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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue women's basketball team looked to add another comeback win to the resume Thursday, but fell short in a 78-74 loss to visiting Minnesota. The Golden Gophers converted 20 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points as they bumped the Boilermakers to 16-9 overall and 7-4 in Big Ten Conference play with the loss.
Thursday's game opened at an outrageous pace as the two sides traded buckets en route to a 29-27 first-quarter Minnesota lead. The Gophers' total was the most ever by a Purdue opponent in the opening frame as they hit 4-of-8 from 3-point range and 5-of-6 at the free throw line, led by 13 points from freshman Destiny Pitts. Purdue dropped 12-of-17 in the quarter (.706), getting eight from freshman Karissa McLaughlin and six points each from senior Andreona Keys and sophomore Ae'Rianna Harris.
Foul trouble swung the scales in the second quarter as McLaughlin and Harris each got tagged with their second foul and had to sit, putting Minnesota on a run to take the lead as high as nine, 47-38. The Boilermakers shot 31 percent in the period, their only quarter of the game under 50, and Minnesota posted 10 second-chance points to surge ahead.
The Golden Gophers kept their foot on the gas out of the half, stretching their lead as high as 16, 63-47, with five minutes left in the third. Purdue started to chip away, trimming the edge to 10 in the last two minutes of the third, but a turnover and Minnesota triple made it 66-53 heading to the fourth.
Things started clicking again for Purdue in the fourth as Harris scored six of Purdue's first 10 and quickly reduced the lead to five. Freshman Tamara Farquhar and sophomore Miracle Gray backed her up with buckets to make it a three-point game, but Purdue would get no closer as Minnesota converted on each of their next three possessions. The Boilermakers made one last rally with buckets from Keys and sophomore Dominique Oden, but couldn't keep Minnesota off the glass after stops in the final minute.
Harris paced the Boilermakers with 19 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks, marking her seventh double-double of the season, while Keys followed up with 17 points. Oden had 13 points and a pair of steals, and McLaughlin turned in 11 points and five assists.
Junior Kenisha Bell paced Minnesota with 22 points, nine assists and five steals, while Pitts had 18 points and seven rebounds and sophomore Gadiva Hubbard added 17 points, five assists and five steals. The Golden Gophers improved to 18-6 overall and pulled even with Purdue at 7-4 in the conference standings.
Purdue is back at it in Mackey Arena on Monday, hosting Indiana for a 7 p.m. ET tip, live on the Big Ten Network.