November 22, 2016

Up next: Thanksgiving in Cancun

The Cardinal will be playing in the Cancun Challenge over the Thanksgiving weekend against:

We can hope that history continues to repeat itself. Last season, the Cardinal followed up a win over a ranked team (George Washington) with a home loss to a West Coast Conference opponent (Santa Clara), then went on to sweep their Thanksgiving tournament (in Florida).

All the games will be streamed live by Triple Crown Sports, the tournament organizer. The streamed games will be on YouTube, so you can watch them at your leisure. You can find the link to each live stream (and to live stats) in the FBC schedule.

Northeastern University is a private research university located in Boston.

The Northeastern Huskies have played in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) for eleven years, placing in the middle or bottom. The Huskies' performance last season was the biggest surprise in the CAA. They had an impressive turnaround, going 15-16 overall and 9-9 in conference play after winning just four games the previous season.

The Huskies lost their leading player to graduation, but returned three starters: 5-5 sophomore guard Jess Genco, 6-0 sophomore forward Gabby Giacone, and 6-2 senior center Francesca Sally. The trio are the Huskies' leading scorers so far this season with a cumulative average of 42.6 points per game.

The Cardinal have never played any team in the CAA.

This is Northeastern's roster and statistics.

Incidentally, Northeastern is where Toni Kokenis is in her second year of studying for a law degree. I'm guessing that her schedule and budget don't allow for a trip to Cancun.

The Wichita State Shockers play in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). They have played the Cardinal just once – way back in the pre-Tara era.

They had never won an MVC title or an MVC tournament title, never made an NCAA appearance until Jody Adams-Birch took over as head coach eight years ago. She transformed the program and led the team to three glorious seasons (2013, 2014 and 2015) when they won the MVC regular-season championship and the MVC tournament title and advanced to the NCAAs.

Last season was the first one for all but four of the Shockers (freshmen or transfers) and they had no seniors — the run of success ended with a crash.

Adams-Birch is looking for success again this season as she works to rebuild her gaggle of young players into a team. She's depending on junior forward Rangie Bessard, last year’s MVC Newcomer of the Year and their leading scorer (15.5 ppg) and rebounder (7.8 rpg) to lead the way

This is Wichita State's roster and statistics.

This will be the third time in four years that the Cardinal and the Boilermakers have spent Thanksgiving together.

They played in Puerto Vallarta in 2013 – the Cardinal came away with Tara's 899th career win.

And they played a very close game in the final round in Florida last year. The Cardinal pulled out a victory thanks to a startling last-second three-point shot by Kailee Johnson that put Purdue two possessions down late in overtime. Bri, who scored a career-high 26 points that day, iced the win with five free throws.

The Boilermakers are not quite as strong this season as last. They lost April Wilson, their starting point guard and top shooter, to graduation. They have just four upperclassmen on the roster and are 1-3 for the season.

This is Purdue's roster and statistics.

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