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Wisdom-Hylton has 5 blocked shots as Purdue cruises

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."