Purdue made the trip up to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers inside The Barn Thursday evening and fell by a score of 77-72
This comes on the heels of their win against Wisconsin a week ago at home followed by a postponement of the Boilermaker’s contest against #11 Michigan.
Minnesota is a game Purdue has to win if they want to even smell the NCAA Tournament this season, but the team just could not pull together a complete performance in Minneapolis.
The contest was a largely back and forth affair throughout the first half as Purdue started out strong to take a 20-17 lead after the first quarter before the Golden Gophers began their hot stretch in the second quarter. In the middle of the second quarter with the score at a razor thin 1 point margin, Minnesota sent on a 10-0 run to extend their own lead to a game high 9 points to that point of the game.
The second half saw Purdue plateau along with Minnesota to keep the score tight, but were still working against a deficit until they tied the game back up at 59 with 6:52 left in the fourth quarter. The Boilermakers then stalled out and allowed Minnesota to go back on another run, but Purdue was not done fighting just yet. They went on a 6-0 in the last minute of the game to cut the lead to just 3 points but could not capitalize as Minnesota snuck out with a win.
Karissa McLaughlin did not suit up for Purdue tonight due to precautionary reasons as she works her way back into form following offseason ankle surgery.
In McLaughlin’s absence, Brooke Moore and Madison Layden each had solid games as Moore did return to her form from earlier this season tonight with 20 points on 7/18 shooting. The Kokomo, Indiana freshman, Layden scored 17 points n her own right going 3/6 from downtown while adding 4 rebounds and 3 assists as well.
Fatou Diagne also continued her fantastic play posting a third straight double-double on the season with 11 points on 3-6 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Given the talent this team has, their last two performances have been lackluster at best. Winning by just 1 point at home against a struggling Wisconsin team then losing to previously 4-7 Minnesota does not give much hope for fans.
One would have to think if Sharon Versyp will be coaching for her job down the stretch this season. Some could say that this team is better than their record shows, but numbers never lie.
Purdue’s next two opponents are must wins in 4-7 Penn State followed by 2-8 Illinois. If the Boilermakers do not show some juice in both of these ball games, then fans can kiss the NCAA and NIT goodbye. The matchup with Penn State is slated for Sunday, January 31st at 1:00pm inside Mackey Arena.