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February 24, 2013

Boilers end skid in Minnesota





For the first half Sunday, Purdue's defense looked far too much like it had recently.

But for the last 20, the Boilermakers locked down Minnesota, and star guard Rachel Banham, rallying for a 75-63 victory that broke a two-game losing streak.

Banham had 17 in the first, helping the hosts to a 40-36 lead, but scored just four in the second as No. 22 Purdue (20-7 overall, 9-5 in the Big Ten) rallied.

"We just really focused on not letting her go right," assistant Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton said in a post-game radio interview of Banham. "When she goes right, she shoots at a very high percentage. She was making some tough shots in the first half. … We just made sure we forced her left and then doubled her a little bit more. We were a little more aggressive and might have gotten her frustrated. We contained her to 21, which is her average, so we did a good job."

Purdue, which got a game-high 23 points from Courtney Moses, pulled ahead by six in the second half on KK Houser's triple at 12:49. The margin was the same two minutes later, when the junior guard hit a jumper.

The scores were part of a 9-2 run over a six-minute span of the second half.

Minnesota's offense, which had scored 40 in the first half on 50-percent shooting, was nearly nonexistent down the stretch. After taking a 50-49 lead at 14:03, the Gophers (16-12, 5-9) scored only 13 more points.

But after building the lead to as many as seven, Minnesota scored five straight in only 1:23 to get within two on Banham's jumper at 4:16. It was two again at 3:31, when Micaella Riche, who had 13 points and nine rebounds, hit a jump shot. But Houser, who had seven assists along with 14 second-half points, on a nifty interior pass to Dee Dee Williams for a layup.

"She did a good job of facilitating and running the team," Wisdom-Hylton said. "I think that's what we needed her to do. Her points will come but when she distributes the ball and tells everyone where to go, we win."

And after a couple missed Gopher opportunities, Drey Mingo scored on two free throws, stretching the lead to six at 1:16.

Moses, who had slumped of late, scored 17 of her 23 in the first half, hitting 7-of-13 shots overall, including three three-pointers.

"We had Courtney Moses back," Wisdom-Hylton said. "We had kind of been in a little shooting slump the last few games, but came out today and proved that wrong."

Purdue, which shot 49 percent and had only 10 turnovers in perhaps one of its best offensive performances of the season, got 14 from Mingo. Sam Ostarello had her 10th double-double of the season, with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Gophers shot only 29.4 percent in the second half, while scoring 23 points. The defense helped Purdue rebound after a stretch that had seen it win only one of its last five.

"They wanted to come in this game and prove themselves, get back to Purdue basketball," Wisdom-Hylton said.




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