7:00 PM ET, January 19, 2006
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Katie Gearlds has to wait a little longer to reach a scoring milestone.The junior guard tied a season high with 28 points to lead the 11th-ranked Boilermakers to a 70-56 win over the Nittany Lions on Thursday night.She finished just two points short of 1,000 for her career. With about 3 minutes left against Penn State, she fired a 3-pointer from one of her favorite spots, the left corner, and ... clang. She left the game for good 6 seconds later.Gearlds, a bit of a perfectionist, focused on the missed 3-pointer and the free throw she missed with 8:40 remaining."Why couldn't I hit that three?" Gearlds wondered. "And the free throw?""She made all the rest of them," teammate Erin Lawless quickly pointed out.Gearlds made 12-of-15 field goals and 2-of-3 free throws. Lawless and Aya Traore added 11 points each for the Boilermakers (14-2, 6-0 Big Ten).Kamela Gissendanner had 22 points and Amanda Brown added 14 for Penn State (7-10, 1-5), which has lost five of its last six.Purdue made its first five shots to take an 11-5 lead, forcing the Nittany Lions to take a timeout less than 3 minutes into the game. By that time, Gearlds already had scored seven points."When I came out and made my first shot, I said 'uh-oh," she said.Gearlds made a driving layup in the closing seconds of the first half to give Purdue a 38-21 lead at the break. She scored 16 points and Lawless added nine for Purdue in the opening period.Penn State started the second half on a 6-2 run that cut Purdue's lead to 40-27. After a timeout, Purdue responded with a 6-0 run. The Boilermakers' largest lead was 21 points in the second half.Purdue led 67-47 before Gearlds' final shot, and she knew she was closing in on 1,000 points. She said she thought it was a good shot."It felt good leaving my hand, but what the heck, it feels nice to get a win," she said.Gearlds next shot at 1,000 will be Sunday at Illinois.Penn State coach Rene Portland said Gearlds was on, but Penn State's defense took the night off."We didn't make her put the ball on the floor," Portland said. "We just looked at her and said our one little hand is going to stop a very good player, and our one little hand did not stop a very good player."Purdue forced Penn State into 28 turnovers. The Boilermakers entered the game ranked 16th out of 324 teams nationally in scoring defense."Kudos to their defense," Portland said. "We couldn't get into our offensive sets if we had tried. Turnovers were not only self-induced."The Boilermakers, the only unbeaten team in conference play, are starting to talk about winning the Big Ten title. Curry pointed at past conference championship banners while talking to her team late in the game."It's important for them to know that they have a chance, and that they control their own destiny," she said.