HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - The third-seeded Purdue women's basketball team knocked off second-seeded Nebraska 77-64 to advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship game for the 13th time in school history. The Boilermakers improved to 13-1 all-time in the semifinal round of the conference tournament with the victory.
Highlighted by an 18-point effort on 7-of-11 shooting and nine rebounds by Sam Ostarello, the Boilermaker saw four players finish in double digits for the 11th time this season. Courtney Moses added 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, while KK Houser added 13 points with eight rebounds and a career-high-tying six steals and Taylor Manuel chipped in with 11 points.
Purdue used a late first-half run to take an 11-point lead into the locker room at the break and Nebraska was unable to claw back from under the Boilermakers' double digit advantage for the remainder of the game.
As a team, Purdue shot 44.1 percent from the field after finishing 26-of-59 for the game. The Boilermakers out-rebounded the Huskers 40 to 33, finished with eight steals and collected 17 points off of 14 Nebraska turnovers.
After shooting 48.1 percent from the field in the first half, Nebraska was limited to a 35.3 mark in the final 20 minutes.
The Boilermakers and Huskers exchanged the lead nine times during the first 10 minutes of the game, but Purdue closed out the first half on 22-10 run to take a 42-31 edge into the break. Dating to Feb. 12, 2012, the Boilermakers have won 23 consecutive games when leading at halftime, including 18-0 this season.
Ostarello paced the Boilermakers in the first half, collecting 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, while Houser added 10 points and tying her season high with five steals.
The game, merely the fourth ever played between the two schools, was the first to end with a decision in regulation. Nebraska knocked off Purdue in triple overtime in West Lafayette last year, while the Boilermakers triumphed in double overtime in last year's Big Ten Tournament and in single overtime in Lincoln this season.
Purdue advances to play for the conference title against fourth-seeded Michigan State. Purdue and Michigan State split the regular season series. The Boilermakers are 8-4 all-time in the Big Ten title game, including a 3-1 mark under current head coach Sharon Versyp. The game can be seen live on ESPN2 on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.