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February 10, 2013
Inside or out, Purdue couldn't break Michigan's zone.
That coupled with the Boilermakers' inability to properly defend the Wolverines' screen-heavy offense made for a long afternoon Sunday in Mackey Arena. Michigan's 67-56 win was its first at Purdue since 1998, as it handed the Boilermakers their first loss in Mackey this season.
"We can't not show up like this again," senior Sam Ostarello said, "especially at home. We only have a select number of games left and if we want our season to be where we want it to be, then we really need to learn from this loss. We can't do that again; it's really unacceptable."
No. 13 Purdue (18-5 overall, 7-3 in the Big Ten) had its chances against Michigan (18-6, 7-4), taking a lead on Drey Mingo's layup with 8:45 left, but found little offense afterward. With the Wolverines playing primarily a 2-3 zone - they occasionally mixed in man defense, too, following missed shots - Purdue had only two field goals after Mingo's make.
The drought came as part of a 20-7 Michigan run, turning a two-point Purdue lead into a double-digit loss. First-year UM coach Kim Barnes Arico said the Wolverines strategy was to pack in their zone, and allow Purdue, aside from Courtney Moses, to shoot from outside. But the Boilermakers couldn't take advantage, making only 2-of-19 three-pointers; they shot just 38.2 percent from the field.
"They were playing the percentages and obviously we weren't hitting the three today," Ostarello said. "They were just playing really smart basketball, packing it in and not letting us drive anywhere. And when we did, they took a couple charges. But there was nowhere to drive anywhere to the hoop."
Meanwhile, the Boilermakers struggled to find Michigan's shooters. The Wolverines outscored Purdue by 21 from three-point range, hitting 9-of-17 from beyond the arc. And they routinely got open after screens, as the Boilermakers too often got lost on attempted switches.
Coach Sharon Versyp, whose team had intended to switch on all screens, says Purdue had a communication problem with its post players, resulting in open UM shooters.
"When you switch screens, no one should be open," Versyp said. "That's why you switch screens."
Michigan senior Kate Thompson, a 6-foot-4 guard, gave the Boilers fits by hitting six triples and scoring a game-high 22 points. Her four-point play - she was fouled by Mingo after rolling off a screen and hitting a triple on the left wing - put the visitors up for good with just more than eight minutes remaining.
"That four-point play was obviously the turning point," Barnes Arico said. "And she did a tremendous job for us."
Purdue, which had trailed by three at the half, had the deficit at two on Ostarello's rebound basket at 5:50. But it's the only rally it could muster.
A couple minutes later, Michigan took nearly 90 seconds off the clock on one possession, getting consecutive offensive rebounds before Rachel Sheffer got free for a layup and a 58-51 lead with less than two minutes remaining.
Purdue was outrebounded 34-24.
Moses hit three free throws to cut the margin to four with 1:28 left, but Thompson followed by hitting a couple at the stripe. Thompson made all but one of her free throws and missed all three of her two-pointers. But he hit six of her 13 from long range.
"Our game plan was to not give her an open look," Ostarello said, "and clearly she had a lot of those.
"We worked on (switching off screens) in practice and looked great in practice doing it. We were just a second slow when we were switching and sometimes we were confused if we were switching, which should never happen."
Purdue was unable to take advantage of having a season-low 12 turnovers, including only four in the second half. Moses and April Wilson shared team-high scoring honors, with 12 apiece. But Moses hit only 3-of-11 shots, including 1-of-7 from three-point range.
Ostarello had 10 points and seven rebounds, while Mingo added nine.
Michigan, which shot nearly 46 percent with 14 turnovers, got 16 points and 11 rebounds from Nya Jordan. She helped UM to an early 19-8 lead by scoring nine points in the opening 5:30.
"This is like a super-quality win," Barnes Arico said. "People don't come in here and win at Purdue."
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