The Drum Beat
November 16, 2023
PURDUE WOMEN FINALLY “ARRIVE” AT MACKEY ARENA AND WIN GOING AWAY
The Purdue Women’s Basketball team played their best and most complete game of the young season and defeated Texas A&M 72-58 in front of a good crowd in Mackey Arena Thursday night.
The start of the game, however, was not indicative of how the final 38 minutes and change would play out.
The Boilermakers were sloppy from the beginning, and 73 seconds after the ball was tossed up at center circle, Purdue Coach Katie Gearlds had seen enough.
Post game, she told the crowd she was hopeful that there were no cameras or microphones around the Purdue huddle during that timeout.
They trailed 8-0 – the result of a turnover, an offensive rebound – on a free throw, no less – two fouls, and a shot that was blocked.
Gearlds “reportedly” sent a staffer back to the locker-room to find her team.
The Boilermakers did find their energy during that early “discussion”.
Abbey Ellis hit a jumper at the 8:28 mark, and after another Aggie score, Purdue began to chip away at the early deficit. By the end of the first stanza, the host team led 19-14.
A little more than a minute into the second quarter, Madison Layden hit a three, followed shortly by a jumper from Jeanae Terry, and suddenly Purdue was up ten, 24-14.
At the 4:22 mark, Janiah Barker hit a jumper, and the Aggies had cut the lead to four. Texas A&M would trail again by four with 1:51 left in the first half, and that would be as close as the visitors from College Station, Texas would get the rest of the night.
Terry would hit two free throws followed by a Rashunda Jones jumper. After a late TAMU turnover, Terry found Caitlyn Harper just right of the top of the key and she buried the three-point shot as the horn sounded, sending the Boilers into the tunnel heading off of Keady Court with an 11-point lead, 38-27.
Ellis opened the second half scoring with a layup, stretching the Boiler lead to 13. The Aggies would score six straight points before Terry would convert on a layup with 7:02 remaining in the third.
Ellis would score on a layup with 5:27 remaining, followed by an A&M three-pointer by Barker. Ellis scored 12 of her 20 points in the third quarter as Purdue built a 17-point cushion with ten minutes to go.
Harper got an offensive rebound and was fouled. Her two made free throws to open the fourth quarter gave Purdue it’s largest lead of the game – 62-43. Jones would score six points down the stretch to keep A&M at a comfortable distance and close out the game. Jones also scored 20 points for Purdue.
Barker – a 6-4 sophomore – led Coach Joni Taylor’s first Aggie team with 19 points and 11 rebounds. 6-5 junior Lauren Ware also had a Double-Double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Taylor replaced long-time Texas A&M mentor Gary Blair – a Naismith Hall of Famer – who retired after last season. Texas A&M (2-1) plays Monday at home vs Houston Christian.
In addition to the 20-point games by Ellis and Jones – a senior and a freshman – the Boilermakers (2-1) received 14 points from Harper and eight points each from Terry and Madison Layden. Terry also had ten assists. Purdue had nine turnovers and forced 20 by the Aggies.
Purdue heads to the Baha Mar Flamingo Championship in the Bahamas. They will meet Florida on Monday and Georgia on Wednesday.