INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The No. 8 seed Purdue women’s basketball team made an early exit from the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday, as ninth-seeded Rutgers hit a jumper with four seconds left to earn a 62-60 victory and advance. The Boilermakers made a furious rally in the final four minutes, erasing a nine-point deficit and tying the game twice in the final two minutes, but came up short to fall to 18-13 on the year.
Slow starts to each half put the Boilermakers in a hole, mustering just eight points in the opening frame and 10 points in the third quarter. However, Purdue went to work in the second and fourth quarters, hitting a combined 14-of-31 in the two periods and scoring 21 points in each of them to close large Rutgers leads. After trailing by nine in the first half, Purdue slimmed the deficit to one at the half, 30-29, and Rutgers’ lead grew as high as 11 in the second half before the Boilermakers’ late rally.
Sophomore Dominique Oden posted her third straight 20-point game, finishing with 25 points, notching eight in the first quarter and 12 in the fourth quarter, including both game-tying free throws down the stretch. Trailing by nine, 58-49, with four minutes to play, Oden scored nine of the Boilermakers’ final 11 points, and narrowly missed a long, 3-point heave at the buzzer that would’ve given Purdue the win. Oden’s pair of triples on the day set a new sophomore season record with 58 3-point field goals this year.
Freshman Karissa McLaughlin joined Oden in double figures with 13 points, hitting a pair of 3’s, dishing out five assists and grabbing a pair of key steals in the comeback flurry in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Ae’Rianna Harris just missed a double-double, finishing with 10 points, eight rebounds, a block and two steals, while senior Andreona Keys chipped in nine points, five rebounds and three assists.
Rutgers just managed to make shots all game, hitting 50 percent or better in three of four quarters, and finishing at 50.9 percent for the game on the late jumper from senior Tyler Scaife, who scored a team-high 19 points. She was 1-of-5 Rutgers players to shoot 50 percent or better from the field, including Victoria Harris, who added 11 points and six rebounds as the only other Scarlet Knight in double figures.
Purdue awaits word of a postseason bid to either the NCAA or WNIT Tournament, which will be announced Monday, March 12.