Old Dominion Versus Purdue AP Preview

March 17, 2002
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

March 17, 2002

GAME: No. 7 Old Dominion (26-5) vs. No. 2 Purdue (24-5).
REGIONAL: Mideast, Second Round.
TIME: Monday, 7:05 p.m. EST.
SITE: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Ind.

Kelly Komara knows what it takes to advance in the NCAA tournament, and it showed in her opening-round performance.

Purdue hopes the senior guard continues her intense play in a matchup with Old Dominion, as the teams play for the right to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

Komara, who has played in two national championship games, had 17 points, six rebounds and six steals as Purdue defeated Austin Peay 80-49 in the first round Saturday.

Komara was a freshman on the 1999 championship team, and a starter on last year's team that lost to Notre Dame in the title game. She is the Big Ten's defensive player of the year, and Purdue's single-season steals leader with 112.

Purdue, making its ninth straight NCAA tournament appearance, also got a strong performance from Erika Valek, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament in last year's Mideast regional final. She had 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

While Komara and Valek will again be counted on, the Boilermakers will need a strong defensive effort from their frontcourt players as the paint area is where the Lady Monarchs excel.

Lucienne Berthieu was hacked or ran into a double team almost every time she had the ball in the low post, but had 24 points and nine rebounds as Old Dominion defeated Georgia 68-54 in the first round Saturday.

Berthieu, a 6-foot-2 center, is a three-time Colonial Athletic Association player of the year.

"We've got problems in the paint," Purdue coach Kristy Curry said. "It will have to be our best defensive effort from our post. Also, don't lose sight that the perimeter has got to do a good job pressuring the pass. We're going to have to come out and see if we can rise to the occasion."

A year ago, Berthieu sat out the season with a torn knee ligament and watched as Old Dominion was eliminated in the tournament's first round.

Old Dominion has won each of the three meetings between the teams.

The winner faces either third-seeded Kansas State or sixth-seeded Arkansas in Milwaukee on Saturday.

Old Dominion - F Monique Coker (9.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg), F Hamchetou Maiga (11.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg), C Berthieu (13.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg), G Tiffany Thompson (5.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg), G Sharron Francis (7.5 ppg, 5.3 apg).
Purdue - F Laura Meadows (9.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg), F Shereka Wright (18.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg), C Mary Jo Noon (13.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg), G Komara (12.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), G Valek (7.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg).

Old Dominion - Automatic bid, Colonial Athletic Association champion, defeated No. 10 Georgia 68-54, first round.
Purdue - At-large bid, Big Ten Conference, defeated No. 15 Austin Peay 80-49, first round.

Old Dominion - 30-17, 19 years.
Purdue - 27-11, 13 years.