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Purdue Women's Basketball Is Looking for Consistency

Purdue was overcome by Duke last Thursday in the second half. Then on Sunday the Boilers used a strong second half to shut the door on IPFW.

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue had another 1-1 week. Purdue dropped their ACC-B1G Challenge game against No. 2 Duke, 99-78, before regrouping against IPFW, 91-70. Against Duke, Purdue had the start they needed if they were going to pull off the upset. In fact they were executing the game plan into the second half before things unraveled. In the game against IPFW, Purdue started slow before turning it on and putting the Mastodons away. Purdue stands at 6-2 now.

Down in Durham, Purdue was in the game from the start. They gave Duke their largest deficit of the young season, 26-17. Purdue kept the pressure on and led 44-41 at the break. The Boilers were shooting the rock at 49%. The Blue Devils kept pace though as they were shooting 50%. A lot was going right of the Boilers, "I thought our first half we played the best basketball we've played all year," -Coach Versyp.

The high-level of play did not last much past the break as the Purdue's shooting fell off and Duke got hotter. Whitney Bays' layup with 14:47 was our last lead, 57-56. Duke quickly took the lead back with a three point play. The situation was made worse after we missed consecutive layups. Duke took advantage and went on an 18-5 run and that was the end of any threat of an upset. The layups foretold of more shooting misery to come as Purdue shot 28% from the field in the second half.

Purdue was led by KK Houser with 20 points, 3 assists and 5 steals. April Wilson had 14 points, Bays 11, and Moses only 8. Guard play was an advantage for the Boilers but it was neutralized in the second half and Moses' limited production certainly helped the Blue Devils. On the other end of the floor Duke had too much offensive fire power. They finished the night shooting 56%. Chelsea Gray, Tricia Liston, and Elizabeth Williams were three of five Blue Devils that managed double digit scoring.

Unlike the game against Duke, Purdue played better in the second half than the first when they squared off against IPFW. They didn't have a bad start but they did let the Dons hang around. Purdue went on a 16-3 run in the first half but IPFW was able to close the halftime gap to five, 40-35.

The Purdue offense found a higher gear in the second half. IPFW got as close as three but the Boilermakers began to pull away thereafter. Purdue shot 63% in the second half and stretched their lead to as many as 27. Thirteen of fourteen shooting to start the second half was key.

Courtney Moses led in scoring with 26. KK Houser stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds. Whitney Bays had 13 points, while Dee Dee Williams broke into double digits for the first time this season with 10. Liza Clemons got her first double-double with 11 and 10. Purdue was able to assist on 28 of their 32 field goals; April Wilson had 9 of them.

Heading into next Sunday Purdue will look to continue their hot shooting and offensive efficiency against a 4-4 Kansas team. The Jawhawks were picked to finish 7th in the Big 12. Kansas has previously lost to Duke 73-40 and Minnesota 70-59. In their losses they haven't scored more than 59 points. If Purdue can apply the defensive pressure and put points on the board they should return from Allen Fieldhouse with a double digit win.

Looking ahead to B1G play in a month Purdue will need to be more consistent from half to half. Moses and Houser will also both have to reach double digit scoring every night to compensate for a weak front court. Our post play will improve but it is obvious what our strength is. We will need our best players putting up points consistently if we're going to win road games and defend our home court against the ranked teams of the B1G.