Following their first loss of the season to Dayton on Saturday, the Katie Gearlds led Boilermakers bounced back with a 70-60 win over Marshall.
This game wasn’t one of the cleanest or prettiest wins for the Boilermakers, but any win is a good win. Especially coming off a double-digit loss for the worst game of the season to turning around for a double-digit victory.
As I’ve said many times early on in this season, this team will be finding themselves until conference play starts at the very least and most likely all season. It is a step in the right direction to be on the winning side of a game that felt like it could be lost a few times.
These are the types of games that make teams grow, as opposed to blowout 20 point victories over the D-II & D-III squads that we see so often in the non-conference slate in all sports not just college basketball. Facing adversity against a squad that was 3-0 coming into tonight and overcoming it is a great sign. We know that Marshall isn’t like one of the behemoths in the Big Ten such as Iowa, Maryland, and others, but Katie Gearlds and the staff are building this thing from the ground up.
One thing that stood out to me tonight was the play in the final quarter which inevitably closed out a win for the Boilermakers. It was a tough third quarter for Purdue that allowed Marshall to stick around and stay within four points.
They shot 3-9 from the floor and coughed it up 10 times which looked like it could have bled into the fourth. It was a different story down the stretch as Purdue shot 6-12 from the field as a team and hit 11-14 free throws to ice the game. They also did not allow Marshall to score in the last 2:27 of the game.
These are the types of performances that Katie Gearlds wanted to have to bring the once-storied program back to life, and so far she is doing a great job of building that culture once again.
Leading the Boilers was Ra’Shaya Kyle, who has been on a hot streak of late and really coming into her own. The sophomore collected her first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds on the evening. Kyle continues to be someone Purdue can lean on to get a timely bucket and patrol the paint with her 6’6 frame.
Kyle’s performance was especially important with Madison Layden having another off night scoring-wise. Layden finished the game with 7 points on 2-10 shooting, which are both season-lows for her. Even though she has struggled to score the rock in a couple of games, she does not let that affect the other areas of her game as she chipped in 6 rebounds and 4 steals as well. That is why she is Purdue’s leader.
Another player that was a rock for Purdue was the Aussie, Abbey Ellis, who dropped 14 points on 3-5 shooting from the floor and a clean 6-6 from the charity stripe. Yet another terrific output for the Cal Poly transfer to go alongside Kyle and Layden as team leaders.
The supporting cast, who had been inconsistent coming into tonight, stepped up big time to guide Purdue to victory. Cassidy Hardin connected on 3-5 three-point attempts tonight, Jeanae Terry had her best all-around game as a Boilermakers and stud freshmen Jayla Smith made an impact as well.
This team was in desperate need of others to get involved and that’s just what the combo of Smith & Terry did tonight. They didn’t have the best night shooting the ball but ended up combining for 16 points. More impressively, Terry had herself an all-around solid game posting a line of 6 rebounds and 4 assists to just 1 turnover for the evening. Smith had been on a slide scoring the ball, but you can see the potential for her to be an All-Big Ten type player is there. She chipped in a career-high 7 rebounds and played some very good defense to go along with her 7 points.
Purdue has another quick turnaround as they head down to St. Petersburg, Florida to participate in the Global Sports & Events St. Pete Showcase. They will kick things off on Thanksgiving against West Virginia who is ranked No. 22/23 in the country. If fans want to see how Purdue stacks up against great competition, this is that time. The Mountaineers are 3-0 this season and are primed to make some noise in the Big 12.
Thursday’s matchup will be at 5:00 pm on the FloHoops app. Purdue will then play one of Florida State or BYU depending on the results of each game.