WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
High-octane offense and stingy defense gave Purdue a 79-69 win against the Penn State Lady Lions on Thursday night. The Boilermakers shot just over 43 percent for the game and had three players score in double-digits, including a game-high 19 points by freshman Courtney Moses.
The Lady Lions took a 10-9 lead at the 14:36 mark of the first half but it would prove to be their only lead of the game. Purdue went on an 11-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back three-pointers by junior Antionette Howard to gain a 20-10 advantage. Purdue closed out the first half with a 14-4 run to take a 42-24 lead into the locker room.
Howard, Brittany Rayburn and Moses combined for 25 of Purdue's 42 first half points. The trio made 8 of 13 field goals, including all six three-pointers before the break. Purdue's 42 points tied a season high for first-half points.
The Boilermakers pushed the lead to 23 - the largest of the contest - by scoring the first five points of the second half. Penn State turned up its defensive intensity, both in the half court and with full court pressure and with 8:39 to play had cut Purdue's lead to six points at 61-55. Chelsea Jones answered immediately with two points in the paint on an assist by Chantel Poston, but Penn State's Nikki Greene responded with a field goal to bring it back to a six-point margin.
A media timeout gave Purdue a chance to catch its breath, and the Boilermakers went on a 6-0 run to move ahead by 12 points at 69-57. The Lady Lions got the margin back to single-digits on four-straight points by Julia Trogele, but turnovers continued to plague Penn State and the Boilermakers hit free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
With only three minutes to go, Purdue held a 10-point lead at 71-61. Penn State never came closer than that margin down the stretch and the Boilermakers' hit their final eight free throws to get the lead back to 79-61. Penn State had the last three scores of the contest for the final margin of 79-69.
Moses led all scorers with 19 points. Howard contributed a career-high 18 points, while Rayburn finished with 12 points. Moses, Howard and Jones each finished with three steals. Howard tied her career high in steals, while Jones set a career high with the three takeaways. Purdue had 11 steals in the contest and scored 23 points off Penn State's 20 turnovers.
Penn State had four players in double-digits. Alex Bentley finished with 14, Maggie Lucas scored 13 points, Julia Trogele and Zhaque Gray had 12 points each. Nikki Greene had eight points and 11 rebounds for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State came into the contest leading the nation in three-point field goal percentage at 45.3 percent and 11th in scoring at 81.6 points per game, but the Boilermakers' defense held the Lady Lions without a three-pointer in the first half (0-4) and limited them to just 24 points in the first period. Penn State's Lucas, the team's leading scorer was kept in check partly by foul trouble. She picked up three fouls in the first half and fouled out with 2:04 to play.
The Boilermakers have won 10-consecutive games against Penn State.
Purdue has four out its five last games and will head to Ann Arbor to face Michigan on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Crisler Arena.