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July 4, 2012All-Americans, professional draft picks, a bevy of first-team All-Big Ten selections and some conference champions highlight our annual list of Purdue's athletes-of-the-year.
We hit No. 8 on our series today, as GoldandBlack.com takes a subjective look at the top 10 Boilermakers from 2011-12.
Bio: A sharp-shooting senior guard who carried Purdue to a Big Ten title
Summary: Brittany Rayburn's career r?m?ould have included a donut-sized hole in the middle, had it not been for three days in early March.
Then, the Attica native caught fire at the most opportune time, leading the Boilermakers to a trio of victories, the last in the conference tournament championship game. In helping Purdue to the Big Ten Tournament title - a first conference crown during her four years as a Boilermaker - she was named the tourney's Most Outstanding Player.
And deservingly so. She was electric in Game 1 vs. Michigan State, hitting her first seven three-pointers on her way to 29 points, in a display reminiscent to her NCAA-record 12 triples in a regular-season win earlier at Minnesota. She hit the game-winning layup at the buzzer the following night vs. Penn State, then was efficient in the championship against Nebraska.
Rayburn, who averaged a team-high 14.8 points as a senior and was second-team All-Big Ten, ended her career No. 6 in career points, with 1,795, along with 427 rebounds, 248 assists and 151 steals. Her 201 career three-pointers are second in Purdue history.
Analysis: Rayburn's title, particularly the way she carried the Boilermakers in the last month of the season, leaves a lasting legacy.
She was a streaky player, prone to bouts of shooting struggles. But when she was on, like vs. Minnesota and Michigan State, watch out. It was an absolute joy to watch her rain down 3s like a perfectly synchronized machine.
Unfortunately for Rayburn, she was often left with not enough scoring help, leaving defenses to design schemes to shut her down. And her body took the brunt of it.
But she'd never let on when she was hurting, playing through broken bones, an injured back and other ailments without missing a start.
No. 10: Ricardo Allen
No. 9: Jennifer Rabot
No. 8: Brittany Rayburn
No. 7: Thursday
No. 6: Friday
No. 5: Monday
No. 4: Tuesday
No. 3: Wednesday
No. 2: July 12
No. 1: July 13
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