Guard April Wilson carried Purdue (2-0) to a 62-51 win over the University of Illinois-Chicago. Wilson played one of her best games Thursday night posting a double-double, 19 points and 10 assists. The Boilers needed it all as they struggled generating offense through the middle quarters.
Things started well for the Boilers in the first quarter. Ashley Morrissette drained a triple on the first possession and they kept that momentum the whole period. Halfway through the period things picked up for the Boilers as they finished the period on a 13-4 run to go up 23-12. Great ball movement, getting the ball to the soft spots in the zone, helped Purdue increase their margin during the run. After the first quarter April Wilson was already half-way to a double-double. Wilson scored or assisted on all but one of Purdue's first quarter field goals to finish with 10 points and four assists.
The offensive production fell off in the second period as the teams combined for 19 points; Purdue couldn't shoot the ball, 15%FG, and UIC couldn't hang on to the ball, 7 turnovers. Both teams scored on their first possession but struggled mightily thereafter. Fortunately for both squads neither could capitalize on eithers offensive struggles. Purdue endured a 4 minutes scoreless stretch where they committed three turnovers and missed 6 shots. UIC meanwhile only scored once to draw within seven. At this point they too hit a bad spell turning the ball over 5 times and going 0-4 over five mintues. At the half Purdue was up 32-22.
It was marginally better it the third quarter, a little better shooting and a few less turnovers. UIC went on a three minute scoring drought but was able to keep Purdue in check on defense and only let up a Wilson trey. During the last five minutes of the quarter the two teams traded scores. At quarter's end Purdue was up 43-34.
Finally in the fourth quarter Purdue was able to hit some shots, 7-11. The Boilers started the half on a 17-6 run pushing their lead to 18, 60-42. April Wilson got back in the groove assisting on five scores during the run and converting a three-point play. When the buzzer sounded Purdue was up 62-51.
Purdue shot 35% on the night, 26% from three-point range, and 68% from the line. The Boilers were outrebounded 41-40. Purdue committed 11 turnovers, had 15 assists, and turned UIC's 17 turnovers into 21 points.
Ashley Morrissette tallied 11 points, four rebounds, and two steals. Torrie Thornton led the Boilers on the boards with 9. Andreona Keys posted eight points and five boards. In addition to her double-double Wilson had two rebounds, two steals, and drew two charges.
Ruvanna Campbell led UIC with 23 points and 17 rebounds.
From the looks of things it is up to Bridget Perry and April Wilson to carry this team. Perry didn't have a great game last night but she was excellent in the first quarter finding the soft spots in the zone and moving the ball. Shots just weren't quite falling for her last night. Wilson did great in the first and last quarters. This team is going to have get consistent production from Wilson, Keys, Perry, and Morrissette if they're going to win games. Ashley Morrissette scored 11 points but she shot 33% from the field and 29% behind the arc. Morrissette needs to be better at decision making. There are a lot of times she's careless with the ball or takes ill-advised shots. She's much better if she's not running the point which is when she struggled most last night. Keys also struggled shooting against UIC, but as we saw against JSU she can shoot the ball well (7-7).
Hopefully Purdue can remedy some of these issues when they take on North Florida Saturday.