The Purdue program that has made success a norm in the past decade suffered a devastating loss to the Cardinals in their own building. Regardless of the game's location, the Boilers were outperformed in almost every aspect of the game from beginning to end. Louisville controlled the tempo all game and made the big shots to keep the Boilermakers at bay.
With every end to a season comes the departure of seniors that have played a very important role throughout their career with the school. Drey Mingo, Sam Ostarello, and Chantel Poston each left their mark at Purdue.
Drey Mingo meant more to this team than most fans and basketball fanatics knew. After her sophomore year of college, she had to sit out a season due to NCAA transfer rules. Mingo arrived at Purdue for her junior year and suited up for the Boilers in the fall of 2010. After only four games, she was hospitalized with bacterial meningitis. This disease is a potentially fatal disease that causes inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. She became permanently deaf in her left ear and lost 40% of hearing in her right ear.
Despite her hardships, Mingo returned to the court less than a month after missing four games and gave the Boilers a reason to fight and a will to mesh together.
"She's taught us more than anything, it doesn't matter about rings, championships, or Sweet Sixteen [appearances]," said Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp after Tuesday's loss. "This is a young woman that battled bacterial meningitis. For her to have that uniform on, win a Big Ten championship, and win the MVP is a great exclamation point on her career."
Chantel Poston started as a sophomore and was an important part of an Elite Eight team. Her toughness and work ethic really elevated the Boiler team. Poston was shooting 6 percent from the field before she suffered a torn lateral meniscus which sidelined her for a good portion of the season. Poston embodied a player that coach Sharon Versyp really loved to coach.
"She's an amazing young woman," Versyp said. "When you lose a starter from the year before, it's tough. I'm very proud of Chantel and I wish she could have played more this season."
The story of Ostarello is different. She made Purdue history during her four years. Ostarello finished her career as the second-all-time leading rebounder in program history. She is also second in career double-doubles. More importantly, she has been a leader.
Ostarello also recorded eight blocks against Liberty which was the most ever by a Purdue senior. Her hustle and nose for the ball will be tough to replace next season.
"Sam is one of the best rebounders we've ever had at Purdue," Versyp said. "Coming to Purdue at 17 (years old), she has grown immensely. She'll have the potential to play at the next level."
The Boilermakers will most likely be a Big Ten champion contender next year with the talent they will maintain. However, they will have a hard time filling the gaps that the seniors will leave behind.