No. 15 Purdue defeats Tulane 61-48 in Cancun Challenge
From Purdue Athletics
CANCUN, Mexico â€“ With the weather 82 degrees and mostly sunny outside, the No. 15/17 Purdue Boilermakers (5-0) defeated Tulane 61-48 on Thursday in the Galactic Ballroom of the Moon Palace Resort in Cancun, Mexico.
Brittany Rayburn had a hot shooting night to lead all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including a season-high 5-of-8 from three-point range. KK Houser contributed 15 points, including the final six of the contest â€“ all from the free throw line â€“ to seal the win for Purdue.
â€œI missed my first few shots but everybody kept telling me to keep shooting it,â€ Rayburn said. â€œWe didnâ€™t get to shoot in this gym (prior to warm-ups) so I knew that it was something that I just had to get going. I got hot and people kept finding me.â€
The Boilermakers relied on their defense as turnovers continue to be a problem. Purdue committed a season-high 27 turnovers against the Green Wave several against full-court pressure, but when Tulane had an opportunity to tie or take the lead at 7:39 with the score 48-46 on a steal by Tulaneâ€™s Danielle Blagg, the Boilermakers got the stops they needed. Purdue held Tulane scoreless in the final 7:39 with the exception of two free throws by Olivia Grayson with 47 seconds left in the contest.
â€œWe had really high energy coming into the game. Defense was strong, we were little pesks, all over them,â€ Houser said. â€œWe set the tempo of the game today. Second half we came out a little slow and they went on their run, but we stayed together as a team and just kept pushing.â€
Neither team scored for nearly 3:30 in the second period with the score 48-46, until Brittany Rayburn hit a three-pointer with 4:12 left to give Purdue a five-point edge.
Purdue broke a nearly two minute scoring drought on an extended possession for the Boilermakers that was started by a steal by Alex Guyton and kept alive by offensive rebounds by Guyton and Rayburn, when Houser penetrated to the basket and found Guyton on the low block for a layup and a 53-47 lead at 2:10. Guyton, Houser and Chantel Poston all came up with big offensive boards in the final minute and a half, to keep Purdueâ€™s scoring hopes alive and help eat up clock.
Houser scored the final six points of the contest â€“ all from the free throw line â€“ to seal the 61-48 victory for Purdue.
â€œI think the biggest thing is we locked down defensively when we really needed to,â€ head coach Sharon Versyp said. â€œWe kept them off the offensive boards and we shut down their threes, they were only 2-for-5. I think those categories were really big for us.â€
Offensive rebounding was a key for the Boilermakers as they outscored Tulane 18-3 on second chance points. Purdue outrebounded the Green Wave â€“ who came into the game averaging almost 50 rebounds a contest â€“ 42-29.
The Boilermakers had an 11-point lead at the half, 29-18, but a 10-4 run by the Green Wave in the first three minutes, cut the margin to 33-28.
Purdue trailed early in the ball game, getting down 6-1 to start things off. However, the Boilermakers took the lead for good on two free throws by Sam Ostarello at 12-10 at 9:48 in the first half. The Green Wave got it to a two-point margin at 48-46, but the Boilermakers closed the game out with a 13-2 run.
The Boilermakers will take on Kansas State on Friday, Nov. 25 at 10 p.m. ET to wrap up the two-game tournament. The Wildcats faced Hofstra on Thursday in the game after Purdueâ€™s.