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December 2, 2012

Run away

Another game and another player leading the way for the Boilermakers.

Sunday, it was Sam Ostarello, who scored a career-high 23 points, teaming with rookie Taylor Manuel's 12, to lead the No. 14 Boilers to a 87-71 victory over Central Michigan in Mackey Arena.

In eight games this season, Purdue's shown it has plenty of scoring weapons; four Boilers (7-1) have led them in scoring this year, and not once has the same player scored the team high in consecutive games. It was Ostarello Sunday, KK Houser the game before and Courtney Moses before that. Drey Mingo has also led Purdue in points.

"I think we have a lot of weapons in our offense," said Ostarello, who was a rebound shy of a double-double. "And any given night, anybody can drop 20. I think that's really special about our team."

It showed up Sunday. Purdue dominated the inside vs. the Chippewas (2-4), routinely finding a weak spot in the visitors' zone defense. Manuel scored her 12 by hitting all five of her shots and 2-of-3 from the line. She also had a career-high nine boards, narrowly missing double-figures there too.

But Purdue got points from the perimeter also, with Houser pouring in 19, and April Wilson and Courtney Moses giving eight and seven, respectively.

"Somebody ask me to compared this Purdue team to last year," said CMU coach Sue Guevara, whose Chipps beat the Boilers a year ago. "I think this Purdue team is faster and quicker.

"… They have a lot more weapons."

The Boilers were in control from the start, jumping to a 13-3 lead in the first five minutes, the last two coming off a layup by Ostarello. Houser's back-to-back triples, the second at 9:45, put them up 29-14.

The pesky Chippewas, however, wouldn't go completely away. The Boilers led 49-31 at the break, but CMU had the margin back to 12 only three minutes into the second, after a three by Crystal Bradford, who had a team-high 18.

But Manuel helped the Boilers respond. She scored a couple of free throws, then found Ostarello open on the baseline for two, and scored a bucket herself. The series put Purdue up 60-42 with 15:20 remaining.

"Every time Taylor's on the floor, it's like she continues to get better and better in a variety of areas," Coach Sharon Versyp said. "Everyone knows she's a great passer, but today she showed her depth with a 15-foot shot. She was able to score down low and she rebounded."

The Boilers took the lead to as many as 23 when Ostarello hit a layup near the 13-minute mark. But a 15-4 run by the Chippewas brought them to within 11. Ostarello had consecutive three-point plays, however, the second putting Purdue ahead 78-61 at 5:43 remaining.

It's the second straight game Purdue's responded when challenged. It did so vs. Georgia Tech on Wednesday, fighting back from an early deficit against the Yellow Jackets, then holding them off repeatedly in the second.

"We never feel like we have a weakness on the team, because everybody can score at any time," said Houser, who had five assists and her 19 points in only 20 foul-plagued minutes. "We have so many different plays to set up different people."

Purdue shot 49 percent from the field, including 63.6 percent in the first half, and it outrebounded CMU, 42-30. Mingo had an off-afternoon scoring, with only six points, but grabbed nine off the glass. The Boilers hit all but five of their 31 free throws, but did commit 19 turnovers.

But the Chippewas struggled to capitalize, hitting less than 40 percent and only 4-of-19 from distance.

The win avenges a loss last season to the Chippewas. Purdue, then No. 12, was upset on CMU's home floor last season, losing by 13 points.

"I think last year I said I wanted to throw up, it was so awful," Ostarello said. "It feels good now to get a good win."

Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2012. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing or using editorial or graphical content, in whole or in part, without permission, is strictly prohibited. E-mail GoldandBlack.com/Boilers, Inc.

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