WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana — The IU women’s basketball team’s defense in its game against Purdue on Monday was impenetrable.
The Hoosiers forced the Boilermakers into 13 turnovers, nine of which came off of steals by jumping into passing lanes and tracking down any errant Purdue passes. They also held the Boilermakers to just 17-57 shooting from the field by locking down defensively in the half-court, forcing their opponents into one tough shot after another.
However, the Hoosiers didn’t quite get the memo on the offensive end.
Luckily for them, they were just slightly better than Purdue, enough to pick up an ugly 52-44 win.
IU started the game off ice-cold in the first quarter, shooting just 2-17 from the field and 0-6 rom three-point territory to fall behind early at 13-4 after one period.
It didn’t get much better from there as they finished the game 20-53 overall and just 4-15 from three.
To further complicate matters for IU, they had to battle through sophomore Ae’Rianna Harris and freshman Tamara Farquhar combining for seven blocks on the night to take away a lot of the Hoosiers’ scoring options down-low while leading scorer, senior guard Tyra Buss, went scoreless in the first half and without a field goal until the five-minute mark in the third quarter.
“Our shots weren’t falling so we had to really to grind it out,” senior forward Amanda Cahill said. “Obviously, we really look to Tyra to score the ball but everybody stepped up and played their part.”
With their early struggles from the field adding up, defense took a precedent for IU from there. In a defensive battle from both sides that led to multiple scoring droughts that exceeded over two minutes at a time, IU was able to use a big second-half performance to eventually pull away.
After going into halftime tied at 22 points apiece, Purdue jumped out to a quick 7-1 run to open the third quarter.
That’s when IU really buckled down.
By the end of the quarter, the Hoosiers had forced the Boilermakers into 3-16 shooting in that frame and used Purdue’s cold streak to go on a 25-9 run that would trickle over into the fourth. The Boilermakers couldn’t get anything going as they were forced into tough shots late in the shot clock due to IU’s stifling half-court defense and IU responded by shooting 70 percent in the fourth quarter.
“I don’t think it was a pretty game offensively but I thought we made enough plays down the stretch to get enough breathing room,” IU Coach Teri Moren said. “I thought our defense throughout the 40 minutes was really good.”
That second half stretch proved to be the defining series in a gritty, old-fashioned win for Moren’s squad which marked their sixth consecutive victory and the program’s first victory at Mackey Arena since 1985.
“Every game is big for us and obviously Purdue is meaningful,” Moren said. “For us right now, with the way we started Big Ten play and the growth and improvements that we’ve made, every game going down the stretch is big.”
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