Purdue puts away Mississippi State in second half

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Erin Lawless had 17 points and eight rebounds to lead No. 13 Purdue to a 75-49 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday night.

Jodi Howell had a career-high 17 points and Katie Gearlds finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds to help the Boilermakers (9-2) win their second straight game after a Dec. 6 loss at Notre Dame.

Alexis Rack had 15 points and Marneshia Richard added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Lady Bulldogs (4-5), who shot 27 percent from the field en route to their fourth consecutive defeat.

Mississippi State, which dropped to 0-2 against Purdue, kept the game close for most of the first half before the Boilermakers took control.

Following Rack's 3-pointer to give Mississippi State a 15-12 lead, Lawless sparked a 14-2 run for Purdue, scoring seven points during the spurt to put the Boilermakers ahead 26-17 with 6 minutes left.

The Lady Bulldogs began the second half with baskets by Robin Porter and Richard to get to 33-27, but Purdue responded with nine straight points to push its lead to 15.

Mississippi State cut the deficit to 45-39 after five consecutive points from Rack with 12 minutes left. The Boilermakers answered with a 19-0 run, led by Gearlds' nine points, to put the game away.