WBB Thumps Colgate, Moves to 5-4
When last we left our Lady Boilers, they had struggled at home in a loss to Southern Illinois (who, as it turns out, may not even be the best SIU women's team). A three-game tournament in Mexico, followed by a road game at Pitt for the Big Tenteen/ACC Challenge, looked to provide the opportunity to turn things around, and sure enough, the Boilers performed as expected in those games, routing Wichita State and Northeastern before giving Stanford a good game in a 69-78 loss. They then surprised the Panthers, 67-61, before returning home for five of the next six, starting with the 71-51 victory over Colgate Sunday.
Purdue now sits at 5-4 on the season, 93rd in Massey. That puts them 10th in the conference, a bit behind #78 Penn State and a bit in front of #118 Nebraska.
Purdue (2-3) 86, Wichita State (1-3) 49
I watched the live no-audio feed of this long enough to note that Purdue was not going to struggle against a weak opponent, at least not while playing in another country. The Good Gals put up 20+ points in three of the four quarters and held the Shockers below 10 points in the first and final stanzas to earn a victory that was much more like what we expected coming into the season: 29 points off turnovers in a game where they never trailed.
Four of the five starters were in double figures, led by freshman Dominique Oden's 23; Ashley Morrissette was the lone starter not in that club, but she recorded a game-high 7 assists to offset an unusual 3-14 night from the floor. Despite the senior's struggles, Purdue still shot .517 overall and .533 from three, as well as a solid .818 from the line, with senior Bridget Perry leading the way with 9 of 10 from the stripe. Sophomore Dominique McBryde just missed a double-double, with 11 points and a game-high 9 rebounds, as the Boilers had a 38-26 advantage in the latter category.
Purdue (3-3) 79, Northeastern (2-4) 54
The Boilers made it two straight in Mexico in another game they may as well have led wire-to-wire. This time, they didn't have as much of an advantage in transition - outscoring the Huskies just 22-14 - but their overall defense (holding Northeastern to .333 from the field) and advantage from the line (double the free throw attempts) were enough to give Purdue another comfortable win.
Morrissette rebounded to notch her first double-double, scoring a game-high 16 and adding 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Once again, Purdue had four starters in double figures, with junior Andreona Keys filling the stat sheet despite being the exception: 7 points, 5 boards, 4 assists, 1 block, and 2 steals. McBryde added 14 points (6-10 from the line) and 5 boards, with Perry adding 13 (6-7 from the line) and Oden 12.
Purdue (3-4) 69, Stanford (6-1) 78
If you can believe it, this game was even closer than the score suggests (although NCAA.com incorrectly showed the Boilers winning 78-69, which caused a bit of confusion as I was chatting with a friend). The Good Gals had the lead down to 3 on three occasions late in the fourth, the last one after a pair of free throws by Morrissette, but Purdue just couldn't get the points they needed, and the Cardinal were able to deal the Boilers their only loss in Cancún.
Morrissette once again led the way with 23 points (including 10 of 11 from the line) and 8 rebounds; Perry added 16 and 7, including 4 for 6 from three; and Oden rounded out the double-figure crowd with 11 points. McBryde played limited minutes due to foul trouble and ended up fouling out with neither points nor rebounds to show for her efforts.
Purdue (4-4) 67, Pitt (6-1) 61
The Boilers were the best team the Panthers had played all year, and it showed, as Purdue spent most of the game enjoying a lead and never trailed in the fourth quarter, despite 12 points and 10 rebounds from Pitt's Brandi Harvey-Carr.
You may have heard about Morrissette's outing, as she scored nearly half of the team's points: a career-high 31 on 12-17 shooting (most of which was not from the three-point line). Keys added 10 points and 9 rebounds, with Perry (8 and 9) and McBryde (8 and 8) close to double-double territory as well. Once again, Boiler defense kept the opposition in check, as Pitt shot just .328 from the field ... and while defense isn't actually a thing at the line, the Panthers only managed 14 of 22 there, giving away enough points to represent the winning margin.
