In the last week of the regular season the Purdue Women's Basketball Team (10-19, 3-15) dropped three games. They fell to Illinois, Michigan, and Michigan State. On Saturday they honored the team's two seniors, forwards Liza Clemons and Whitney Bays.
Purdue managed to lose 47-46 to Illinois despite out-shooting them from the field, 39.5% to 26.5%, and the line, 68.8% to 54.5%. Illinois simply had a larger volume of shots and ended up with one more make than the Boilers. The Illini did well in other areas of the game. They forced 22 Purdue turnovers, 18 coming on steals. The turnovers were converted for 17 points, including the game winning basket. Illinois also dominated the offensive glass. Twenty-one of Illinois's 40 rebounds came on the offensive end. They only ended up with nine second chance points but that was more than what the Boilers got.
In the first half Purdue was able to take advantage of paltry Illini shooting, 15.8%, to lead 24-16 at the break. Whitney Bays hit two free throws to break a 2-2 tie and Purdue held the lead the rest of the way. The lead grew as the half went on. April Wilson hit a jumper to stretch it to 13 with 8:11 left. Minutes later Liza Clemons hit a jumper to regain the 13 point margin 22-9. Then things fell off for the Boilers and Illinois went on a 6-0 run. Whitney Bays ended the Illinois run hitting two free throws to cap off the first half scoring for the Boilers.
Within a minute of the second half starting Illinois had cut Purdue's lead to three. After the second time the Illini cut the lead to three Purdue went on a 13-5 run. Illinois started getting things going on offense and went on a 13-2 run to tie the game at 41. Purdue answered on the ensuing possession and held three point leads twice. With 3:48 Purdue scored their last points of the game to go up 46-43; they missed their next three shots and turned the ball over four times. April Wilson's turnover proved to be the most critical. Illinois went down the floor and hit a three, after extending the possession with an offensive board, to go up 47-46.
Liza Clemons led the Boilers with 11 points, 15 rebounds, and four blocks. Whitney Bays scored nine points and dished five assists. This was April Wilson's first game back from her concussion.
Purdue made the same mistakes against Michigan as they did against Illinois and got the same result; Purdue fell 81-50 to the Wolverines. Michigan was dominant in the most important categories. UM outrebounded Purdue 39-26 and 15-9 on offense. Those 15 offensive boards translated to 20 second chance points. Michigan committed less turnovers. 13 to Purdue's 20, and they turned Purdue's mistakes into more points, 23-9. Lastly Michigan shot the rock better, 53.1% to 43.4%.
Michigan came ready to play and they made the Boilers pay for it in the first half. UM hit two three's to start the game. Purdue kept the margin in single digits through the first 7:30 of the game then the Wolverines started to turn it on. Michigan scored six straight to go up 23-8. Purdue answered with six of their own but then went on a scoring drought. There were two 3+ minute stretches without a Boiler basket. Purdue was outscored 25-7 over the last nine minutes of the game. UM lead 48-21 at the break. The Wolverines were 6-12 from three-point range in the half and scored 17 points off turnovers and 16 points on second chance opportunities.
The Boilers found their shooting touch in the second half but Michigan shot the ball just as well matching their 50% effort. Five minutes into the half Michigan earned themselves their largest lead of the game going up 32 points, 58-26. Purdue was only ever able to cut the margin to 27 in the second half.
April Wilson led Purdue with 16 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, and two steals. Ashley Morrissette scored 12 points.
Purdue fell 61-56 in their home finale against Michigan State. Purdue couldn't do enough right against the Spartans to overcome their own mistakes. Purdue committed 21 turnovers, one more than MSU, but the Spartans turned their opponent's mistakes into more points, 26 for MSU compared to 15 for Purdue. Purdue was outrebounded again, 40-28 and 13-4 on the offensive end.
Michigan State jumped out to a 10-2 lead early. From then the teams traded baskets. Purdue was able to score on back to back possessions with 6:09 left and cut margin to four. MSU answered and teams continued trading baskets. With 2:17 left the Spartans hit a trey to go up 29-20. Purdue answered with a furious 8-0 run to end the half down 29-28.
Bridget Perry's scored right out of the half and Purdue had their first lead. MSU answered later on with a triple. Perry tied the game shortly thereafter and then the teams traded baskets again. Perry struck with a basket to give Purdue a one point lead with 13:13 left. Like before MSU immediately answered. This time they never relinquished their lead. The Spartans lead grew to as many as seven before Purdue tied it up again with 5:42 left. The score was tied again over a minute later at 52-52. Michigan State went up five but Purdue was able to cut the lead to one, 57-56, with 1:16 left. Unfortunately Purdue was never able to make a play to get them over the hump. Liza Clemons missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and April Wilson missed a layup. Then MSU hit two free throws to create a three point margin and hit layup with 11 seconds left to ice it.
Whitney Bays recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Bridget Perry scored 14 points to go with four steals. Liza Clemons contributed 11 points and three blocks.
Purdue never hit a single three in the game and Michigan State missed only one free throw, 14-15. Purdue did outshoot MSU from the floor 43.8% to 34.4%
Purdue finished the season last in the league. Maryland ran the table in their first year in the league and finished 1st, perfect 18-0. Iowa was 2nd at 14-4. Ohio State finished 3rd with a 13-5 record. Northwestern and Rutgers both finished with 12-6 records. Northwestern will receive the double-bye in the conference tournament because they won the only match-up between the two teams this season. Minnesota finished 6th, 11-7. Seventh place, 10-8, belongs to Nebraska. Michigan finished 8th, 8-10. Michigan State follows at 9th, 7-11. Illinois is next at 10th, 6-12. Wisconsin at 5-13 was 11th. Indiana finished 12th with only one more win than our Boilers, 4-14. Penn State finished with same record as Purdue, 3-15, but won their only match-up and so claims the 13th spot in the conference.
In the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament #14 Purdue will take on #11 Wisconsin Wednesday March 4th in the second game of the first round. Estimated 6:30 ET tip at the Sears Centre Arena just outside of Chicago. The game will be on BTN+. If Purdue were to win they would face #6 Minnesota.
Purdue only faced Wisconsin once this season. Purdue fell in Mackey 65-56. Three Badgers, Dakota Whyte, Nicole Bauman, and Tessa Cichy, scored in double figures in the game. Cassie Rochel had five blocks for the Badgers. Whitney Bays had a double-double to go with four steals and four blocks for Purdue. Ashley Morrissette had 13 points and nine assists. Bridget Perry did not play against the Badgers.