After losing their last three games, Purdue gets back in the win column defeating Wisconsin on the road by a score of 62-59.
Karissa McLaughlin did not make the trip to Madison after a concussion and a leg injury suffered in the loss to Iowa in Mackey on Sunday. Ae’Rianna Harris was also banged up as she is nursing an ankle injury and did not start but played well regardless.
Fatou Diagne started the scoring early in the game in what was a tough low scoring first quarter for both teams as Purdue led 14-11 after one quarter. In the second quarter, it was more of the same as both teams struggled shooting from the field and both played well defensively. Lindsey Whilby hit the lone shot from deep in the first half for the Boilermakers who went just 1-10 from behind the arc. That basket pushed the lead to 5 which was the largest to that point, the Badgers went on a little run to close the half to make the score 27-26 heading into halftime.
Purdue started to get a little flow going offensively after the break and the Boilermakers got rode Ae’Rianna Harris’ great play to go up by 6 to end the third quarter, but Wisconsin got some stops and got going offensively as a team to tied the game up at 50 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. After the score was tied at 50, each team went cold for a few minutes until an Imani Lewis layup with 5:51 left in the game. The teams traded baskets for much of the fourth until a gigantic three-pointer by Dominique Oden with just 12 seconds remaining left. The Badgers heaved up a prayer at the end of the game but it fell short as the Boiler snuck out of Madison with a road Big Ten win.
Playing through an ankle injury and not starting the game, Ae’Rianna Harris put the team on her back with leading scorer, Karissa McLaughlin, out this game, posting 23 points on 10-16 shooting from the field and adding 12 rebounds. She also continued to rack up milestones in her incredible career as she passed Boilermaker legend Stacie Lovelace for most career double-doubles in program history with 28.
Two Boilers that have come on as of late, Fatou Diagne, who got the start tonight, and Lindsey Whilby both played well in Madison. Whilby has provided a spark off the bench and scored 7 points and gave Sharon Versyp some solid minutes tonight.
After playing sparingly for most of the season, Diagne has been huge recently against Michigan and Iowa, although the team lost both of those games. Fatou put up a line of 8 points on 4-6 shooting and grabbed 9 rebounds in the win. She is carving out a role for herself that will continue to give her playing time and bode well for her heading into next season.
Had the Boilers lost this game, their NCAA Tournament hopes would be slim without a significant run to end the regular season and into the Big Ten Tournament. Senior Dominique Oden’s game-winning three-pointer gave Purdue more life, similarly to how Sasha Stefanovic hit a go-ahead shot against Northwestern and sparked a huge two-game stretch for Matt Painter’s team.
With the win, the Boilermakers move to 16-10 on the season and even up their conference record at 7-7. Purdue will travel to Illinois to take on the Fighting Illini on Sunday in hopes of starting a winning streak again. Illinois has had a rough go-around this season as they are just 11-12 overall with only two conference wins, both of which came against Penn State who has just one win in the Big Ten slate over Michigan State. The game will be on Sunday, February 16th at 3:00 pm EST on BTN plus.