WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Aya Traore had 20 points and a
career-high 11 rebounds and Erin Lawless scored a season-best 19
points to help Purdue beat Missouri State 73-52 in the first round
of the NCAA Women's Tournament on Sunday.
Missouri State guard Kari Koch entered the game averaging 20.5
points, but was held to 11 on 5-for-17 shooting. She made a layup
in the last two minutes to avoid her second single-digit scoring
game of the season. Sarah Klaassen added 10 points for the Lady
Fourth-seeded Purdue (25-6) trailed by 10 points in the first
half, but the Boilermakers led by as many as 23 in the second.
Purdue advanced to play UCLA in the second round of the Cleveland
Regional on Tuesday.
Missouri State (17-15) had a losing record before winning four
straight in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament on their home
court, but the 13th-seeded Lady Bears couldn't overcome Purdue's
athleticism and depth. Purdue outrebounded the Lady Bears 25-11 in
the second half.
The Boilermakers held Missouri State to 32 percent shooting,
including 28 percent shooting in the second half.
Missouri State freshman Kayli Combs opened the game with two
3-pointers to give the Lady Bears a quick 6-0 lead.
Missouri State extended that lead to 22-12 before the
Boilermakers went on a 14-2 run that forced the Lady Bears to call
timeout. Purdue took its first lead on a 3-pointer by Jodi Howell
with 5:03 left in the first half and never trailed again.
Katie Gearlds, Purdue's leading scorer, didn't score until she
drained a mid-range jumper with 6:40 left in the first half. She
finished with 13 points and four rebounds.
Purdue led 32-27 at halftime. The Boilermakers allowed just
three field goals the last 10:22 of the first half and held Koch to
3-for-10 shooting before the break.
Missouri State cut Purdue's lead to 32-31 in the opening minutes
of the second half, but Purdue responded with a 7-0 run that
included five points from Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton.
Purdue won the only previous meeting between the schools, 81-64
in the 2001 national semifinals when Missouri State was still
called Southwest Missouri State.