WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Katie Gearlds scored 24 points and tied a career-high with 12 rebounds to help No. 13 Purdue beat Illinois 69-57 Thursday night.
Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton had 19 points and three blocks, and FahKara Malone added 14 points and eight steals for the Boilermakers (21-4, 10-1 Big Ten).
Lacey Simpson scored 12 points and Lori Bjork and Chelsea Gordon had 11 apiece for Illinois (16-7, 6-5), which was looking for a quality win to bolster its NCAA Tournament hopes. The Fighting Illini haven't beaten a ranked team this season.
Gearlds scored just two points in the first 15 minutes, but was hot for the rest of the game. She made nine of 18 shots, including three 3-pointers.
The Boilermakers forced 21 turnovers and had 13 steals.
Illinois took a 41-40 lead on a 3-pointer by Gordon with 8:46 left, but Purdue responded with a 7-0 run that included a 3-pointer by Gearlds.
Illinois cut Purdue's lead to three points twice after that, but got no closer. Purdue's Erin Lawless hit a contested 3-pointer as the shot clock went off to give the Boilermakers a 61-52 lead with 1:47 left.
Illinois took a 19-18 lead on a 3-pointer by Bjork with 3:14 left in the first half, but Gearlds scored five points in a 7-0 Purdue run to help the Boilermakers take a 25-19 lead at the break. The teams shot a combined 18-for-56 from the field in the first 20 minutes.