WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Back on the court for the first time in 11 days, Purdue nearly pulled off a heartwarming win.
The depleted Boilermakers, emotionally drained from forward Drey Mingo's bout with bacterial meningitis, led Maryland (No. 22 AP) by double digits late before the Terrapins rallied to win 56-55 on Thursday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
"I was very proud of our young athletes after what they've endured," Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said. "We didn't finish strong enough."
It was Purdue's first game since Nov. 21. The Boilermakers were scheduled to participate in the Caribbean Challenge at Playa del Carmen, Mexico, but the trip was canceled when Mingo became ill. She has been released from the hospital but missed Thursday's game against the school she transferred from last year and is out indefinitely.
The Terrapins were happy with the road win, but their postgame thoughts were also with their former teammate.
"I think in perspective, though, everyone in our locker room would give this game up if there was something we could do to help Drey Mingo and help her through the battle that she has ahead of her," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said.
Lynetta Kizer scored 20 points and Alyssa Thomas and Diandra Tchatchouang each had 12 for the Terrapins (6-1), who trailed by 11 with 5:24 remaining. Maryland outrebounded Purdue 40-27 and scored 20 points off offensive rebounds.
"We stuck together the whole stretch and I think we picked each other up," Thomas said. "I think we did a good job towards the end of making our shots and rebounding."
Courtney Moses led Purdue (4-1) with 12 points and five assists, but she also had seven turnovers and missed what could have been a game-winning shot in the closing seconds. Alex Guyton scored 11 points, and Antionette Howard and Brittany Rayburn added 10 apiece.
Rayburn, who had averaged 18 points per game, shot 2-for-11 from the field.
Maryland led 56-55 before turning the ball over to the Boilermakers with 8.9 seconds to play. Moses, a 5-foot-7 freshman, drove in close to the basket but missed. Sam Ostarello rebounded but missed on a putback attempt as time expired.
"They were just going to clog up the middle," Versyp said. "We had a great shot and a great rebound and a great putback."
The Boilermakers were trying to build on winning the preseason WNIT tournament, but Mingo's absence hurt. She was averaging 17.3 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds.
Purdue had also been regrouping from losing starting point guard K.K. Houser for the season after she tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during the season opener against Austin Peay.
Purdue led 21-15 after two free throws by Rayburn, but Maryland rallied with a 6-0 run. Moses made a 3-pointer with 1:10 left in the first half to give the Boilermakers a 25-23 lead. Maryland tied the game with a pair of free throws in the final minute, and then Guyton banked in a shot on an assist from Moses as time expired in the first half to give Purdue a 27-25 lead at the break.
Maryland led 37-34 before Purdue went on a 10-0 run. A three-point play and a 3-pointer by Moses helped Purdue take a 44-37 lead with eight minutes remaining. A layup by Rayburn, on another assist from Moses, pushed the advantage to 51-42 and brought the crowd to its feet.
"I think we just executed there towards the middle of the second half," Rayburn said. "We just started running things through plays and getting good looks at the basket, and I think our defense turned it up, too."
A 6-0 run by Maryland cut Purdue's lead to 53-48. Moses, who had left the game because she had four fouls, came back in and almost immediately had an assist to Guyton to push the lead back to seven with 4:10 to play and temporarily slow Maryland's momentum.
The Terrapins surged again. Two baskets by Tchatchouang cut Purdue's lead to 55-54 with 1:27 remaining.
Howard missed a jumper, and Maryland moved quickly downcourt. Thomas' layup with 52 seconds left gave Maryland a 56-55 lead with 52 seconds to play.
Purdue had another chance but Moses committed her seventh turnover with 36.5 seconds left.
Maryland looked for a shot, but turned the ball over, giving Moses and Purdue one more chance.
The final result brought more anguish to a team that's already hurting.
"It just doesn't feel good," Versyp said. "It doesn't settle good with us."