WACO, Texas (AP) -- Katie Gearlds needed just a short breather to
thwart the Baylor threat.
With Purdue leading 54-50 with just under seven minutes left to
play, Gearlds, who led her team with 23 points, sank two technical
shots then nailed a 3-pointer to lead the Boilermakers (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) to a
69-55 win over the 16th-ranked Lady Bears in the championship of
the Preseason WNIT on Sunday.
Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton added 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds
for the Boilermakers, while FahKara Malone scored 16.
"With the confusion, it allowed us to take a deep breath,"
Gearlds said. "The crowd got a little upset at the refs, and it
took them out of the game a little bit. To step up and knock two
free throws down was a huge momentum swing for us."
After trailing 40-26 at the half, the Lady Bears (3-1) cut the
Boilermakers (5-0) lead to 54-50 on Danielle Wilson's layup with
But on Baylor's next possession, Jessica Morrow missed a
breakaway shot and Purdue's Erin Lawless grabbed the rebound.
Morrow was called for a technical foul while fighting Lawless for
the ball. Gearlds sank both of the technical shots with 6:50
remaining and her 3-pointer pushed Purdue's lead to 59-50.
"I think the game shifted with technical," Baylor coach Kim
Mulkey said. "We hit a lull there, and the whole momentum swung.
You don't need to do that at that particular juncture of the
Baylor's Bernice Mosby, who led all scorers with 26 points, cut
the margin to 59-54 with back-to-back jumpers. But the Boilermakers
reeled off five straight points, four of them from Gearlds, to put
the game out of reach.
Mosby was the only Baylor player in double figures.
"We knew they were right behind us, and we knew they weren't
going to give up," Wisdom-Hylton said. "Coach told us before the
game we needed to stick together, and it would be the fans against
us. We matured a lot in this game and stayed composed to come out
with a W."
Leading 17-15 midway through the first half, the Boilermakers
put together an 11-2 run and moved in front 28-17 with 8:30
remaining. Gearlds capped the run with a 3-pointer.
Purdue never relented and led 40-26 at the half. Wisdom-Hylton
paced the first-half offense with 16 points, while Geralds added