If the Boilermakers could eliminate the first couple of minutes of each game, then they might feel more comfortable.
But as of now, Purdue will have to work on the slow starts. Its one on Saturday evening didn't hurt; despite not scoring in the first four minutes, the No. 18 Boilermakers easily disposed of USC Upstate, winning 82-47.
"We started off erratic again so we'll have to continue to work on that," Coach Sharon Versyp said. "I thought the second half we settled in, played some tough defense and did a variety of things. But when you play as many players as we played, you're going to have people going in out and maybe not have as much rhythm. Overall I thought we did a pretty decent job."
The Boilermakers had four in double-figures, led by KK Houser's 17. The junior point guard had four three-pointers, five assists against only a couple turnovers, with three steals and rebounds. Drey Mingo had 15, with six rebounds, in 23 minutes, while Courtney Moses and Taylor Manuel each chipped in 12 points.
The Boilermakers started slowly for the second consecutive game, repeating what they had done vs. Lindsey Wilson College. Then, Purdue was down 8-0; against USC Upstate, the Spartans led 9-5 after the first six minutes.
"We were just real anxious, we were forcing the ball," Versyp said. "We were throwing the ball where we weren't supposed to try and throw it. We need to have a mid-post and our post was in the low block area, which we didn't need. I thought our shots were erratic and we were forcing things.
"Around that 8-9 minute mark, we made some substitutions where players are used to playing with each other and they were able to do some good things. They shared the ball and we were able to get it inside to Drey. And when you score, your defense always picks up."
A 22-8 run over a seven-minute span saw the Boilermakers go from a three-point deficit to a nine-point edge. Purdue's lead was up to 13 by halftime.
Purdue cranked up the intensity defensively in the second half. The Spartans scored only 22 in the 20 minutes, and had 24 turnovers total.
"I think our defense played much better, but we started trapping the ball on ball screens," Versyp said. "We were able to get eight steals in the second half. We need to run. When we run we're really good and they did a fantastic job in the first half just having us settled in in the half court, we had to move the ball and we get anxious. We need to be more poised when it comes to that.
Purdue shot 47 percent for the game, with only 15 turnovers. Sam Ostarello had nine rebounds, with five points and a career-high five assists, to help the Boilermakers to a commanding 41-26 edge on the boards.
Although Purdue scored more than 80, Moses thought the Boilers could be better offensively, particularly with their shot selection.
"I think it's something that we still need a lot of work on," Moses said. "Every minute we're on the floor it's a new group we're working with and we're still getting used to each other. It's something we're working on every single day in practice, but as the game went on I feel like we're getting used to each other more and more."