In front of a sold-out Mackey Arena, the women’s basketball team took on the #3 Caitlin Clark led Iowa Hawkeyes. Boilers fought hard to try to stay with the Hawkeyes behind a rocking crowd but fell short 96-71 earning them their first home loss this season.
Unless you live under a rock, I don’t know many people who don’t know the name Caitlin Clark. It’s a big reason Mackey sold out as people travel all around to see the generational talent. Signs throughout Mackey doted on Clark admiring the impact she has brought to the game. Even my two nieces, who are big Purdue fans and plan on attending Purdue, donned their Clark shirts behind the Iowa bench (much to my demise). Hey, I get loving her game just not when she’s playing the Boilers!
Purdue started off strong cutting the lane trying to get hands on the ball and disrupting the fast-paced Iowa offense. After a quick 5-0 lead by the Hawkeyes, Mary Ashley Stevenson put Purdue on the board with jump shot in the corner. But Caitlin Clark, doing Caitlin Clark things, nailed the 3 ball and fed her players in transition to take an 11-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
Purdue was able to bring it to within 7 in the second quarter after a quick steal and bucket scoring 4 points in 7 seconds.
Unfortunately, that would be as close as Purdue would come for the remainder of the game. Despite turning the ball over 9 times in the first half, Iowa hit 50% from 3 and outrebounded the Boilers to take a 51-37 lead at half.
Caitlyn Harper hit a 3 to start the third quarter but Iowa’s offense didn’t slow down; they matched them anytime Purdue tried to chip away at the lead. Iowa’s offense relies heavily on scoring in transition which wears teams down as the game goes on. Purdue would never come within striking distance the rest of the game as the Hawkers quickly jumped to a 20 point lead and never looked back.
I do give the Boilers credit. They never played scared or quit… we just didn’t have the athleticism or scoring to match up with the Hawkeyes.
Clark, who averages 31 points a game, posted a triple double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. As good as a shooter as she is, she is just as good at facilitating her offense. She fed the ball seamlessly as 4 other players scored in double figures for Iowa.
Abbey Ellis led Purdue with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Layden and Terry both chipped in 10 while Caitlyn Harper had 11 and 4 rebounds. The Boilers did, however, keep their turnovers to 11 after struggling with taking care of the basketball all season. They just got beat on the glass by 17 boards and only shot 25% from the arc compared to the Hawkeyes 45%.
Geralds is on her third year with Purdue and it’s going to take some time to build the program, but right now it seems this team just lacks any identity. Look, it was a tall order to take down Iowa and I wasn’t expecting that but it’s kind of been the story this season. They seem to lack leadership at times or someone with that killer instinct who can take over games when they need it.
Ellis brings a lot of fire and leads the team in scoring but there needs to be someone else who can step up as consistent scorer. Right now, the freshman contribute 20 points on offense but with Jordyn Poole coming in next season, I think we are headed in the right direction.