MINNEAPOLIS -- Purdue came back from a break of nearly two weeks and moved on without a problem.
Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton had 16 points to lead the second-seeded Boilermakers past 15th-seeded Oral Roberts 63-42 on Saturday in the first round of the Dallas Regional in the NCAA Tournament.Katie Gearlds added 11 points and FahKara Malone had 10 for the Boilermakers (29-5), who advanced to the second round for the 11th consecutive year. They'll play Monday against seventh-seeded Georgia Tech, which beat DePaul 55-54."They wanted to slow the tempo of the game down, and we wanted to push it," Gearlds said. "It was huge for us to get a nice lead so they couldn't do that the whole time."Purdue established command immediately, holding Golden Eagles leading scorer Elisha Turek -- the Mid-Continent player of the year -- to four points on 2-for-5 shooting in the first 20 minutes. After halftime, the Boilermakers built their biggest lead, 58-32, on a driving layup by Jodi Howell with 12:42 left.Turek finished with 16 points for Oral Roberts (22-11) and ended her career with 2,054 points. Teammate Jenny Hardin added 10 points."They're a really quick team," Turek said.The Golden Eagles, whether they're ahead or behind, frequently play a slower game by weaving three guards at the top of the key. Purdue refused to comply with the stall-ball pace."Our margin was very, very small tonight. I really believe it would have had to have been with slowing the ball down, getting an early lead, causing them to play pure man-to-man because their matchup zone is really good," Oral Roberts coach Jerry Finkbeiner said.The Golden Eagles, whose first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1999 was also quickly ended by Purdue, haven't won in any of their four trips to the field of 64. The Mid-Continent Conference tournament champions just didn't have the talent, speed or power to keep pace with the Boilermakers and their smothering defense.Purdue, which led the Big Ten in fewest points allowed with an average of 53.5 per game, held Oral Roberts to 6-for-17 shooting in the first half and sailed to a 21-4 lead with 9:05 left before halftime when Erin Lawless put a jumper through the net.The Boilermakers, who won nine of their last 10 and beat regular-season champion Ohio State on March 5 for the conference tournament title, are peaking at the right time in coach Sharon Versyp's first year. Their last victory over Oral Roberts, as a No. 1 seed in that aforementioned 1999 first-round game, launched a tournament run that culminated with Purdue's only national championship.The Boilermakers' only loss since January was at home to Michigan State, 54-52 after blowing a 17-point lead. Gearlds and Lawless, Purdue's only seniors, ordered a meeting the next day for just the players -- and the Boilermakers have been unbeatable since that moment.The Golden Eagles would have been a most improbable opponent to break the streak. Teams seeded No. 14 or 15 have never won an NCAA Tournament game since the field expanded in 1994. No. 16 seed Harvard beat No. 1 Stanford in the first round in 1998.Purdue was pleased by a well-rounded performance, including six points and six assists off the bench in 19 minutes from sophomore Lakisha Freeman -- who played well in the Big Ten tournament, too."She has so much confidence right now, and we need her to continue to do that," Versyp said.