MUNCIE, Ind. - The Purdue women's basketball team kept the 2017-18 season alive Sunday, posting a 77-72 victory at Ball State to advance to the round of 16 of the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). Sophomore Dominique Oden turned it on against the Cardinals, posting 26 points and was 1-of-4 Boilermakers in double figures as Purdue avenged a loss to Ball State from Dec. 4, 2017.
Purdue advances to face another repeat opponent from the season, heading to Bloomington, Indiana on Thursday for a 7 p.m. tip against the Hoosiers in Assembly Hall. The Boilermakers will continue to have revenge on their mind, looking to flip the switch on a pair of losses to the Hoosiers this season.
The Boilermakers were hot from the field all game, sinking 52.8 percent from the field, including 14-of-21 in the second half, dropped 52.9 percent from 3-point range (9-17) and hit 12-of-15 at the free throw line. The defense came to play as well, holding Ball State to 36.3 percent shooting, and kept the Cardinals off the free throw line, only allowing 9-of-13 free throws despite coming in averaging 22 attempts at the charity stripe per game.
Purdue outrebounded Ball State, 41-39, despite surrendering 20 offensive boards, and more importantly only gave up five second-chance points to the Cardinals. The bulk of the Ball State damage came in the second half, where they collected 13 of their offensive boards, but didn't score a second-chance bucket after the break. Ball State kept pace with the Boilermakers by outscoring them 42-24 in the paint and converting 22 Purdue turnovers into 26 points.
After Purdue led for almost the entire first 30 minutes of the game, Ball State ran off a 7-0 run to end the third quarter and then took their first lead since the opening minutes with a bucket to start the fourth, 56-55. The Boilermakers swung the tide back in their direction with a 14-2 run of their own, spurred by seven points from Oden, but Ball State wouldn't go away. Four straight Purdue turnovers allowed the Cardinals to tie the game at 69-69, but foul problems would undo the Ball State rally. The Boilermakers hit eight straight to finish the game and escape Worthen Arena with the win.
Oden was special Sunday, hitting clutch bucket after clutch bucket and seemingly answering every Ball State run. She finished 10-of-17 from the field, including 4-of-8 from distance, and added eight rebounds and a pair of assists. Freshman Karissa McLaughlin was just shy of her career-high, scoring 19 points as she knocked down 5-of-8 from the field, 3-of-5 from distance and 6-of-6 at the free throw line, which all came in the final minute of regulation to secure the win. McLaughlin also had five assists and four rebounds, extending her consecutive-minutes-played streak to 340 straight.
Senior Andreona Keys was instrumental in the Boilermakers' first-half efforts, scoring 12 of her 15 points in the opening 20 minutes and adding six assists and a pair of rebounds for the game. Sophomore Ae'Rianna Harris posted her ninth double-double of the season with 11 points and 13 rebounds, despite fighting foul trouble for the second straight game. She also added four assists and three blocks, becoming the second player in program history to reject 100 shots in a season and the sixth player in the NCAA to accomplish the feat this season. Freshman Tamara Farquhar eyed a double-double as well, finishing with six points and eight boards.
Purdue's 77 points were its most in a game since its 81-79 overtime win at Michigan on Feb. 1, and marked the 10th time the Boilermakers have shot 50 percent or better from the field this year.