By Dustin Dopirak
Teri Moren was there for Purdue’s rise.
As a freshman point guard under then coach Lin Dunn, she played for the first Purdue team to ever win more than 20 games in 1988-89. The next season, she was on the first Boilermaker squad to reach the NCAA Tournament and played in the tournament each of the next three seasons, reaching the Sweet 16 as a junior and winning a Big Ten title as a senior.
The Boilermakers would go on to reach the tournament in 19 of the next 20 seasons, winning a national title in 1999, claiming a share of seven Big Ten titles and reaching three Final Fours in that period.
In that 20-year period, Indiana reached the NCAA Tournament just three times and never won a tournament game. And in the time between Moren’s freshman year 1987-88 and the 2008-09 season, the Hoosiers’ record against Purdue was 7-39.
So Moren understands this Purdue-Indiana rivalry — which continues Thursday at 4 p.m. (BTN) in Mackey Arena in West Lafayette — matters when it comes to the perception of which in-state Big Ten team is the dominant one. And that perception matters in recruiting. Purdue coach Sharon Versyp is her former teammate, but Moren has gotten the best of the matchup winning 8 of 12 meetings since arriving at Indiana for the 2014-15 season including three straight and seven of the last eight.
“In-state games, there’s always special meaning behind it,” Moren said. “In the Indiana-Pudue rivalry whether it’s football, basketball, swimming, soccer, it’s a great occasion, a great rivalry, one of the best in athletics. It’s just another game on our schedule, but we do talk about how meaningful it is especially when we’re recruiting kids in the state. We always want to say we’ve had more success in this series for a lot of reasons.”
The Hoosiers would appear to be favored to continue their dominance this season. They enter Thursday’s matchup ranked No. 18 in the AP poll with a 7-3 record and 5-1 Big Ten mark. Their only losses are to traditional powers Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland and all five of their Big Ten wins have come by at least double figures.
The Boilermakers are dangerous at 5-4, 2-3 however, led by Kayana Traylor, a junior guard from Martinsville averaging 16.4 points per game.
“Traylor has improved dramatically,” Moren said. “She’s really good at getting to the basket with her left hand. She spends the majority of her time going to the free throw line. She can knock down a 12-foot jumper. She’s been accurate from beyond the 3-point line. She’s improved the levels of where she can score the ball. She’s dangerous. .. There’s more balance. They’re trying to get scoring from different spots on the floor.”
And Moren simply respects her former teammate’s program.
“This league is unforgiving whether you’re projected at the top or the middle of the bottom,” Moren said. “.. We’ve always had tremendous amount of respect for Sharon, her staff, her program, how they go about their day to day. That’s not going to change.”
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