WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- After a lackluster first half,
Purdue coach Kristy Curry found a way to get her team's attention.
"Obviously, I needed to kick and scream and yell tonight,"
Curry said. "If that's what it takes, that's how I'll be. I want
to be all I can be for them."
The 10th-ranked Boilermakers broke away from a halftime tie to
overwhelm Michigan 75-50 on Thursday night. Katie Gearlds scored 19
points, Erin Lawless scored 16 points, Aya Traore had 11 and
Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton added 10 for the Boilermakers (21-3, 12-1 Big
Janelle Cooper had 17 points to lead Michigan (6-19, 0-13 Big
Ten), which has lost 12 straight games. Stephany Skrba added 11
points and nine rebounds.
Tied at 27, Purdue opened the second half with a 15-4 run to
take a 42-31 lead, and Michigan never recovered. The Boilermakers
shot 55 percent in the second half and held Michigan to eight field
goals after the break to win their fourth straight game.
The Wolverines led 27-25 before Gearlds made two free throws
with 2.6 seconds left in the first half to tie the score at the
Purdue looked sloppy in the first half coming off Sunday's 63-31
win over No. 11 Minnesota. The Boilermakers shot 39 percent and had
10 turnovers in the first 20 minutes. That was enough to get under
"She was kind of upset by the end of the half," Gearlds said.
"I think it was just kind of overall how we've been playing. But
we knew we could turn it around."
Curry said it's too late in the season to be getting off to poor
starts, especially with the conference title on the line. The win
kept the Boilermakers tied with Ohio State for the league lead.
"We've got a lot more to lose than they (Michigan) have to
gain," said Curry. "We're fighting for a Big Ten title. We don't
want them to take that away from us."
Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett said for a half, the Wolverines
played with confidence and efficiency.
"I'm really proud of our kids," she said. "In the first half,
I thought our players came out with the game plan in mind."
Burnett called three timeouts in the first eight minutes of the
second half, but when she called the third one, Purdue led 51-34.
"We kept trying to stop their momentum," she said. "Purdue
has some players that, in the time of need, are going to step up
and want the basketball."
The Wolverines have lost starters Katie Dierdorf and Kelly
Helvey for the season with injuries. Volleyball players Megan
Bowman and Mara Martin played in the waning minutes against Purdue,
and just seven players shared the rest of the minutes.
The Boilermakers, who thrive on depth, used 12 players against
the Wolverines. Burnett wouldn't say if the difference in number of
available players affected the outcome.
"I'd like to answer that question honestly, but we have
seven," Burnett said. "It's not like it's going to change."
Curry said she knew Michigan was capable of playing well. Purdue
struggled to beat the Wolverines 51-43 in Ann Arbor.
"It's not about who we're playing, it's about who we are and
who we need to be and how we're playing," she said.