FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Sixth-seeded Purdue Fort Wayne women’s basketball took down No. 11 seed Detroit Mercy 65-61 in the 2023 Barbasol Horizon League Championship First Round on Tuesday (Feb. 28) in the Gates Sports Center. Tuesday’s conference tournament victory was the first for the Mastodons as a member of the Horizon League and the first conference tournament win in 10 years.
The Mastodons led from the jump, racing out to an early 7-2 lead. Purdue Fort Wayne shot a blistering 61.5 percent (8-of-13) from the floor, while also connecting on 3-of-6 3-point attempts in the opening period. Detroit Mercy was able to keep pace with the Mastodons, as the Titans connected on 10-of-20 field goal attempts through the game’s first 10 minutes.
Purdue Fort Wayne was able to extend its lead to as many as 13 points in the second stanza as the Mastodons forced eight Titan turnovers and a 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) effort from the floor. A 3-pointer by visiting Detroit Mercy at the horn sent the ‘Dons into the intermission with a 40-30 lead.
Both teams traded runs in the fourth quarter. Detroit Mercy provided an initial surge, using an 11-0 run to claw to within a point, 54-53, with 5:57 left in regulation. The Mastodons then responded with a 7-0 run of their own led by five points from Audra Emmerson and a layup from Jazzlyn Linbo.
The visiting Titans hit Purdue Fort Wayne with an 8-0 run in the game’s closing minutes to tie the game at 61. A 3-pointer by Amaya Burch knotted the score with 23.2 seconds left in regulation.
Following a Mastodon timeout, Destinee Marshall converted a driving right-handed layup to give the lead right back to the ‘Dons with 11.7 seconds left in regulation. The ‘Dons’ defense stood tall on their final defensive possession and Amellia Bromenschenkel iced the game with a pair of free throws with three seconds left on the clock.
For the game, Purdue Fort Wayne shot 24-of-55 (43.6 percent) from the field while also connecting on 7-of-17 3-point field goal attempts (41.2 percent). Emmerson finished with a game-high 16 points to lead the Mastodons. Linbo added 12 points while Marshalland Bromenschenkel each added nine points.
The Mastodons forced 24 Titan turnovers and came away with 13 steals in Tuesday’s win. Purdue Fort Wayne converted those 24 turnovers into 32 points.
Purdue Fort Wayne (13-18) will advance to the Horizon League Quarterfinals on Thursday (March 2) for matchup at No. 3 seed IUPUI. Game time against the Jaguars is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Jungle.