Purdue women’s basketball picked up the 900th win in program history with an 80-66 victory over Minnesota Thursday evening.
This was a huge milestone for the once juggernaut program that is looking to make it back to its dominant ways. Purdue fans are hoping for Katie Gearlds will lead the Boilermakers to many more milestones like this.
After their recent losses to the likes of Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan, the Boilermakers needed something to help propel them to a late-season run in order to secure an NCAA Tournament bid. Tonight’s win over Minnesota could have provided Purdue with some momentum heading down the stretch.
It was yet another game of a sort of an up and down performance that ended in the Boilermakers taking over down late. To little surprise, Purdue shot out of the gates like a cannon, taking an 18-9 lead into the second but hit a bit of a wall during the second quarter.
Minnesota was able to get themselves back in the game and the Boilermakers looked a bit stunned for a while there before weathering the storm. I’ve said it constantly throughout the season, but putting together a complete 40 minute game against teams in the Big Ten will be the next step for Purdue to find that next level of success.
The Boilermakers were able to put that poor quarter behind them in the second half, outscoring the Gophers 27-18 in the third quarter. Those explosive type stretches have been hard to come by, but tonight they looked like a Top 25 team when they got things going.
Purdue then had a double-digit lead to begin the fourth quarter and was able to coast to an easy victory over Minnesota. Madison Layden and Rickie Woltman played large parts in Purdue’s performance in the second half as they combined for 19 points on 8-13 shooting and hit some big shots when the Boilers needed it most.
Today was another game where the scoring was fairly evenly distributed throughout the players who were on the court. Every player who touched the floor tonight scored 7 or more points, with Layden leading the way with a team-high 16 points.
Jeanae Terry had another special game tonight as well when she became the first Boilermaker to record two triple-doubles in program history. The Illinois transfer finished with 10 points on 50% shooting, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. Terry had been struggling with her shot a bit recently but proved why she deserves to be one of the main contributors for this team.
On par with their recent outings too, freshmen Ava Learn and Jayla Smith stepped up once again to turn in solid games in limited minutes. The rookie duo combined for 19 points in their own right on 67% shooting in 17 and 19 minutes respectively. Anything Katie Gearlds gets from those two is a huge bonus with how this team is set up.
The important thing about tonight’s game is using it to go on a tear in the Big Ten conference. This team has proved they can hang around with great teams, now they need to prove they can beat them.
Purdue now moves to 13-7 overall and 4-5 during conference play this season. Next time out, they will travel to a struggling Nebraska squad who have lost three straight and are just 2-4 in the Big Ten. Every game on the road in Big Ten country is tough, but this is a very winnable game for the Boilermakers. That game will be this Sunday at 3:00 p.m. and be broadcast on B1G+.