Jan. 4, 2010
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Melissa Lechlitner scored a career-high 20 points, and No. 3 Notre Dame beat Purdue 79-75 on Monday night.
Lechlitner, who was averaging 6.2 points per game, made 8 of 16 shots, including four 3-pointers. Skylar Diggins and Lindsay Schrader each scored 15 points, and Ashley Barlow added 13 points and eight rebounds for Notre Dame (13-0), which is off to its best start since winning its first 23 games in 2000-2001.
Purdue had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but Devereaux Peters blocked Samantha Woods' three-pointer from the right corner, and Notre Dame rebounded.
Notre Dame recovered from a rough first half to shoot 48 percent after the break.
The Irish had the ball with a 76-73 lead in the final minute. Diggins missed in close as the shot clock wound down, and Purdue gained possession.
Howell made a layup with 12.1 seconds left to make it a one-point game.
The Boilermakers fouled Diggins with 11.8 seconds to play. She made the first free throw and missed the second, but Schrader got the rebound. Schrader made the first free throw, but missed the second to give the Boilermakers a chance.
Woods had made two 3-pointers in the game, but Peters, who averages three blocks per contest, adjusted and stuffed her shot.
The Boilermakers led 37-28 late in the first half before Notre Dame went on a 8-0 run that included two baskets by Diggins to help trim Purdue's lead to one point at halftime.
Notre Dame took a 49-48 advantage on a three-pointer by Lechlitner, but Purdue's Sam Ostarello came back with the first three-pointer of her college career to put the Boilermakers back in front.
Brittany Mallory made a three-pointer for Notre Dame to give her team a 58-54 lead, and Purdue point guard FahKara Malone left the game with an ankle injury on the play.
Malone returned as Howell tied the game at 62 on a pair of free throws, but Lechlitner and Diggins made back-to-back three-pointers to give Notre Dame a 68-62 lead, its largest of the game, with 5:41 to play.
Purdue responded quickly. Howell was fouled on a three-pointer and made all three free throws, then Malone got a steal and layup to make it 68-67.
A three-pointer by Barlow with 2:38 to play made it 72-67, but Purdue rallied again to set up the frantic final minute.