When the Purdue Boilermakers of the mid-1990s caught a spark of success in Big Ten women's basketball competition, they triggered a lasting legacy. Since first winning Big Ten campaign in 1993, the Boilermakers consistently laid claim to at least one of the conference's regular season or tournament titles for the next 10 seasons with depth and adaptability.
After being picked to finish fifth in the conference in 1994, Purdue won its second Big Ten title en route to making its first NCAA Women's Final Four appearance. Big Ten and National Freshman of the Year Leslie Johnson became the first newcomer to be named first-team All-Conference. The pollsters learned their lesson in 1995, pitting Purdue at No. 2 in the preseason AP poll. All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year Stacy Lovelace piloted the Boilermakers' run to a second consecutive league title.
Nell Fortner took over as head coach during the 1996-97 season, but the Boilermakers didn't miss a beat. Conference Player of the Year Jannon Roland led Purdue to a share of the Big Ten regular season title, while Fortner picked up Coach of the Year honors in her rookie season at the helm. Another coaching change was made the following year, putting Carolyn Peck as No. 1 on the sidelines. Again, the Boilermakers adjusted without falter and went on to claim their first Big Ten Tournament title.
That glimpse of success was on full display during the 1998-99 season as Purdue claimed both the Big Ten's regular season and tournament crowns before riding a 32-game win streak to the NCAA Championship title with a 34-1 record. Leading the way was a heavily-decorated forward in Stephanie White. The senior picked up Big Ten Player of the Year, Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year, first-team All-America and Academic All-American of the Year to go along with her Wade Trophy and Honda Award distinctions as the nation's top player. Peck also gained national rapport, earning Big Ten and National Coach of the Year awards. White's 2,182 career points rank seventh on the all-time Big Ten scoring list.
With the third coach in four years taking control at Purdue to begin the 1999-2000 season, the Boilermakers responded with their third-straight league tournament title under new head coach Kristy Curry. Senior forward Katie Douglas picked up where White left off, leading the Boilermakers to their third NCAA Women's Final Four. Douglas, who ranks fourth on the league's all-time steals list, notched a new merit when she became Purdue's first two-time All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year. The Boilermakers' continued success saw a seventh regular season title in 2002 and their fourth and fifth Big Ten Tournament crowns in 2003 and 2004.