Box Score / Photos
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The ninth-seeded Purdue women's basketball team came up just shy of pulling off one of the biggest NCAA Tournament upsets in program history Sunday, falling at top-seeded and second-ranked Notre Dame in overtime 88-82. The Boilermakers rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit to tie the Fighting Irish in the closing minute of overtime, but fell short of the Sweet 16 and finish the year at 23-13 overall.
The Boilermakers came out strong behind the efforts of senior Bridget Perry, as she scored nine first-quarter points to lead her squad to a 17-13 edge. However Notre Dame was unconscious in the second quarter, hitting 14-of-20 from the floor en route to a 32-16 scoring advantage and 45-33 halftime score. The first half ended in scary fashion for Notre Dame as junior standout Brianna Turner went down with a knee injury and would sit the rest of the game after scoring 10 first half points.
Notre Dame would pick up right where it left off in the third quarter, hitting seven of their first 10 shots and countering every bucket the Boilers hit. Senior Ashley Morrissette rebounded from a slow first half that saw her score just one bucket and reeled off nine points and three assists in the period. Purdue had runs of 7-0 and 9-0 in the third, but still went to the final quarter trailing by 11, 66-55.
The Boilermakers revved up the defense in the final 10 minutes of regulation, holding Notre Dame to just eight points and erasing the entire deficit to force an extra frame. Morrissette and Perry hit several clutch buckets, while freshman Dominique Oden drained another massive late-game 3-pointer as Purdue went on a 10-0 run to finish regulation, and had a chance to win it with 4.3 seconds left, but were unable to get a shot off.
Purdue took a pair of leads early in the overtime period, but a Notre Dame layup followed by a banked 15-footer in the waning seconds of the shot clock put the Irish up by four with a minute to play. The Fighting Irish hit their final six free throw attempts of the game to squad another Boilermaker comeback as they advanced to next weekend's NCAA Regional in Lexington, Kentucky.
Morrissette and Perry had spectacular farewell performances as Morrissette posted 23 points and 10 assists, while Perry finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. Morrissette scored 21 of her 23 in the second half and overtime, and posted her second career double-double, while Perry's total was a season-high. Freshmen Dominique Oden and Ae'Rianna Harris both scored in double figures as Oden finished with 16 points and three assists, while Harris added 12 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp completes her 11th season at her alma mater, extending her school record win total to 237 and career win mark to 354. Her nine NCAA Tournament appearances are a program coaching record, and she also set the conference tournament record with her 22nd victory.