No. 21 Purdue 74, No. 24 Nebraska 70

After four games in four days, then two overtimes, Nebraska

finally gave out.

Lindsey Moore scored 27 points and Jordan Hooper added 25 for

Nebraska, but the 24th-ranked Cornhuskers couldn’t overcome No. 21

Purdue’s depth and toughness in a 74-70 loss in the Big Ten

tournament final on Sunday.

The sixth-seeded Cornhuskers (24-8) had lost four of six to end

the regular season, but averaged 82 points in their three

tournament wins to reach the final.

”I think it says a lot about the type of team we are, the fact

that we can play four games in four days and go into double

overtime and still be right there,” Moore said. ”We had plays

down the stretch where if we had executed or done something

differently, got stops on defense, the outcome could be different

for us.”

The Cornhuskers were trying to become the first team to win the

tournament with four victories. The Big Ten newcomers were also

seeking their first tournament title of any kind in their new

league.

Purdue prevented that, in part, by outrebounding the Cornhuskers

51-40.

”That was a hard-fought game, and they played a great

tournament,” Nebraska coach Connie Yori said. ”And they deserve

the crown.”

Purdue’s KK Houser, a guard from Lincoln, Neb., had 19 points

and five steals against her hometown team. Chantel Poston had 10

points, 11 rebounds and five blocks and Sam Ostarello added eight

points and 10 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Boilermakers (24-8),

who won the tournament for the eighth time in 17 years. Purdue’s

Brittany Rayburn, who scored nine points and hit the game winner in

the semifinal victory against Penn State, was named the

tournament’s most outstanding player.

Nebraska won the regular-season game 93-89 in triple overtime in

West Lafayette.

Purdue led 73-70 in the closing seconds of the second overtime

and Nebraska had a chance to tie, but Moore missed everything on an

off-balance fadeaway 3-pointer that Poston rebounded. Poston made

the second of two free throws to clinch the win for the

Boilermakers.

Purdue dominated for much of the first half and led by 11 at one

point, but Moore made an underhanded, off-balance bucket in the

closing seconds of the first half to tie the score at 27 at the

break. Hooper had 12 points and five rebounds at halftime for

Nebraska while Houser had nine points at halftime for Purdue.

Rayburn scored just two points in the first half and played just

eight minutes because of foul trouble.

A pair of free throws by Houser put the Boilermakers up 47-41

with just more than 7 minutes to play. A steal and reverse layup by

Houser made it 49-43, and another steal by Houser led to a bucket

by Ostarello and pushed the lead to eight.

Nebraska wasn’t ready to concede. Hooper and Moore made

3-pointers to cut Purdue’s lead to 53-51 with 1:45 remaining.

Houser came back with a 3, then Nebraska’s Emily Cady swished a

3 to trim Purdue’s lead to 56-54 with 51 seconds to play.

Rayburn fouled Moore with 28.5 seconds remaining, and Moore made

both free throws to tie the score.

With the score tied at 56 in the final seconds, Moses drove to

the hoop, but Hooper blocked her shot and got the rebound, giving

the Huskers 1.3 seconds. Hooper missed a desperation shot, forcing

overtime.

In the first overtime, Nebraska’s Kaitlyn Burke missed an open

3-pointer with 5 seconds left and the score tied. Moses’ heave from

near halfcourt was blocked at the buzzer, forcing the fifth

overtime period between the teams this season.

”I don’t know what else we can ask of our kids, in terms of our

effort, you know, playing 50 minutes after already have played

three games previously,” Yori said. ”I think it says a lot about

our kids’ toughness.”

Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cliffbruntap