By Reggie Edwards
The Purdue Boilermaker women came into a Thursday night Big 10 battle with a tough Iowa team Thursday night, looking to keep momentum going after winning a big game at home vs. Michigan last weekend.
Both teams were hot going into Thursday’s game- Purdue winning five of their last seven games while the No. 17 Hawkeyes had taken seven of their last eight- both teams tied for 3rd in the Big 10 as well so things were destined to be intense.
Iowa got off to a quick run but Purdue didn’t take long to close the window and took a late 1st Quarter lead thanks to a three-pointer from Karissa McLaughlin with just over 2 minutes to go in opening play.
This lit a spark in the Boilers, who instantly turned it up a notch, pressuring their ranked opponents harder but Iowa kept playing hard, cutting the Boiler lead to 1 point thanks to Tania Davis steal, followed by a fastbreak and layup. The Boilers closed the 1st Quarter with an Ae’Rianna Harris jumper to give the Boilers a two-point lead after 1 period of play.
Kayana Traylor kicked off the final period of the 1st Half with a steal, leading to a layup to give Boilers a four-point lead.
Iowa took a brief lead again in the 2nd Quarter but Purdue kept their composure and continued to play hard, drawing a charge and forcing a late steal while still shooting well from the field and utilizing the paint and short shots.
Throughout the First Half, Purdue really controlled the clock, taking the Shot Clock down to the wire at almost every possession and playing tight-enough defense that Iowa had trouble getting a quick shot off on multiple possessions too. They definitely controlled the pace of the game.
Heading into the 2nd Half, the Boilers led the Hawkeyes 30-25 (outshooting them 46%-38%), setting the stage for a potential upset.
The 3rd Quarter saw Purdue playing catch-up for most of the period as Iowa jumped out to a quick lead, but they only led by a basket or two for most of the period, thanks to a tough Boiler defensive attack and a big Traylor three-pointer to keep the home team in it.
It was anyone’s game heading into the 4th Quarter, with Iowa holding tight onto a 41-40 lead. Both teams played evenly throughout the game, both with four steals, two blocks and a two-rebound difference. It was truly a stage set for a great finish if each team continued to play strong.
Every time Iowa pulled away in the 4th, Purdue was right there to match and tie it back up- at the halfway mark, Harris laid in a huge layup, drawing a foul to tie it back up, which was followed up by a sloppy Iowa turnover on the other end.
McLaughlin answered the Iowa turnover with a huge three-point shot to give the Boilers a three-point lead, demanding strong defense from the rest of the team.
As the quarter wound down, Purdue’s defense continued to stifle the Hawkeyes and the pressure soon became too much to overcome as the Boilermakers ended up taking down Iowa 62-57, holding their opponent to a significantly lower point total than their 80+ point average they had coming into the game.
The Boilermaker women return to action Sunday on the road vs. Northwestern before heading to Rutgers, who sit atop the Big 10.
Photos by Joshua Herd