Jan. 9, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern took down No. 21/20 Purdue, 71-68, Thursday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena in the Wildcats' first Big Ten home contest of the year. Despite trailing by as many as 11 points in the first half, the Wildcats used a strong second half to knock off their second ranked opponent of the season and improve to 11-4 on the year, 1-1 in the conference.
Sophomore guard Maggie Lyon saw 20 points to lead the team in scoring, including a perfect 3-3 from long distance. Christen Inman was close behind, scoring 18 points, just one shy of her performance against Nebraska. Freshman Ashley Deary broke a new career high with 11 assists. Lauren Douglas also scored in the double digits with 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench while Alex Cohen chipped in another 10 points and four blocks. Senior guard La'Terria Taylor played valuable minutes, giving Deary a break, with a career-high five rebounds, two assists and no turnovers.
Northwestern struggled out of the gate as the Boilermakers took an early 13-2 lead. Purdue appeared to be in control for much of the first half, but the Wildcats continued to chip away at the lead and found themselves down just two at the break.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first frame with Purdue shooting 34.3 percent while NU was 39.3 percent. Lyon was on fire though at a perfect 5-of-5 from the field. NU had 11 turnovers, which led to nine second-chance points for Purdue.
The Wildcats picked up momentum in the second half, tying the game at 33-33 right out of the gates off a jumper by Nia Coffey and then took the 35-33 lead with another two from Inman. For the next few minutes, it was a fight to stay on top as both teams went shot for shot.
A 3-pointer by Douglas capped an 11-0 run to give the Wildcats their largest lead of the game at 61-47 with 8:59 to play. NU continued to drain its free throws and maintained its lead until Purdue staged a comeback in the closing minutes.
After two Coffey free throws to go ahead eight with 3:16 to play, Purdue's Courtney Moses drained a 3-pointer and KK Houser added another from long-distance, putting the score at 67-65 with 1:07 to play. A layup by Lyon gave the Wildcats a four-point cushion before Purdue drained yet another 3-pointer to pull within one (69-68) with just 17 seconds left.
Northwestern stayed strong as Deary went 1-for-2 at the line with 15 seconds left and Douglas added another with less than a second left to secure the 71-68 Wildcat win.
NU finished at 43.6 percent from the field, shooting 48.1 percent in the second half. Purdue shot less than 35 percent, at 33.8 percent for the game. Four Boilermakers finished in double-figures with Camille Redmon and Moses leading with 14 points. Redmon also grabbed 11 rebounds.
The Wildcats, who rank No. 2 in the country in blocks per game, had 12 swats, which is one off the NU single-game record of 13. Cohen and Douglas each had four blocks while Inman contributed three and Coffey had one. Free throw shooting also was the difference in Thursday's game as NU went 17-of-21 from the line at 81.0 percent while Purdue struggled at 13-of-24 for 54.2 percent.
Northwestern heads back out on the road, playing at Minnesota on Sunday, Jan. 12. Tip is set for 2 p.m. at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
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