INDIANAPOLIS -- Katie Gearlds scored 14 of her 17 points in the second half and Purdue (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today; No. 15 AP) rallied to beat Michigan State (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today; No. 22 AP) 64-61 Sunday in the Big Ten tournament semifinals.
Gearlds was treated for a stiff neck before the game, but shook it off to shoot 7-for-15 from the field.Erin Lawless had 18 points and seven rebounds and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton added 12 points and 14 rebounds for Purdue (27-5). The Boilermakers will go for their sixth tournament title in the final Monday against Ohio State, which beat Penn State 73-71 in overtime Sunday night.Victoria Lucas-Perry led Michigan State (23-8) with 20 points and Allyssa DeHaan added 16 points, five rebounds and three blocks.The Boilermakers shot 48 percent in the second half, when they held the Spartans to 32 percent shooting.Purdue led 64-61 in the final minute and had the ball, but Lawless missed a 15-foot jumper with about 15 seconds left and Michigan State rebounded. The Spartans drove straight down the court and went for the tie. Rene Haynes missed a 3-pointer with about 6 seconds left, and Gearlds came up with the ball with 1.5 seconds left after a scramble. Purdue lobbed the ball to Gearlds on the inbounds pass and ran out the clock.The Spartans took a 45-34 lead on a 3-pointer by Lucas-Perry with 16:06 left, but Gearlds got hot after a shaky first half. She scored seven points in a 15-5 run that cut the lead to 50-49 with 9:44 left. Gearlds hit a 3-pointer with 8:52 left to finally give Purdue a 52-50 lead.Purdue went on an 8-0 run to go up 62-54 with 4:51 to go, but Michigan State closed to 62-61 on a midrange jumper by DeHaan with 1:36 to go.Michigan State scored 15 points off 11 Purdue turnovers to take a 34-26 halftime lead. Gearlds only attempted four shots and was held to three points before the break.