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January 5, 2013

Boilers escape in OT

Perhaps when Purdue plays Nebraska again, the game should simply start in overtime.

For the third straight game in this short but hotly contested series, the outcome wasn't settled until the teams played at least an extra session. But the Boilermakers, even after squandering a six-point lead with less than a minute to go in regulation, pulled out a 69-66 overtime victory Saturday, moving them to 2-0 in the Big Ten.

"Just a complete game by everybody," Coach Sharon Versyp said on her post-game radio interview. "This showed great heart and great work ethic by the ladies."

But three in particular stood out for No. 14 Purdue (13-2 overall, 2-0 in the Big Ten). Sam Ostarello scored 17 points with a career-high 19 rebounds, while Courtney Moses and Drey Mingo each also tied for team-high scoring honors.

Ostarello's triple - her first of the season - at 2:34 gave Purdue a two-point lead, spurring a Boilermaker run that put them up 59-53 with 50 seconds left. And Moses had a chance to extend the lead, but the 90-percent free throw shooter missed the front end of a one-and-one.

A Jordan Hooper three-pointer cut the deficit in half. Then, KK Houser had a chance to extend the lead back to two possessions, but the junior, who shoots 85 percent from the line, missed the first of a one-and-bonus.

Hooper again made the Boilers pay, hitting a three-pointer from the left wing to tie with 2.3 seconds left.

"I know Courtney and KK are very upset that they didn't win in it regulation," Versyp said. "They just needed to make one free throw, but we came back and showed grit, fought. This is big, winning here at Nebraska against a fantastic team."

The Boilermakers, who beat Illinois in OT Wednesday, took control early in overtime, leading by five with 2:22 left. But the No. 25 Cornhuskers (11-4, 1-1) rallied to tie with 59 seconds left. But Ostarello's jumper at the 26-second mark gave the visitors a two-point lead. And Houser could have iced the outcome with 16.1 seconds left, but she made only 1-of-2 free throws, giving Nebraska a chance. But Hooper's triple missed.

Houser, playing in her hometown, struggled offensively, hitting only 1-of-12 shots, but she had a career-high nine rebounds and five assists. It was Ostarello who continually came up big, and did so in front of friends and family who had bussed down from South Dakota.

"It was huge," Versyp said. "They need to get a bus to come to Mackey Arena every single time. She had great focus and they couldn't guard her, we talked about that and we kept going to her."

Purdue again struggled with turnovers, committing 17, but 13 came in the first half. The Boilers, who shot 39.3 percent from the floor, won 49-37 on the glass.

Lindsay Moore led the Huskers with 22 points, while Hooper added 15 and 14 rebounds.

Purdue led 8-0 and 13-1 in the opening minutes, as Nebraska missed its first 16 shots from the field. But the Boilers were up only 26-24 at the break.

And, unsurprisingly, it was close the rest of the way. Each of the three games in the series have gone to overtime, with Nebraska winning in triple OT in Mackey Arena last season; Purdue winning in two overtimes in the Big Ten championship; and now the Boilermakers needing an extra five for the rubber match.

Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2013. 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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