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Wright, Jones lead Boilermakers

12/30/2003

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) -- When little else worked for Purdue (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP) on Tuesday night, Boilermakers coach Kristy Curry got desperate. So she dropped to the locker room floor at halftime and begged.

It worked.

Beth Jones scored 17 of her season-high 22 points in the second
half and Purdue rallied from 13 points down to defeat Western
Michigan 85-73 and win its eighth consecutive game.

"I got on my knees. I didn't like the way we were doing
things," Curry said. "I just begged them."

Trailing by 10 points at halftime for the first time this
season, Purdue (9-1) responded by opening up the second half with a
19-4 run, erasing the deficit in less than five minutes.

Jones, scoring 22 points for the second time in her career, hit
all three shots she took in that streak.

"She told me she was feeling it," Curry said. "I said, 'We've
got to get her the ball.'"

They did.

"I felt ready to play," said Jones, a senior guard who had hit
two of three shots in the first half. "We had been off for six,
seven days. I was ready to come back and go."

As Purdue stormed back, consecutive 3-point baskets by
Jones midway through the second half gave the Boilermakers the lead
for good. Shereka Wright led Purdue with 24 points, one of four
Boilermakers to reach double figures. Emily Heikes had a
double-double, with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

But for 20 minutes, Western Michigan (5-5), the Mid-American
Conference's defending champion, gave Purdue all it could handle.

Casey Rost scored 14 of her 18 points in the first half,
including a 3-pointer with 5:45 left in the first half that put
Western up 30-17.

It marked the third time in four games that Purdue had trailed
at halftime, which was of deep concern to Curry with the
Boilermakers' Big Ten schedule beginning Friday vs. Penn State. And
how many times can you beg?

"We've got 16 more of them," Curry said. "How are they going
to handle those? Shereka and Beth Jones are matching it. We've got
to have five people on the floor ready to go."