Four Boilers Earn Women’s Basketball All-B1G Honors
Sophomore Ae’Rianna Harris was tabbed Defensive Player of the Year
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue sophomore Ae’Rianna Harris was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year on Monday, highlighting the list of all-conference awards for the Purdue Women’s Basketball team. Harris was 1-of-3 Second Team All-Big Ten selections for the Boilermakers on Monday, joined by classmate Dominique Oden on both the coaches’ and media teams, while senior Andreona Keys earned a second-team nod from the media and was selected honorable mention by the coaches.
Harris is the third player in program history to be named the top defensive player in the conference, joining Kelly Komara in 2002 and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton in 2007. Harris and Oden are the first Purdue sophomores to earn All-Big Ten honors since 2010, and the second and third players in head coach Sharon Versyp’s tenure with the Boilermakers. In addition, Karissa McLaughlin became the 10th Boilermaker to earn Big Ten All-Freshman Team plaudits and their first since 2013.
Harris boasts some of the top defensive averages in the nation, rejecting 92 shots this season, while adding 36 steals and 264 rebounds, including 189 on the defensive end. Her blocked shot total is sixth-most in the country this season and second all-time at Purdue. She’s broken the Boilermakers’ sophomore season blocks, rebounding and double-double records, and is 1-of-4 players in the nation averaging at least 12.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per contest. Harris is the third sophomore to ever win defensive player of the year honors, following Penn State’s Tanisha Wright in 2003, and Ohio State’s Shavelle Little in 2008, and now the sixth player at Purdue to earn a spot on the Big Ten All-Defensive team, and the second in as many years following Ashley Morrissette.
Oden was the Boilermakers’ top scorer in Big Ten play, averaging 15.5 points per game against the conference and topping the 20-point mark on six occasions. The sophomore shooter has splashed a Purdue second-year record 56 3-pointers on the year, becoming the first player in program history to hit at least 50 in each of her first two seasons, and is hitting 38.1 percent from behind the arc. She’s added career-best marks of 123 rebounds 77 assists and 39 steals already this season and is two points from becoming the 10th sophomore at Purdue to crack 400 points in a season.
Keys is putting the finishing touches on an outstanding Boilermaker career, leading her squad with a career-high 13.6 points per game this season and converting a career-best 47.7 percent from the floor. The four-year starter has added 5.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game this season, hitting double figures in scoring 22 times, including a career-high 34 points in a win at No. 18 Iowa on Jan. 13. She’s dashed her name across the Boilermaker record books, climbing to 24th on Purdue’s career scoring list and remaining three points shy of the 1,200-point mark heading into the Big Ten Tournament. Her 624 career rebounds are 18th all-time at Purdue, while her 326 assists rank 15th for the Boilermakers and her 164 career steals are 21st. Keys was also the recipient of the Boilermakers’ Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
McLaughlin is the fifth Purdue rookie to earn Big Ten All-Freshman honors under Versyp and the first since Taylor Manuel in 2013. She’s averaging 10.0 points and 3.6 assists per game, starting 26-of-30 games this season and playing 32.4 minutes per game, second-most in program history following Versyp’s 34.0 per game average in 1984-85. McLaughlin has an active streak of 220 consecutive minutes played, including every second of the last five contests, believed to be the longest stretch by a Boilermaker in program history. She’s already shattered the Boilermakers’ freshman 3-point field goal record, snapping Oden’s mark with 65 this season, good for sixth on Purdue’s single-season record list. McLaughlin is also the sixth rookie in program history to dish at least 100 assists, ranking fifth with 108 and 15 shy of Katie Douglas’ mark set in 1997-98.
Big Ten Player of the Year honors were shared by Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell (coaches) and Megan Gustafson (media), while Nebraska’s Amy Williams was named the conference coach of the year. Minnesota’s Destiny Pitts earned freshman of the year honors from the coaches and media, while Maryland’s Ieshia Small was named Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year.
The Boilermakers open play at the Big Ten Tournament at noon ET on Thursday, facing No. 9 seed Rutgers in a second-round matchup at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The winner advances to face top-seeded Ohio State on Friday, also set for noon.