Purdue (5-4) 71, Colgate (1-6) 51
Colgate's Katie Curtis scored 22 points, as the Lebanon, IN native led the field in both points and threes (4 for 5), but she could not prevent the hosts from dominating. The Good Gals held a 30-16 advantage in the paint, but also committed just one shooting foul on the night, and with Mylah Chandler's miss, the Raiders (protip: you're old when you think of them as the Red Raiders and then realize they changed their nickname 15 years ago) became the first Purdue opponent in almost three years to draw a blank at the foul line. (Green Bay was the last to do it, also shooting 0 for 1 on 12/18/2013.)
Keys led a balanced attack with 13 points, as seven Boilers scored 7 or more points; Andreona added 10 boards for her second double-double of the season. McBryde narrowly missed one again, with 9 points and 10 boards; Perry (10 and 2), Oden (10 and 3) and Tiara Murphy (10 and 1) also hit double digits, while Lamina Cooper added 8 off the bench and Morrissette dished out a career-high 10 assists, topping the 9-assist game she had two years ago against Wisconsin, and also set a career mark with 5 steals.
The high point was probably the entire Stanford game. The Boilers hadn't yet shown that they could hang with a top-25 opponent; they did that quite well, albeit on a neutral court. (They won't play a Massey top-25 team again until January 15, when they host Ohio State.)
The low point was, well, really not much. They beat three weaker opponents handily, beat a roughly equal opponent on their home floor, and played a close game against a much better team. There's really not much to complain about after 11 days like that.
What it means is, well, they're playing about where an NIT-caliber team would be, maybe a little below that. Not as bad as they looked after the SIU loss, so that's good, especially with the conference having something of a down year. On the other hand, Wisconsin and Illinois are the only teams off to brutal starts, so even with Nebraska and Rutgers in the same ballpark, there are plenty of games on the schedule against better opposition. It's important that the Good Gals find their groove prior to the start of Big Tenteen play on New Year's Eve.
Tuesday vs. #99 Central Michigan (6-2), 7:00 PM
Oddly, the Chippewas are the best team Purdue will have faced at home this year. However, that rating is largely from the decisive wins CMU has had against weaker opposition. In their only game against a non-elite top-100 opponent, they lost at home to #85 Elon, 71-57. (Losing by 60 at #3 Notre Dame doesn't really tell you much.)
Central Michigan is led by junior guard Cassandra Breen, who's averaging a team-high 15.3 and shooting .388 from three, and senior forward Jewel Cotton, who's scoring nearly 15 PPG and shooting .688 (!) from the field. While Massey has the Boilers as a 7-point favorite, this is the kind of game where if Purdue doesn't stay focused, they'll end up staying with the Chippewas instead of running them off the court.
Thursday at #105 Ball State (5-2), 7:00 PM
The Cardinals have, for the most part, laid waste to a weak schedule. They lost to #40 Auburn by 14, and they fell to #115 East Carolina in OT, but the rest of their games have been comfortable wins.
Ball State leans more toward frontcourt scoring, led by junior forward Moriah Monaco (16.3 PPG, .389 from three) and senior center Renee Bennett (14.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, .615 from the field). Expect Nora Kiesler and Ae'Rianna Harris to share defensive duties against Bennett with McBryde: keeping Bennett and Keys-like guard Destiny Washington (11.4 PPG, .617 from the field, 0 for 1 from three) from wreaking havoc inside will be the key to getting the W in Muncie. Massey likes the Cardinals by 2.
Sunday vs. #349 North Carolina Central (0-4), 1:00 PM
The Eagles started their season with a 50-47 loss to Division II Pfeiffer, so maybe this is a game where we can expect to see extended playing time for players who might not get it elsewhere. Massey picks the Boilers by 50, so I'll spare you extended thoughts on the game.
After that, the Boilers have a break for finals week; they'll hit the court again the following Saturday, but you'll have another weekly(ish) recap before then.
Where to watch
Tuesday's game against Central Michigan is on BTN+ and Purdue's Gametracker. Thursday's game at Ball State is ESPN3 only, no game tracker of any sort. (Charlie don't track.) Sunday's game against North Carolina Central is back on BTN+ and ye olde Gametracker.