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OldGoldFreePress COLUMNISTS | BACK TO Steve'S COLUMNS

PURDUE WOMENS BASKETBALL:
Women's Opponents' Profile #3: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers, 11/25/03


The 1-1 Panthers Rely On Accurate Shooters, Strong Rebounders


Date: 11/24/2003
Author: Steve
© Old Gold Free Press Columnists

    Welcome to the third opponent profile for the 2003-2004 season. Each profile will include information about the opponent’s campus, its women’s basketball team, and one player or coach on the team. Links to web pages will follow each section. Look for a profile on each opponent 1-2 days before the tip-off.

    The Campus

    The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee has 18 different colleges and more than 90 different degree programs. The school, whose nickname is the Panthers, has the same school colors as Purdue. Unfortunately, the website doesn’t have much interesting information in terms of the school’s history, but it is focused on appealing to prospective students. It’s easy to navigate and is packed with all sorts of official information. Type the address below into your web browser to get to the official university page.

    http://www.uwm.edu/

    The Team

    The Panthers enter the game in Mackey with a 1-1 record, losing to DePaul (62-94) and defeating Ball State (78-73) at the Moran Realty Classic. The key statistic in the Panthers’ games is the number of turnovers the committed: 58, including 37 against the Blue Demons. In both games, however, UWM had more turnovers than assists and have allowed opponents to shoot more than 47% from the field and 36% from 3-point range. The shooting percentage stats may help out the inside players, especially Emily, as the Boilermakers are sure to try to exploit the Panthers defensive weaknesses. With the Boilermakers converting on more than 51% of their field goals to date and 41.5% from 3-point range, look for the offense to get back in gear.

    The Panthers, however, have a resounding edge on rebounding, an area exploited by the Duke Blue Devils on Sunday. The Panthers out-rebound their opponents by almost eight per game and have two players who average more than 9 apiece. The Boilermakers, on the other hand, are being out-rebounded by eight per game and have yet to win the battle of the boards once this season.

    Perhaps where the two teams are most similar is their inability to hit free throws consistently. UWM averages 17 free throws per game, hitting 52.9% and the Boilermakers average 18 per game, making 66.7%. If the game turns into a free-throw shooting contest, the fans may choose to revolt and build castles from the bricks being laid on the rim. Unfortunately, both teams are foul prone: the Panthers with 18.5 per game, the Boilermakers with 20.5. The game, therefore, may run longer than a usual contest.

    Finally, the Panthers may not be great at defending field goals, but they’re not too shabby at shooting them, hitting 49.1% of their shots from the field. Their 3-point shooting is anemic, 28.6%, and unfortunately for the Panthers they shoot quite a few per game: 14 per.

    What fans can look forward to, then, is a match-up between two good shooting teams that have weaknesses that can be exploited: the Panthers’ inability to care of the basketball and defensive liability in FG%, the Boilermakers weaknesses in rebounding and getting more than 5-6 players on the scoreboard.

    Cut and paste the following address into your web browser to get to the Panthers’ official homepage:

    http://uwmpanthers.ocsn.com/sports/w-baskbl/wiml-w-baskbl-body.html

    The Player

    I’m not a fan of sequels, pure and simple. Oftentimes the second movie lacks the originality, energy, and spice of the first and suffers in comparison. Seeing a cast of characters interact the first time provides a sense of surprise for the audience in not knowing what’s coming next. With sequels, the audience can usually guess in advance what’s going to happen and who’s going to be the hero. With the Panthers, their hero is already in place and ready for a great sequel to her first game against Purdue: senior center Maria Viall. Purdue fans should look forward to seeing her in action on Tuesday.

