Purdue women’s basketball took a tough loss Sunday evening in Nebraska, suffering an 81-66 defeat at the hands of the Huskers.
This was one of the Boilermakers’ more poor performances of the season today. It was a struggle in all aspects of the game for Purdue that just couldn’t seem to get things together throughout the game.
From the opening tip, Purdue was all out of sorts offensively, shooting just 5-20 from the field. Ironically, Purdue jumped out to a 9-3 lead about halfway through the first quarter and then went ice cold, which bled into the rest of the game. Nebraska then woke up and started to put it on the Boilers, going on a 16-2 run to close the first quarter.
Purdue also had a few stretches where Nebraska was vulnerable, but they weren’t able to string together enough scores to make it a close game. The lead was cut to just 5 in the second, but that was as close as the Boilers would get.
The second half was all Nebraska, with Purdue struggling to shoot it still and looking overpowered defensively. The deficit ballooned to as much as 22 in the first minute of the fourth quarter and this game was all but over. Credit to the Boilers though, they fought hard in the fourth and cut the lead down to 10 before Nebraska caught their second wind and just pulled away.
Today was a matter of making shots in the grand scheme of things. Purdue shot 36% from the field, which was boosted during that fourth quarter when they hit at a 53% clip in garbage time. On the flip side, Nebraska was scorching hot as they connected on a 50% clip throughout the game, which included 55% from behind the arc.
When the quartet of Abbey Ellis, Madison Layden, Brooke Moore, and Cassidy Hardin combine for 11/44 shooting (25%), it should come as no surprise that the game unfolded this way. For Purdue to stand a chance against a good Nebraska squad, those four needed to step up but today they didn’t. It’s as simple as that.
The one bright spot today was a breakout performance for freshman Jayla Smith. The reigning Miss Basketball in the state of Indiana dropped a new career-high 16 points on 6-8 shooting and a perfect 4-4 mark from deep. Smith had struggled a bit throughout the year, but it was just a matter of time until she put everything together.
Unfortunately for Purdue, they fall to 13-8 on the season and two games below .500 at 4-6 during Big Ten play. As I mentioned after their previous win, this section of the schedule is a bit easier, but the Big Ten is no walk in the park no matter how the other squads appear to be. The Boilermakers will return home for their next contest when they host Northwestern inside Mackey Arena on Thursday, February 3rd. That game will be at 7:00 p.m. and be broadcast on B1G+.