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Houser is "the future" for women's program

FahKara Malone's starting point guard spot is secure.

But fans will get their first look at what Malone -- and coach Sharon Versyp -- called the future of the Purdue women's program during the team's only exhibition game Sunday.

That'd be 5-foot-6 freshman KK Houser.

Listening to Versyp talk, Houser sounds like the perfect player.

"She has a work ethic that will never end. She doesn't do something right, she's very, very hard on herself and will be in the gym or the office the next day, finding out what she can do better," Versyp said.

And then continued.

"She's exceptionally fast and quick. She knows the game, is a true point guard, sees he floor. We run the best when she's the point guard. She's a little bigger (than Malone), can see some things. She can shoot the deep three-ball," Versyp said.

And ...

"She was a state champ in track. Conditioning is not an issue for her. She got 10 pounds stronger (in the offseason). She just will do anything possible, just doesn't want to let her teammates down. Everybody loves to play with her," Versyp said.

Including Malone.

Even though Malone and Houser are both point guards, they'll play together at points. That's because Purdue will use a four-guard lineup and also because there's just not that much depth at this point.

But the combination could be scary for opposing offenses.

Malone has been the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year and has been challenged to do it again. She's had much success because of her quickness, and Malone said Houser is even faster than she is. It'll be interesting to see how much full-court pressure Versyp employs when that pair is on the court at the same time.

Offensively, when Houser and Malone are in the game, Houser will be the point and Malone will shift to shooting guard.

"FahKara won't have to have the pressure 24-7 like she's had in the past," Versyp said.

But Houser's presence still may not limit Malone's minutes much. Malone has averaged 34 minutes per game each of the last two seasons.

"Everyone is like, 'Isn't it cool you have a back-up?' I'm like, 'Where is it? Where? Cuz I don't see anyone back there,' " said Malone, laughing. "Coach is like, 'We're playing four guards.' I'm like, 'Coach, we only have five guards. Who is getting the lucky sub?'

"KK will play an extremely big role. She's faster than I am. She shoots better than I can. She's the future. She is a very, very good player. I'm excited to be on the floor with her when I can. I think she'll do amazing things for us this year."