7:00 PM ET, January 29, 2004
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Purdue coach Kristy Curry was furious with her Boilermakers, while Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone couldn't stop praising her Badgers.Was there an upset in West Lafayette on Thursday night? Hardly.Shereka Wright had 19 points and six rebounds to lead Purdue (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) to a 58-42 win over Wisconsin.But afterward, the long faces were all in the Purdue camp."I wasn't pleased," Curry said. "I told our kids that it's about living in the moment. Most of them were either looking back or looking ahead. They were not in Mackey Arena tonight."Erika Valek added 12 points to help the Boilermakers (17-2, 7-1 Big Ten) win their eighth game in a row, albeit in lackluster fashion.The Boilermakers shot 38 percent in the second half, and their lack of energy allowed the Badgers to hang around.Lello Gebisa led Wisconsin (8-10, 2-6) with 17 points and 10 rebounds.Gebisa's 3-pointer with 11 minutes to play brought the Badgers to 44-36, but Beth Jones made sure they didn't get any closer.Jones hit 3-point baskets on the next two possessions for a 50-36 lead."To come in here and play with the effort we gave, it proves we can raise up," Stone said. "We are improving. We're going to start making a difference."The Badgers kept the game close early thanks to superior size down low.At times, Wisconsin used a front court of Ebba Gebisa (6-foot-3), Lello Gebisa (6-7) and Emily Ashbaugh (6-5). They dwarfed the Purdue front, which does not have a player taller than 6-1."That kind of height is something you can't teach," Stone said. "We tried to establish the low post to open up the perimeter."The Gebisas starred at West Lafayette High School, just a few blocks away from the Purdue campus.The Boilermakers overcame the size disparity with their quickness, out-hustling the Badgers to loose balls and creating turnovers. Purdue scored 23 points off of 20 Wisconsin turnovers."They have long arms," Wisconsin guard Stephanie Rich said. "They trapped and caught us off guard."The Boilermakers opened the game with an 8-0 run and the second half with a 7-0 spurt, using a full-court pressure defense that gave Wisconsin fits."It was very important to come out in the second half and play with more energy," Valek said. "That got us a little momentum, but towards the end we relaxed. That's something we need to focus on -- consistency with our energy and intensity."Wright had a scary moment in the second half. After grabbing a rebound and scoring on a layup, she became entangled with a Wisconsin defender and fell hard to the floor.The team's leading scorer hit her back and head on the floor and she stayed there for several minutes before hobbling to the bench. She returned four minutes later.She said her head felt fine, but her back, which has been a nagging injury throughout her career, is going to need treatment.The Boilermakers took an 8-0 lead and were ahead by as many as 13 points in the first half.But the Badgers wouldn't go away. Rich hit two 3-pointers, the last one pulling Wisconsin to 25-23 with a minute to play in the half."I am extremely proud of our team's effort," Stone said. "We came to battle against one of the country's finest."That the Boilermakers didn't bring the same kind of intensity is something Curry said she will address in practice on Friday, which was initially scheduled as an off day."We had some kids thinking about what they were going to be doing tomorrow," Curry said. "They're in Mackey Arena tomorrow."
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