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Purdue Women's Basketball Is Alone at the Top

Purdue weathered a flurry of points from Rachel Banham to get the win over Minnesota. The Boilers now find themselves alone atop the conference after Ohio State's loss to Northwestern.

Purdue (14-2, 5-0) held Rachel Banham in check for a half and were able to buckle down once she got loose to win 84-72.

The teams were even in the early going tying at seven. Then Purdue got after it on defense and went on a 13-0 run to distance themselves from the Gophers. The Boilers forced six turnovers and Minnesota missed five shots. Later Purdue had a little bit of a cold spell going 0-for-6 including three missed layups and Minnesota took advantage. Over the last two minutes of the quarter the Gophers scored nine points drawing within six at one point. Dominique McBryde hit two free throws and an April Wilson jumper kept them from getting any closer. At the end of the quarter Purdue was up 24-16.

Purdue maintained the defensive intensity in the second quarter, but couldn't keep up the offensive production; Purdue shot 23% and Minnesota 18%. Both teams endured extended scoring droughts. Purdue held Minnesota scoreless for four and half minutes in the middle of the period. Purdue went on a little 8-0 run to go up 32-18. In the last two minutes Purdue turned the ball over three times as Minnesota tried to cut the margin to single digits. The Boilers held the ball for the last possession and Minnesota nearly came up with the ball, but Dominique McBryde grabbed it and sank a jumper in the lane with 0.2 left to play to put Purdue up 36-24. McBryde had 14 points and seven rebounds in the first half.

Through the first part of the third quarter it looked like Purdue would just keep building their lead as they continued to outwork Minnesota. Andreonna Keys and Bree Horrocks scored four each to give Purdue an 18 point lead, 44-26. Rachel Banham had other ideas though. Over the last five minutes of the period Banham poured in 14 points to help her team cut the margin to four at the end of the quarter, 53-49. Purdue got lazy on defense leaving her open, and letting her blow past them. Also Banham got some shots to fall that didn't fall for her in the first half. After only recording five points in the first half Banham now had 21 and the Gophers were back in the game.

Minnesota threatened early, but Purdue answered the bell and later sealed the win at the free throw line. The Gophers scored on their first possession of the 4th quarter to draw within two. On the other end Purdue had a fruitful extened possession, three offensive rebounds, to go back up four. Minnesota answered with a triple to make the score 55-54. Bridget Perry hit a jumper to give Purdue a three point advantage. On Minnesota's next possession Banham missed a three that would've tied the game. Banham's miss was the start a run of seven consecutive misses from the Gophers. Purdue meanwhile pushed their lead to 10.  With 3:14 left Minnesota cut the lead to six, but McBryde answered for Purdue on the ensuing possession and the Gophers never got it back to a two possession game. Over the last two minutes Purdue went 13-for-14 from the charity stripe as Minnesota furiously tried the get back in the game. April Wilson was a perfect 6-for-6 in the 4th and scored 13 of her 17 points in the period.

Dominique McBryde led the Boilers with 22 points, eight rebounds, and two steals. April Wilson finished with 17 points, eight assists, and four rebounds. Ashley Morrissette poured in 14 points. Andreonna Keys added 12 points and two steals. Bridget Perry ended the night with nine points, eight rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. Bree Horrocks was great on the glass pulling down 11 rebounds, six offensive, to go with six points. Purdue shot 39% from the field, 22% from the behind the arc and 78% from the line.

Purdue won the rebound and turnover battles 44-43 and 13-17.

Rachel Banham scored 27 points and had five rebounds and five assists. Carlie Wagner added 21 points and five rebounds. Karley Barnes led the Gophers with 11 rebounds. Minnesota shot 39% from the field, 22% from behind the arc, and 77% from the line.

Dominique McBryde played a great game; McBryde was 7-for-8 from the field and 8-for-11 from the line. The one time she did miss she got her own rebound and put it back up and in. McBryde has a quiet confidence about her and her teammates obviously have confidence in her. Late in the game Purdue was specifically trying to the ball to her inside. The first time she got the ball did a simple move and put it in. The second time she got fouled and made both free throws. She has really improved through the course of the season and could be a key part of the offense moving forward.

Next Purdue takes their nine-game win streak and unblemished conference record on the road to Columbus to take on the #5 Buckeyes.