After beating Michigan State in the second round of the 2020 Big Ten Tournament, the Boilermakers were unable to dethrone the top seed Maryland Terrapins and lost by a score of 74-62.
Similar to their last meeting, the Boilers played well through the first quarter and kept the game very close, even taking the lead at some points. Purdue shot 7-14 from the field and was led by Cassidy Hardin who had 9 points and went a perfect 3-3 from downtown. She was a big reason the Terrapins were not able to stretch their lead, as they were up 20-19 after the first quarter. Purdue struggled mightily shooting from the field in the second quarter as they scored just 10 points compared to the 17 that Maryland put up. Although Maryland just an awful 6-31 from the field in the second quarter, they were able to get an insane 23 rebounds to extend possessions and get second chance opportunities. The first half, while they kept it close the Boilermakers also had a bit of a sloppy half. Purdue was also plagued by turnovers as they coughed it up 14 times and Maryland had a 21-3 advantage in offensive rebounds. The Terrapins took a 37-29 lead into halftime.
Purdue had opportunities to make a comeback as they were within striking distance for most of the game. The lead was still stuck at 8 after a Fatou Diagne free throw with 1:44 left in the third quarter, then Maryland started to run away with things. The Terrapins then went on a 12-0 run from the end of the third to the 8:02 mark in the fourth quarter to push the lead to 20 points. This deficit proved to be too much for the Boilers as the team just could not string together scores and stops consistently enough to claw their way back. Maryland kept a healthy advantage throughout the end of the game as they were able to continue their magical season.
Not many people gave the Boilers a chance coming into this game, yet it was a very winnable game given how poorly Maryland played. It came down to just a couple of factors, one of which was rebounding and the other being live-ball turnovers that the Boilers gave up. Purdue played great defense all game and held the Terrapins to 30-84 shooting (35%), but have up 28 offensive rebounds which Maryland took full advantage of. Had Harris, Diagne and Gony gotten just half of those, we could be looking at a team playing in the semifinals tomorrow. In the second half Purdue cut down on their turnovers, but the first half they gave it up 14 times with most of those being live-ball turnovers that led to Maryland layups.
Dominique Oden was the most consistent player today as she scored 15 points on 5-11 from the field and pulled in 6 rebounds while dishing out 8 assists. Today’s game was also her 132nd career start which now places her at the top for minutes played and career starts in program history.
Other Boilermakers who had solid outings were, Fatou Diagne, who put up her second straight double double with 11 points and 12 rebounds and Ae’Rianna Harris who again was relatively close to a triple-double with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. This performance comes on the heels of her 7 block game yesterday which was the most all-time in a Big Ten Tournament game.
Purdue now ends the season at 18-14 after the Big Ten Tournament and will head back to West Lafayette to rest up and prepare for whichever postseason tournament they are invited to. They are on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament and this loss to Maryland should not affect their seeding whatsoever, but if they do not make it to March Madness they will no doubt play in the NIT. The NCAA Tournament bracket will be announced Monday March 16th on ESPN2 at 7:00 pm.