Purdue women’s basketball fell in another Big Ten matchup against Northwestern, dropping Friday’s game, 80-67.
Today was the second loss in a row for the Boilermakers, in what was thought to be a little bit of a step down in competition compared to matchups with Michigan, Indiana, and Iowa in January. This stretch was what Purdue fans were anticipating would be an opportunity to break out for this team, but the Boilermakers have not been able to get the job done of late.
Tonight, in particular, the first half shooting just was not up to a Katie Gearlds-led team’s standards. The Boilermakers shot just 9-26 from the field in the first half and connected on only 2-9 attempts from behind the arc. The key for this team and how they are constructed is having success from the three-point range. When they are not hitting from there, things have gotten rocky this season similarly to tonight.
On top of that, the defense did not live up to expectations either in this game. Northwestern also began the game shooting poorly from the field, but were able to ramp it up and outscore the Boilers by 10 in the second quarter to push their lead to 13 by halftime. From that point on, it was not a very competitive game whatsoever. Purdue had some moments but failed to string enough of them together to make a real dent in the lead of the Wildcats.
One thing you can’t say about Purdue is that they give up. Coming into the fourth quarter down 16, the Boilermakers started connected on shots they couldn’t get to fall earlier in the game and mounted a little bit of a comeback. Despite shooting at an insane 71% clip in the final quarter, it was too little too late to make things interesting at the end.
Yet again, the turnovers plagued the Boilermakers in the second half, which did not allow them to mount any sort of comeback. Purdue coughed it up 11 times in the second half, and 16 times on the night compared to 12 on Northwestern’s side.
Another aspect of the game that killed Purdue was poor rebounding. They were outpaced on the boards, 27-41 by Northwestern in what was truly the key to the game tonight. Northwestern might not have had the best shooting night to beat them by double-digits, but when you allow your opponent 16 offensive rebounds, they are going to get their points.
Unfortunately for Purdue, this loss drops them to 13-9 on the season and just 4-7 during conference play thus far on the year. They have now fallen into the lower half of the Big Ten standings and face a tough uphill battle in order to earn an NCAA Tournament bid in March. Purdue is going to have to rally the troops quickly though, as they travel down to Bloomington on Sunday to fight for the Barn Burner Trophy against Indiana. The Boilers have already suffered a defeat at the hands of the Hoosiers inside Mackey Arena in a heartbreaker, so they will be fired up to get their revenge across enemy lines. That game will be at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday and be broadcast on B1G+.