WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Purdue would just as soon forget
about this win.
Aya Traore scored 18 points and the eighth-ranked Boilermakers
pulled away in the second half to beat Northwestern 71-63 on Sunday
for their 13th straight win. Twenty-one turnovers, however, left
little reason for celebration.
"For whatever reason, we weren't very good today," Purdue
coach Kristy Curry said. "Obviously, I'm very upset."
Traore added six assists but committed five turnovers for the
Boilermakers (17-2, 9-0 Big Ten); Katie Gearlds had 17 points, six
assists, seven rebounds and four steals, but she finished with four
turnovers. The five starters combined for 16 of the 21 miscues.
"We're very fortunate to get the win. Let's leave it at that,"
said Gearlds, who had only two points at halftime. "We let it
frustrate us. We're human; we're going to make mistakes, and they
played their guts out."
It was Purdue's 15th straight win over the Wildcats.
The Boilermakers had 15 of their turnovers in the first half
when Northwestern (5-15, 1-8) cut an 11-point deficit to two by
repeatedly scoring off the Purdue mistakes.
"We talked about being very aggressive," Northwestern coach
Beth Combs said. "We ran a 3-2 zone and were able to make a lot of
"Our inside players did a good job of switching and getting in
front of them."
The Wildcats tied the game for the first time on a basket by
A.J. Glasauer at the start of the second half, and there was one
more tie before a 3-pointer by Gearlds, two free throws by Traore
and a rebound basket by Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton put the Boilermakers
in front for good.
"We knew we had to come out in the second half and turn it
around or lose the game," said Wisdom-Hylton, who had 16 points
and three turnovers.
Purdue took a 56-47 lead on another 3-pointer by Gearlds and its
biggest lead at 65-49 on her third 3-point basket minutes later.
Northwestern cut the lead to 10 with just over a minute to go and
Glasauer scored the final basket with 3 seconds left.
"To play them to an eight-point game at Mackey Arena is great
for our program and the direction we want to go," Combs said. "To
be able to come in and finish the way we did and to be able to get
the last shot of the game is huge for us as a program."
Glasauer matched her career high with 26 points, while Ifeoma
Okonkwo added 17 for the Wildcats. Wisdom-Hylton finished with 16
points for Purdue.
The Boilermakers never trailed but couldn't take control because
of their repeated turnovers.
A pair of 3-pointers by Cherelle George and a basket by Traore
gave Purdue a 25-14 lead, its biggest of the first half, but the
Boilermakers had five turnovers on their final six possessions of
the period. Northwestern took advantage of the errors, cutting the
lead to 27-23 on a 3-pointer by Sara Stutz.
After another Purdue turnover, Northwestern made it 27-25 at
halftime with a basket by Melissa Miller.
Northwestern's 63 points were the most the Boilermakers have
given up in the Big Ten this season.
"We will be better. I can promise you that," Curry said.