Jan. 12, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 21/20 Purdue women's basketball team captured a much-needed Big Ten Conference victory on Sunday afternoon, upsetting No. 14/15 Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center, 84-74. Senior Courtney Moses scored a game-high 25 points, including six threes, while classmate KK Houser posted 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists as Purdue improved to 11-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
"This was a great win for our team and our program," said Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp. "We knew that we had to stay steady and get out to a good start, and we were very effective in executing our game plan."
Moses finished six-of-10 from behind the arc, marking her ninth career game with at least six trifectas. It's her sixth game of the year with at least 20 points and her sixth time leading the Boilermakers in scoring this season. However when asked about her hot-shooting game, she had nothing but praise for her teammates.
"We did a great job executing plays today," said Moses. "Our post players set great screens to get me open, and Coach always says that passes make shooters and my teammates gave me some great passes."
The Lady Lions got out to a fast start on the Boilermakers led senior Dara Taylor, who made her first few shots as they led 7-0. Moses got things going for Purdue, hitting two early threes and getting to the free throw line to cut it to 9-8 just under the 15-minute mark, but Penn State hung on to the lead, pushing it as high as six, 16-10, on back-to-back triples from senior Maggie Lucas.
Purdue didn't take its first lead until the midway point of the first half, taking a 19-18 edge on a layup by junior Whitney Bays, and the lead would change hands four times over the next few minutes as the two squads traded buckets. The Boilermakers took the lead for good with 8:34 to go in the half as Moses ignited the Purdue bench with another three pointer.
Penn State didn't go quietly, clawing back to within one point twice in the half, but both times the Boilermakers put a few baskets together to hold on to their advantage. Purdue closed the half on a 10-2 run, including six straight points from freshman Bridget Perry, to head to the locker rooms with a 46-37 edge.
Purdue held a double-digit lead for the first 10 minutes of the second half, stretching the advantage to as many as 15 points, 60-45, but the Lady Lions had a run left in them. Penn State made eight straight shots and a trio of free throws to knife the lead down six, 68-62, and then four more free throws made it a 68-66 Purdue lead with seven minutes to play. However the Boilermakers answered again, going on a 6-0 run and holding off the hosts' rally down the stretch. Sophomore April Wilson, Bays and senior Dee Dee Williams hit three of the bigger shots down the stretch, including a beautiful floater from Wilson, and Houser iced the game with a quartet of free throws in the final minute.
Houser finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals, and moved into a tie for eighth all-time at Purdue in assists, matching Versyp's career total of 418. Bays posted nine points and a career-high 14 rebounds, the most by a Boilermaker in a game this season, while fellow junior Liza Clemons added 12 points and four boards. Perry set or matched career highs with nine points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes, while Wilson chipped in nine points and four assists.
The Boilermakers committed a season-low 13 turnovers, matching their total from the game against Belmont, and grabbed more than 20 offensive rebounds for the second straight game en route to 49 total boards. They converted 24-of-28 free throw attempts (85.7%), including five-of-five by Moses and seven-of-nine from Perry.
Purdue held the Big Ten Conference's leading scorer, Lucas, to 17 points on six-of-15 shooting, while Taylor finished with 13 points and six assists. Fellow senior Ariel Edwards joined them in double figures with 12 points, six rebound and four assists, while classmate Talia East had nine points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks. The Lady Lions shot 36.7 percent from the field (29-79), and just 30 percent from three (3-10).
The Boilermakers play their first conference home game of the season on Wednesday, hosting Michigan, and start a run of three games in five days, going on to host Indiana on Friday and traveling to Nebraska next Sunday. Purdue is 5-0 in Mackey Arena this season, winning games by an average of 15.6 points and shooting 45.4 percent from the floor.