Second Half Surges Help Lady Boilermakers

Sandra Dukes-US PRESSWIRE

Purdue Women pull away in the second half in wins over Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Strong second halves propelled the Purdue Women's Basketball(20-7, 10-5) team to two wins last week. Against Minnesota, Purdue put the game out of reach down the stretch winning 63-42. On Sunday, Purdue did the same topping a dogged Wisconsin team 72-54.

In Minneapolis a strong defensive effort paved the way to a win. Courtney Moses scored Purdue's first six points to get Purdue the lead after a quick Minnesota basket. From there Purdue put the pressure on the Gophers. At the break the score stood at 33-23. Purdue didn't let up in the second half increasing their lead to 23 and only letting Minnesota score 19 points in the half.

Purdue forced 13 turnovers in the contest turning them into 15 points. Purdue's defensive pressure affected Minnesota's shooting as well. The Gophers only shot 26% from the field and 15% from three point range. Dee Dee Williams who has seen more minutes since KK Houser went down was a large part of that. Minnesota guard Rachel Banham who was averaging 23ppg finished the night with only 8 points. Williams guarded her for most of the night; Banham shot 1-17 in the contest.

Courtney Moses finished the night with 27 points moving her into the 11th spot (1,591) on the career scoring list with, surpassing Coach Versyp and Camille Cooper. While Coach Versyp got bumped down the scoring list she moved up the career wins list moving into second behind Lin Dunn. Versyp is only 26 behind Dunn who had 206 wins while at the helm of the program.

Purdue never trailed Sunday afternoon against Wisconsin but they were challenged. Roughly five minutes into the game Purdue had an 11 point lead but as the game wore on it got smaller and smaller. A Taylor Wurtz layup tied the score at 23 with 1:41 left in the first half.  Purdue ended the half up 29-25.

Wisconsin threatened early in the opening minutes of the second half but the Boilers quickly took control. Purdue went on a 25-3 run to go up 52-32. The Badgers weren't done though; a 20-8 run drew them within 8 with 6:29 left. Unfortunately for Wisconsin they would only score two more points the rest of way.

April Wilson was the leading scorer for the Boilers with 18 points in addition to 8 assists. Whitney Bays continued her strong play off the bench putting up a double-double with 12 and 10. Liza Clemons also added 10 points.

Purdue's only match-up this week is against No. 16 Nebraska. The Huskers just knocked off No. 8 Penn State 94-74. Before coming to West Lafayette they'll face last-place Illinois. Nebraska is peaking at the right time; they're currently riding an eight game win streak. The match-up will be aired on ESPN2.

With one week left in conference play Purdue is third in the conference standings with a 10-5 record. Penn State is in first at 12-3 followed by Michigan State and Nebraska at 11-3. Purdue will likely finish in the top four. Iowa currently sits in fourth place at 9-5.

Purdue rose to No. 19 in this week's rankings.

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