7:00 PM ET, December 29, 2005
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Aya Traore and Purdue didn't get caught looking ahead to a showdown with Ohio State.The 18th-ranked Boilermakers were clearly focused on Wisconsin in a 77-57 win over the Badgers Thursday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.Purdue (9-2, 1-0) will host No. 7 Ohio State on Sunday, but the Boilermakers showed that the Badgers were their priority by taking a quick 18-2 lead.Wisconsin made four 3-pointers early in the second half to get within 37-34, but Purdue made its next five field goals to take a 48-38 lead and force a timeout by Wisconsin with 11:19 left. The Boilermakers never led by fewer than nine points the rest of the way."It's good to see when Wisconsin made a run and came at us that we were able to show a bit of character and perseverance and sustain it," Purdue coach Kristy Curry said. "That's what the Big Ten is about."Traore fought through the stomach flu to score 14 of her game-high 18 points in the second half. She led six Boilermakers in double figures."If we have that kind of balance, we'll be pretty good," Curry said. "We've got to have four show up and we got six tonight. ... It's nice when you can have that kind of balance and selflessness."Ashley Josephson led the Badgers (5-7, 0-1) with 13 points. Wisconsin guards Jolene Anderson and Janese Banks entered the game averaging a combined 32 points, but Purdue held them to 21 points on 8-for-26 shooting.Purdue shot 64 percent from the field in the second half to pull away. Katie Gearlds, who had 13 points and five assists, said Purdue never changed its game plan."We started executing offensively and got stops defensively," Gearlds said. "Basketball is a game of runs. We had to sustain ours a little longer, and we did."Purdue took an 18-2 lead before the Badgers went on an 11-0 run. Gearlds didn't like that the Boilermakers let Wisconsin back into the game."I thought we got some good looks, but offensively, we didn't knock down shots," she said. "We got a little careless with the ball. ... I think that was our opportunity to knock them out and we didn't do it."Purdue didn't commit a foul in the second half until 4:48 remained. The Boilermakers outscored the Badgers 20-4 from the free-throw line."We didn't get out to the shooters," Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone said. "We were switching things around and we did some things to disrupt them, but they're just a good basketball team."