In a tied up ball game and two teams fighting for their NCAA lives, Jayla Everett from St. John’s drives the baseline and hits a layup with .3 seconds left. The Red Storm beat the Boilers in a heartbreaking finish 66-64 and advance to Saturday.
— Purdue Women's Basketball (@PurdueWBB) March 17, 2023
Incredible comeback. Proud of everything this team accomplished this season. pic.twitter.com/GJkOJwpUHe
St. Johns drained two threes at the end of the second quarter and held a 6 point lead heading into the break after the teams stayed neck and neck for majority of the first half.
The Boilers have had trouble starting the second half all season. They hang with a team; allow a big third quarter run and spend the fourth trying to claw back in it. This worked against Wisconsin in the BTT but it’s a dangerous game that sometimes you don’t win.
Last night was no different as The Red Storm “stormed” out in the third quarter and took a commanding 15 point lead leaving Purdue looking lost on both ends of the floor. It wasn’t until the final minute of the third quarter that the Boilers started to come alive.
Purdue went on a 17-2 run in the fourth to tie up the game at 62. Jayla Everett hit a jumper from the free throw line to give St. John’s the lead back with 1:30 to play. Hardin missed a three but the Boilers forced a turnover on the next possession and Lasha Petree drove the lane and hit a shot to tie it back up with 30 seconds remaining.
St. John’s dribbled down the clock to take the last shot before Everett stepped around a Purdue defender and hit the game winning basket. Purdue had no answer for the senior guard all game; she led the Red Storm with 20 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists.
It was a heartbreaking finish for the Boilers who reached the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2017. Katie Gearlds embraced a teary eyed Cassidy Hardin who had put off medical school to come back for her final season as a Boiler that fell short. She played 142 games for the Boilers; a school record for both MBB and WBB.
Petree led the Boilers with 20 points and was joined in double figures by fellow transfer Caitlyn Harper’s 14 points. Jayla Smith chipped in nine points off the bench including seven coming in the second half. Maddie Layden had six points and six assists with no turnovers. Purdue shot 49% from the field and went 6/10 from deep.
Katie Gearlds and Purdue will now begin preparing for the off-season. The Boilers are bringing in a 21st ranked recruiting class. Petree, Hardin, and Woltmann will move on to their next chapter while Purdue will bring back some experienced veterans. I expect Gearlds to hit the transfer portal this off-season to solidify her roster for her third year as head coach.