WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Coach Aaron Johnston thought his team was ready to defend Purdue.
South Dakota State wanted to take away Purdue's top scorer, Brittany Rayburn. It held KK Houser in check and stood up to the inside challenge the Boilermakers posed.
What the Jackrabbits didn't expect was Courtney Moses making 3-pointers at a record-setting pace. Moses finished with a NCAA women's tourney record nine 3-pointers, matched her career-high with 29 points and helped fourth-seeded Purdue finally pull away from South Dakota State in Saturday's first-round game.
"They know how to get the guards open, and it's hard to get through," Johnston said. "That's why they all make so many of those plays off of those screens."
For the 13th-seeded Jackrabbits (24-9), it was another frustrating finale.
Jill Young finished with 19 points and Jennie Sunnarborg had 17. But nobody else reached double figures, and that wasn't enough to prevent the Summit League champions from making a third consecutive first-round exit in the tournament, especially on a night that South Dakota State's defense seemed to vanish.
Purdue shot 50 percent from the field, 50 percent from the line and South Dakota State gave up a season-high point total. That's not Jackrabbits basketball.
"Sometimes we miscommunicated, and they're just really good at passing and screening and giving the person the ball when they're open," Young said.
It's a game Moses will never forget.
She made 9 of 14 3-pointers, compared with only 1 of 3 inside the arc, and every time her team needed a shot to brush back the hard-charging Jackrabbits, Moses delivered.
It was hardly a surprise to those who have seen her shooting at practice. But after making only 34 of 121 3-pointers this season and 88 of 253 over the past two seasons, Moses' shooting touch returned just in time to push the Boilermakers (25-8) into a second-round game that will be played on their home court, Mackey Arena.
They'll face fifth-seeded South Carolina, an 80-48 winner over Eastern Michigan, in Saturday's first game.
The contest pits the Big Ten tourney champs against the resurgent Gamecocks (24-9) with plenty at stake. South Carolina, making its first tourney appearance since 2003, could tie the school's single-season record for victories. Purdue, the Big Ten tourney champs, now has won six straight and has lots of momentum after Moses' breakout game.
"My team has always had confidence in me, and I've always had confidence in myself. To go out and continue to be confident is a good feeling," she said.
South Dakota State simply couldn't rotate quickly enough or get in front of her fast enough to create a diversion.
The Jackrabbits tried everything -- switches, defending her with size, even face-guarding. Nothing worked as Moses continued to knock down the 3s, three of which came in the final six minutes as the Jackrabbits continued to chase Moses and the Boilermakers.
"They did a nice job of coming back," Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said. "We needed to settle down and make a couple of shots and try to attack the basket and set Courtney up."