8:05 PM ET, February 2, 2006
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Iowa coach Lisa Bluder thought freshman Wendy Ausdemore had a chance to be a star someday.Ausdemore's breakout performance came Thursday night.She scored a career-high 23 points -- including 14 of Iowa's final 18 points in regulation -- to lead the Hawkeyes past No. 8 Purdue 77-71, snapping the Boilermakers' 13-game winning streak.Ausdemore hadn't scored more than 14 points in a game all season, but came alive down the stretch. She buried an 18-footer with 17 seconds left to force overtime, then gave Iowa the lead for good with a jumper early in OT."This is just what Wendy needed because we've seen glimpses of this," Bluder said. "Maybe this is just what the doctor ordered to put her over the edge."Purdue (17-3, 9-1 Big Ten) lost for the first time since Dec. 3 against DePaul and suffered its first defeat in the Big Ten.The Boilermakers had two overtime victories during their winning streak, but offensive breakdowns at the end of regulation and in overtime doomed any chance they had to keep the streak alive."Any time you lose it hurts. I don't know if it stings any worse," Boilermakers coach Kristy Curry. "We've been in this same situation and been fortunate to win. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise."Aya Traore led the Boilermakers (17-3, 9-1) with 19 points, and Erin Lawless added 16.Iowa trailed by 11 points midway through the second half, but slowly chipped away at Purdue's lead to send the game into overtime.Crystal Smith, Iowa's leading scorer, hit her first basket of the night with 2:08 left in regulation. Ausdemore followed a pair of free throws with the game-tying shot, knotting the game at 65."We didn't give up at all. We knew the whole game that we were going to pull this one off," Ausdemore said.Purdue had one last chance to win in regulation, but Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton dribbled the ball off her knee with 0.8 seconds left.Megan Skouby scored 19 points and Kristi Smith added 15 for the Hawkeyes.Ausdemore and Smith opened overtime with baskets to put Iowa ahead 69-65, and Purdue was never able to recover. The Boilermakers pulled back within 75-71 in the final minute before a pair of Smith free throws put the game out of reach.Purdue scored just six points in the final 9:25, a drought Curry blamed on her team's approach during crunch time."I wasn't pleased at all with Sharika Webb's presence, or Katie (Gearlds) presence or Aya Traore's presence," Curry said. "You want to be quick, but don't hurry."Purdue jumped ahead 17-5 in the game's first five minutes. The Hawkeyes got within 17-11 before Cherelle George scored seven points in less than 20 seconds to push Purdue's lead to 24-11 lead with 11:27 left in the first half.Iowa trailed by 13 in the first half, but used a 9-2 run late in the half -- keyed by seven points from Skouby -- to cut the Boilermakers lead to 38-32 at the break."We knew this was it. This was the No. 8 team in the nation. This was our chance right here, and we had to step it up," Crystal Smith said.