Indiana Daily Student

No. 18 IU women's basketball continues to separate itself from Purdue

<p>Junior guard Jaelynn Penn attempts to score a 3-point shot Feb. 3 in Mackey Arena. Penn made one of five attempted 3-pointers and 15 total points in the game against Purdue.</p>

Junior guard Jaelynn Penn attempts to score a 3-point shot Feb. 3 in Mackey Arena. Penn made one of five attempted 3-pointers and 15 total points in the game against Purdue.

After No. 18 IU women’s basketball scored the first points of the game Monday, it never trailed at Mackey Arena, beating Purdue 66-54. 

While the deficit for Purdue was manageable after the first quarter, IU jumped out to a 13-point halftime lead, its largest of the game at that point. 

IU led by as many as 15 before Purdue got back within single digits. But the Hoosiers never faltered, closing it out in the fourth quarter to secure its third straight double-digit win over the Boilermakers. 

The win marks four in a row for a Hoosier team that started the year off scorching hot before fizzling a bit in January. IU won four straight games — including a win over Purdue — before losing three in a row. Now, the team is on another four-game win streak.

IU has also won three straight over its rival, and the games haven’t seemed too competitive. In fact, IU has dominated the last few matchups.

Going back to the 2016-17 season, IU has won seven of eight games against its in-state rival. All but one of those wins have been by double digits, and even that game was an eight-point affair. The lone win for Purdue was a 59-56 decision in Mackey Arena last season. Since then, the Hoosiers have won three straight, winning by an average of 17 points. 

The skill gap between these two teams seems to be getting bigger, and it’s heavily favoring IU. 

On paper, IU looks like the better team. IU has five players averaging double-figures. Purdue has three. IU has a player on the Wooden Award watch list. Purdue does not. 

IU also looks better on the court. IU averages 9.2 more points per game than Purdue, and gives up 3.4 less points per game. Purdue has no ranked wins while IU has two, and one of those ranked wins was over the current No. 1 team in the country. 

IU beat the University of South Carolina by 14 in late November. Two weeks later, Purdue lost to that same team by 36. That’s a sizable advantage to IU, especially when you consider South Carolina only has that one loss on its record this year. 

IU has been inconsistent at times this year, but its overall body of work is one of the best in the Big Ten. This Hoosier team has the talent to make a run in the Big Ten Tournament, and maybe even the NCAA Tournament. 

West Lafayette has itself a good basketball team. But for the last few years, the series has been in the hands of IU. Head coach Teri Moren is building a winning culture in Bloomington, already with two tournament trips and a Women's National Invitation Tournament Championship under her belt.

If nothing changes, IU will continue to dominate this series for a long time.

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