJECTED 2018-19 PURDUE ROSTER No. Player Position Year 2 Abby Abel G Sr. 15 Léony Boudreau G So. 40 Lamina Cooper G Jr. 45 Fatou Diagne C Jr. 25 Tamara Farquhar F So. — Nyagoa Gony F Fr. — Cassidy Hardin G Fr. 32 Ae'Rianna Harris F Jr. 12 Nora Kiesler C Sr. 22 Dani Lawson F R-Fr. 1 Karissa McLaughlin G So. 11 Dominique Oden G Jr. — Ajah Stallings G Fr. — Kayana Traylor G Fr.

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