    Last season the 6’3” senior from Waukesha, WI, dominated Purdue in the Boilermakers’ 82-59 victory in the Klotsche Center. She made 10 of 18 field goals, grabbed six rebounds, and blocked six Boilermaker shots, setting a Division I school record. That game was the springboard to an outstanding junior season for Viall, who averaged 18.1 and 10.3 rebounds per game and being named 1st team All-Horizon League for the 2nd year in a row.
    Viall’s consistency throughout her career is carrying over to her final year with the Panthers, in which she is averaging 21 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Viall is also virtually automatic from the floor, making 17 of 22 field goal attempts, a 77.3% rate. Maria has fouled out a game already this season, showing that she’s foul prone, but may be the most efficient player in the nation while on the floor.

    The four-time Horizon League Player of the Week will end her Panther career either #1 or 2 in total points, #1 in blocked shots, #1 in FG % and in the top 3 in career rebounds.
    Type the following addresses into your web browser for additional information about Maria Viall:

    http://uwmpanthers.ocsn.com/sports/w-baskbl/mtt/viall_maria00.html (official bio page)
    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncw/news/story?page=diary_viall1 (Maria’s first ESPN journal entry)
    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncw/news/story?page=diary_viall1 (Maria’s second ESPN journal entry)
    http://www.womenscollegehoops.com/allunderrated0203.html (womenscollegehoops.com all-underrated team)
    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/coll/nov03/186384.asp (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article)

    The Prediction

    Purdue won last year’s meeting in Milwaukee by the score of 82-59, getting strong performances from Shereka (21 points, 8 rebounds), Erika (19 points), and Beth (13 points) to overcome the Panthers’ home-court advantage. Maria Viall is back and leads a squad on which nine players average ten minutes a game or more, so depth shouldn’t be a huge concern for the Panthers.

    The problem for the Panthers, however, is how will they stop Purdue from scoring every trip down the court? UWM's turnover problems and poor FG% defense plays right into Purdue’s hands, a team that shoots field goals well and is more than willing to apply pressure on the ball whenever possible. In these two areas, Purdue should dominate the Panthers and win in a blowout.

    However, Purdue’s weaknesses are also the Panthers’ strength. If the Boilermakers miss a field goal attempt, the Panthers have Viall and four other players averaging more than 4 rebounds a game to grab the rebound. Also, the Panthers are probably more balanced offensively than Purdue, which seems to have only 7 players allowed to shoot the ball. Perhaps the role players on the team have learned their roles (or have lost their confidence), but only 3 of the team’s 105 field goal attempts come from players other than the starting five, Gearlds, and Lawless. UWM, on the other hand, has eight players who average more than 5 points per game. If the Boilermakers lose a player or two to foul trouble, fans should worry about where the offense will come from.

    With these two factors in mind, and with the game being played at Mackey in front of the Old Gold and Black faithful, look for Purdue to get an easy win, despite being tested for awhile, especially by Viall in the post. Look for lesser-used bench players to take advantage of a lot of playing time and to get their offensive games on track. Ultimately, it’s old-fashioned home-cooking for the Boilermakers, who will move to 2-1 this season with an 83-66 victory over the Panthers in Mackey.


As news organizations move their stories to an archive, some of the links listed above may become inactive

OldGoldFreePress COLUMNISTS
OGFP_Staff -Career Blocked Shots Rankings
Bob_Richards -Women's Recruiting Update: Liza Clemons No. 1
Steve -Opponent #11: University of Wisconsin
MDC -NCAA: (5 seed) Purdue 76 - (4 seed) Washington 74
Capri_Small -Purdue 76, Western Illinois 44
Jimmy_D - Gazing into the Crystal Bubble, Part III: SEC / Big Ten / PAC 10
Brad_Jewell -Introducing Purdue Sports News via Facebook
Bob_Sienicki -Nike Camp: Elena Delle Donne Interview
Bob_Sternvogel -Nike Camp Report #1 (Sparks and Monarchs)
Guest_Columnist -Gazing into the Crystal Bubble, Part III: The SEC/Big Ten/PAC 10
Others -Purdue Sports Info
 
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