No. 16 Purdue women can’t keep up with No. 2 Duke

Purdue was able to go into Cameron Indoor Stadium and give No. 2

Duke more trouble than it wanted for about 30 minutes.

However, the 16th-ranked Boilermakers couldn’t keep up with the

deeper Blue Devils over the last 10.

K.K. Houser scored 20 points, April Wilson had 14 and Whitney

Bays 11 in Purdue’s 99-78 loss to Duke on Thursday night in a Big

Ten/ACC Challenge game.

”I thought our first half we played the best basketball we’ve

played all year,” Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said of her team’s

44-41 lead at the break. ”Then in the second half when we were

down by four we went and missed three layups in a row and they got

a 12-point lead.

”And then our shooting percentage in the second half (28.1) was

very poor, and that allowed them to kill us by 13 rebounds.”

Alexis Jones had 22 points to lead six players in double figures

as the Blue Devils gave coach Joanne P. McCallie her 499th career

victory.

Chelsea Gray added 16 points for Duke (9-0) while forward Haley

Peters, who had sat out four games with a hyperextended knee, and

Elizabeth Williams finished with 14 each. Tricia Liston added 13

and Richa Jackson 11.

The Blue Devils, who lead the series 6-3, are 6-1 in ACC/Big Ten

Challenge games while the Boilermakers (5-2) dropped to 1-6.

Duke shot 56 percent to Purdue’s 39 percent and won the

rebounding matchup 46-33.

”From a team perspective the second half was more what we were

looking for defensively, rebounding-wise and also scoring-wise and

attacking,” McCallie said. ”I loved the fact that we had 27

free-throw (attempts, hitting 18) and were so aggressive.

”And we went to the rack very hard. Chelsea (six rebounds) did

it, Alexis (seven rebounds) did it and Elizabeth (six) did it,

really kind of pushing through. I thought that was excellent.”

The Blue Devils had their first halftime deficit of the season,

after Purdue shot 50 percent and Duke 48.6 over the first 20

minutes. The Boilermakers gave Duke its largest deficit of the

season at 26-17 on a three-point play from Bays with 11:07 to go in

the half.

”In the first half we were taking advantage of being a little

quicker than their guards,” said Houser, who had 12 points at

halftime and finished with five of her team’s 10 steals. ”We had a

few open shots and better shot selection.

”But they adjusted and we didn’t adjust to how they adjusted.

We need to play a solid 40 minutes – take care of the ball down the

stretch and then just better shot selection.”

Purdue led 57-56 after Bays’ layup with 14:47 to go. But the

fresher Blue Devils took the lead at 14:23 on a three-point play

from Jones, extending the run to 18-5 with two 3s from Peters and

one from Gray.

”We only played 30 minutes this game, and we have to play the

whole 40,” Wilson said. ”Duke’s depth played a big factor. But

fatigue shouldn’t be an excuse at this point. We should have had a

lot of depth, too.”

Duke will try to get McCallie, who has 183 losses, her 500th win

in a trip to No. 17 Oklahoma on Sunday.

Peters, who resumed full workouts on Tuesday after suffering the

injury Nov. 21 against Vanderbilt, said the knee feels pretty good

for now.

”Once it warmed up I didn’t really feel it at all,” she said.

”I think it might have affected my shooting mentally a little bit,

but it didn’t hurt.