The Purdue women’s basketball team improved to 3-0 Thursday evening with an 81-60 victory over visiting Western Illinois at Mackey Arena. Sophomores Karissa McLaughlin and Tamara Farquhar led the way for the Old Gold & Black as McLaughlin had 22 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Farquhar tallied a career-high 12 points, seven rebounds and three steals.
McLaughlin finished six-of-12 from the field, including four trifectas, and added a six-of-six mark at the charity stripe. She posted her second straight game with at least five assists, maintaining her season average of five helpers per game, and added in a pair of steals as well. Farquhar cashed in four-of-six shots and four-of-five at the foul line, matching her top scoring total for the third time in her career.
The Boilermakers and Leathernecks were knotted at 17-17 after the first quarter despite nine turnovers from the Boilermakers and eight fouls, including four on the offensive end. Purdue pulled away in the second behind seven points apiece from McLaughlin and junior teammate Dominique Oden, taking a six-point edge into the locker room.
Farquhar and McLaughlin blew it wide open in the third, combining for 17 of the team’s 26 points. McLaughlin drained a pair of triples in the quarter, while Farquhar had a string of five straight points near the five-minute mark to stretch the Boilermakers’ lead out to 12.
Despite six straight foul calls on the Boilermakers to open the fourth quarter, Western Illinois couldn’t make a dent in the Purdue lead as a collective Boilermaker team effort in the final period kept their foot on the gas. The fourth quarter was highlighted by the first career points from freshman Ajah Stallings, who was fouled on a fast-break layup attempt and cashed in both free throws. Purdue’s lead swelled as high as 25 in the closing minutes, but a late pair of Western Illinois buckets accounted for the final difference.
Oden finished with 15 points on seven-of-12 shooting for the Boilermakers, while junior classmate Ae’Rianna Harris tallied her second straight double-double at 10 points and 11 rebounds, while adding four blocked shots. Freshman Cassidy Hardin had nine points and five assists off the bench, classmate Kayana Traylor dished five dimes and sophomore Lyndsey Whilby chipped in five points, five rebounds and two assists in limited action due to foul troubles.
Purdue’s 25 fouls were its most since Feb. 11, 2017 at Penn State, while its 21 assists on 28 made field goals were its most since Jan. 28, 2018, also against the Lady Lions.
After hitting 28 3’s against MacMurray on Monday, Western Illinois hit just four against Purdue, making only 16 percent from behind the arc. Senior Taylor Higgenbotham led the team with 14 points and six rebounds, while sophomore Grace Gilmore added 12 points as the Leathernecks fell to 1-3 on the year.
Purdue has a quick turnaround, hosting Purdue Fort Wayne on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET in Mackey Arena. The Boilermakers’ promotions team will be giving out a limited supply of free Purdue tote bags and the game will be webcast live on BTN Plus on BTN2Go.