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Gearlds leads No. 11 Purdue to 10th straight victory

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.