The Drum Beat
Purdue (6-2) beat Georgia Tech 53-52 in Women’s Basketball ACC/B1G Challenge on a Janae Terry, transfer from University of Illinois, runner in the lane as time expired in Mackey Arena on Wednesday December 1st, 2021.
The triumphant ending was set up by four missed free throws by the Yellow Jackets – coached by former Purdue Head Coach Nell Fortner – which allowed the Boilermakers to have the ball with 3.9 seconds left in regulation, down 52-51. Terry received the inbounds in the frontcourt, looked for a teammate, then took off driving down the lane and releasing a floating 7-footer which banked in as the final horn sounded setting off a jubilant celebration in front of the scorers bench.
“That is what 3.9 seconds was in my head” Terry reflected on her heroics. “Just get the ball and if I don’t see anybody, then just go make a play.”
Purdue Head Coach Katie Gearlds (Beach Grove) drew up a play to get Ra Shaya Kyle (Marion) the ball on the block. Madison Layden (Northwestern) couldn’t get the pass to Kyle, so she inbounded it to Terry. Terry looked to pass back to Layden, then dribbled down the lane.
“Madison inbounded to J.T., then they denied Madison the ball back.” Gearlds said “The last option was J.T. to drive it with her left hand – she had two shooters on the opposite side of the court, so we didn’t think the help would come, and it didn’t. It was a prayer. It’s the game of basketball.”
During most of the first quarter, Purdue struggled with the length of Georgia Tech (5-2). Fortner’s front court features three foreign born players – 6-2 Digna Strautmane (Latvia), 6-4 Lorela Cubaj (Italy), and 6 foot 5 Spaniard Nerea Hermosa. They made it difficult for the Boilers to get much out of their offense except long shots or heavily contested ones in the lane near the end of the shot clock. Georgia Tech dominated the rebounds in the opening ten minutes, collecting 11 boards to the four that Purdue secured. Strautmane had 9 points at the first break and her team led 17-12.
Tech and Purdue had a basket each early in the second quarter, then went cold – neither scoring again for four minutes of game clock. Strautmane made a layup with 4:33 left in the half to extend the Yellow Jacket lead to seven, 21-14. Purdue clawed back and trailed 26-22 at halftime.
Purdue shot 1-8 from three-point range, 9 of 26 from the field, and had eleven turnovers (three each by Layden and Terry) at halftime. The 6 foot 6 Kyle had one rebound. “We had eleven turnovers at half – she (Terry) had three and Madison had three” Gearlds said of the first half turnovers. “The two of them only had one the whole second half, and that was an offensive foul on Madison, so they did a much better job of taking care of the basketball.”
Purdue made some key adjustments in the locker room, upping the pressure defensively, pushing the ball up the floor, and taking care of the basketball. Eleven turnovers in the first half and they only had two as a team the whole second half. The Boilers doubled up the Yellow Jackets in the third quarter 20-10, and Purdue led 42-36 at the last quarter break.
Kyle hit a free throw with 9:09 left in the game to give Purdue it’s largest lead, 43-37. The Yellow Jackets hit a pull up three and a layup in the next 50 seconds cutting the margin to 43-41 with 8:20 remaining. They tied Purdue at the 6:00 minute mark – 43-all. Purdue would go almost five minutes without scoring and trailed 45-43 when Layden broke the drought with a game tying layup off a Terry assist with 4:19 left. Tech would lead by four, before Purdue was able to put itself in position to win on the final play.
Georgia Tech dominated the rebounding, out rebounding the Boilers 45 to 27 for the game. Tech though shot a frigid 11-20 from the free throw line – including a game deciding 3 of ten in the fourth quarter. Strautmane finished with a game high 18 for Tech. Layden led Purdue with 13 points. Terry had 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists.
And of course, that sweet kiss off the glass to give her team the win.
Credit Source for Gearlds interview: Purdue University Athletics
Gearlds interview: https://purduesports.com/watch/?Archive=7087&type=Archive
Credit Source for Photos: Purdue University Athletics