Sharon Versyp and the Boilermakers kicked off 2021 with an extremely tough opponent in #25 ranked Michigan State who extended their undefeated streak to 8 as Purdue falls by a score of 71-64.
The Boilermakers were riding high after winning their last two contests against Big Ten foes Penn State on the road and Nebraska at home to move to 5-2. Aside from Northwestern, this was Purdue’s toughest opposition on the young season and they actually performed admirably in the loss.
Purdue struggled out of the gate going down double digits in the first half before starting to hit their stride midway through the second quarter when they cut the Spartans lead down to 5 with 2:20 left. Michigan State then closed the half on a 7-0 run to push their lead to 12 at halftime.
In the 3rd quarter, it was a different story for Purdue as they outscored the Spartans 18-5 and trailed 41-40 with 2:29 left in the quarter before Michigan State began to pull away once again. The Spartans responded with a 9-0 run of their own to separate themselves from Purdue.
It was fairly back and forth in the final quarter, but timely shots and excellent execution from Michigan State proved to be too much as the Boilermakers ended up losing by 7.
Even though this was a tough loss, this team proved they can hang with the top of the conference. For a younger team, they could take some things away from this game to use going forward.
Although they lost the turnover margin coughing it up 16 times to the Spartans 12, Purdue was able to out-rebound and dish out more assists that Michigan State. Their poor shooting performance was the difference in this ball game. The Boilermakers just a measly 22% from three point distance and 34% from the field overall. However, they were able to make 22-27 attempts from the charity stripe.
Karissa McLaughlin got her first start of the season, but was unable to find her rhythm as she finished 2-7 from the field for 9 points with only 1 assist and 3 turnovers. Given that she is still working herself back from offseason surgery, some other these types of games will happen.
Kayana Traylor kept Purdue close in this game, continuing her tremendous play scoring 16 points on 3-6 shooting but also connected on 10-13 free throw attempts.
Freshman Madison Layden did not shoot well today going just 1-6, but she impacted the game in different ways grabbing 6 rebounds and dishing out 7 assists. If she can find her shooting stroke consistently, she can and will be an X-Factor for this squad.
Purdue will be back in action against 5-2 Rutgers team at the time of this writing on January 7th @7:00pm on BTN in New Jersey. The Scarlet Knights are 1-2 in the conference slate with losses to Iowa and Maryland after beating Wisconsin. They are currently playing on the road against Nebraska before hosting the Boilermakers next Thursday.