7:00 PM ET, December 2, 2006
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton made teammate Katie Gearlds' shooting slump a lot easier to bear.Wisdom-Hylton scored 21 points, one off her career high, and added nine rebounds and five blocked shots to lead No. 9 Purdue to a 69-44 victory over Gonzaga on Saturday night, when Gearlds' shooting woes continued."Teams are starting to 'D' up on her. They know she's one of our best shooters," Wisdom-Hylton said of the Boilermakers' star. "But now they're stepping up and getting in her face."Purdue was coming off its only loss of the season, a 66-55 defeat at No. 7 Connecticut in which Gearlds hit just 2 of 18 shots and missed all nine of her 3-point attempts to finish with a season-low 4 points."We were all kind of tired and sluggish, but came out and practiced hard and stepped up to the challenge," Wisdom-Hylton said of Purdue's response to the loss Thursday. "We had to keep the mind-set that we had to win (against Gonzaga) and to look past that (Connecticut) game."Gearlds, who came in averaging almost 18 points a game, missed her first three shots and finished with eight points on 3-of-12 shooting."It becomes a mental game," coach Sharon Versyp said. "We probably need to get back to shooting more in practice, but she's fine; great players bounce back, and if there's a slump in the season, better now than later."The Boilermakers (7-1) broke the game open with an early 25-3 run, which ended when Gearlds scored her first basket for a 31-12 lead with over 4 minutes before halftime. The Bulldogs (6-4) got two 3-pointers by Michelle Elliott and cut the lead to 36-20 at the break, but Purdue controlled the boards and continued pulling away, leading by as many as 30 points in the closing minutes.Erin Lawless added 12 points and FahKara Malone had 11 for Purdue."Other girls have really been able to step up and make the plays we need, and that's why we're a team," Versyp said.Stephanie Hawk led Gonzaga with 13 points. The Bulldogs lost their third straight game and fourth in the past six."I'm a little disappointed how we executed. I think we were a little intimidated," Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said."We don't usually shoot 27 3-pointers," he said. "When we do that, it means we're out of synch and settling (for shots), which is not our game."The Bulldogs led twice early in the game, but a 3-pointer by Hawk that broke a 6-6 tie was their last basket for more than 6 minutes.A basket by Lawless started a 14-0 streak for Purdue. After Jami Bjorklund scored for Gonzaga, Lawless hit another basket to start an 11-1 run that ended with Gearlds' first basket.The senior guard hit a 3-pointer later in the first half -- two other baskets were disallowed because of fouls away from the ball -- then missed her first four shots in the second period."They've just got good players. They pressure you for 40 minutes," Graves said. "They change up their defenses, and on offense they're tough to guard. And when you've got a go-to kid like Gearlds ... I actually think we did a pretty good job on her."Gonzaga pulled within 57-39 with 7 minutes to go. Gearlds and Jodi Howell then hit consecutive 3-pointers, Lawless scored, Malone hit two free throws and Wisdom-Hylton added a basket that gave Purdue its biggest lead at 69-39.The 6-foot-2 Wisdom-Hylton hit 8 of 13 shots for the game."She's unguardable, so to speak," Graves said. "She doesn't have many weaknesses."
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