by: Shawn Martin, Excel H Sports/USBWA

Hall of Fame NFL coach Bill Parcells famously said, “you are what your record says you are”.

The Lady Boilers entered tonight’s game with Vermont at three games under .500 – 15-18 – and dropped their final game of the 2023-24 season to the Catamounts 67-59.
Jayla Smith of Purdue – scooping a lay-up after getting past Bella Vito of Vermont

Photo by: Greg Flint

The Purdue Women’s Basketball team has used the post season Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) to put together some momentum heading into the off season. After dropping 13 of their 18 regular season Big Ten games, the Boilers beat Northwestern in the B1G Tournament before losing to Nebraska in the second round.
Purdue accepted an WNIT invitation and promptly won their opening tournament game at Butler and followed it up with a win over Duquesne in Mackey Arena, setting up tonight’s matchup.
They had produced a modest win streak, but in the end, the problems that plagued the Boilers all season would do them in and end the season.
You are what your record says you are.
The Lady Boilers led by six at halftime, 29-23, but saw the visitors come out with a quick 7-2 run to open the half.
From there the Catamounts shot well and handled the Boilermakers in most aspects of the game for the first fifteen minutes of the second half. Purdue would mount a furious comeback and cut a ten-point deficit to two, then Vermont pulled away.
Poor shooting plagued the hosts all game. Purdue hit only one of their eight three points attempts and went 21-56 (37.5%) on all their field goals.
Vermont on the other hand shot well under Mackey’s cavernous dome – 48% on field goals, 37.5% on threes, and they hit all twelve of their free throws.
That led to 44-30 advantage in the second half and allowed Vermont to continue their season.
Abbey Ellis of Purdue – going up for a lay-up against the defense of Anna Olson of Vermont

Photo by: Greg Flint

   Abbey Ellis, a senior from Australia, scored her final points in a Boilermaker uniform on a layup with 32 seconds left. That basket gave her a team leading 16 points and put her over the 2000 career point plateau.
Rashunda Jones followed with 12, while Jeanae Terry was the only Boilermaker to shoot over 50%, going 4-6 from the field, hit three free throws for 11 points. She also added five rebounds and five assists in her last game in the old gold and black.
Rashonda Jones of Purdue – shooting a short jumper over Emma Utterback of Vermont

Photo  by: Greg Flint

Purdue finishes 15-19 on the season.
The Catamounts (25-11) had four players score all but two of the team points. Center Grove product Emma Utterback had 20 points in her return to the Hoosier state. She added six assists. Keira Hanson followed with 17, Anna Olsen and Bella Vito each had 14 points. Zionsville’s Delaney Richason had the remaining two.
Jeanae Terry of Purdue – shooting a lay-up while being defended by Delaney Richason of Vermont

Photo by: Greg Flint

Purdue Coach Katie Gearlds has a good young nucleus returning next year along with talented incoming freshmen. The WNIT was exactly what it was supposed to be for a team like Purdue. It gave several young players a chance in new more expanded roles.
The late season momentum of winning three of their last five games should start to change the narrative of the quote at the beginning of this article. The foundation of the Katie Gearlds era of Purdue Women’s Basketball has been laid, and now the building begins.
Brighter days are ahead. More wins are on the horizon. And they will be then, what their record says they are.

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