Oden established herself as an immediate presence as a freshman at Purdue, posting outstanding rookie numbers and a variety of memorable performances. Most notably, she posted back-to-back 20-point performances in wins over Indiana and Ohio State to help lead the Boilermakers to the 2017 Big Ten Tournament Championship game, hitting 9-of-13 from the 3-point line on her way to All-Big Ten Tournament Team honors. Oden is one of two freshmen in Purdue history to post at least three games with five or more 3-pointers, joining Moses.
However, her freshman season came with freshman moments as Oden relied heavily on her 3-point shot for scoring successes and would disappear from games. She had several single-digit scoring games, including a four-game stretch in conference play in which she made a combined 6-of-24 shots from the field, posting two points against Iowa and Illinois and none against Minnesota. The ability was there, but the consistency was lacking.
Who knew that a trip to Iowa City, Iowa, would ignite a spark that would turn into a five-alarm blaze for Oden the rest of the year? Only overshadowed by a career-high 34-point performance by senior teammate Andreona Keys, Oden managed to drain 7-of-10 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, for 16 points as the Boilermakers upset the 18th-ranked Hawkeyes in January. It was Purdue’s first win at Iowa since 2008, and the second of four consecutive wins over AP Top-25 opponents for the Boilermakers. Oden proceeded to score at least 20 points in four of the next five games, including career-high 26-point outings against Northwestern, tying a school record by going 5-for-5 from 3, and at No. 13 Michigan, where she hit the game-tying shot to complete a 16-point comeback and force overtime. She went on similar feverish run at the end of the season, pouring in 20-plus points in five of the last six games, matching her career-high total a third time with 26 points in a WNIT second-round win at Ball State.
Over the final 16 games of the season, Oden averaged 18.6 points, hitting 50.4 percent from the floor, added 4.5 rebounds per game and posted a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio. She ranked 14th in Big Ten scoring at 15.5 points per conference game and 10th in field goal percentage at 47.4, the second-best accuracy figure among guards. Her scoring continued to diversify as she grew, reducing her dependence on the 3-point shot and getting increased production from inside the arc and at the free throw line.
"(Her) scoring abilities elevated to a new level during the conference season. Her instincts, vision, ability to read screens and recognition of opportunities to score the basketball were all at the highest level." - Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp