WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — Behind a career-high 34 points from Karissa McLaughlin, the Purdue women's basketball team picked up 77-64 win over Kent State in its return to Mackey Arena on Sunday. The junior scored the most points by a Boilermaker since 2018, as she accounted for 44% of Purdue's scoring output.
McLaughlin broke free of some early-season struggles with a 9-of-15 performance from the field, six 3-pointers a. Cassidy Hardin added a pair of makes from behind the arc to help the Boilermakers (7-2) finish with eight 3-pointers on a 44.4% clip. Purdue tallied its best shooting percentage of the year, a 45.3% mark.
Much of the Boilermakers' shooting success came by way of the extra pass. Led by four assists apiece from McLaughlin and Kayana Traylor, Purdue dished out 20 assists, a season high and the most since Nov. 18, 2018, against Purdue Fort Wayne.
The Boilermakers hit their stride in the second quarter, outscoring the Golden Flashes 19-8 in the frame. McLaughlin tallied 11 points, as Purdue went 6-of-14 from the floor with a quartet of triples. The Fort Wayne native capped off 9-0 to finish the half on a 65-foot heave with 0.5 seconds remaining to beat the buzzer.
Purdue opened up its largest lead with 1:49 remaining in the third quarter, a 17-point advantage, but Kent State hung around to cut it down to as little as eight points midway through the fourth. The Boilermakers did what they needed to at the charity stripe to keep lead insurmountable by going 13-of-16 over the final 10 minutes of the game.
Ae'Rianna Harris joined McLaughlin in double figures with 12 points, six of which came at the free throw line. Tamara Farquhar took down a team-high eight rebounds. Purdue had seven players dish out multiple assists.
Most importantly, the Boilermakers took care of the ball, committing a season-low 11 turnovers.
RISS DON'T MISS
McLaughlin bested her previous career high of 28 points set against Northwestern on Feb. 17. The junior's 34 points were the most since Andreona Keys went for 34 at Iowa on Jan. 13, 2018. Here are just a few more notes on McLaughlin's career day:
- Tied for the seventh most points in a game in program history.
- Finished three-points shy of the single-game junior record, held by MaChelle Joseph (Feb. 15, 1991, at Michigan State).
- Was a perfect 10-of-10 at the free throw line, also a career high.
- Tied Camille Cooper's 34 points against Oklahoma on March, 20, 2000, for the most scored by a Boilermaker at Mackey Arena.
- Was seven points shy Katie Gearlds single-game record of 41 points.
Head coach Sharon Versyp on McLaughlin…
I saw it coming, because she's been overwhelmed academically. Last week was really tough for her, and she only has one final this week. You could just see the pressure off her shoulders. She was very light yesterday. I didn't know that she would do what she did today, she's always able to score the ball and take pressure off others. She was really special today.
McLaughlin on the shot at the end of the first half…
At first, I questioned it. 'You really want me to shoot that?' and Coach told me to do it. Cass gave me a great pass, so it worked out great.
McLaughlin bouncing back…
I needed this game to get some confidence back. I really appreciate my teammates for uplifting me during the tough stretches. It was due. I came in last week and adjusted my shoot. It was really more about me thinking too much. I was wanting and wishing the ball to go in, instead of knowing that it would go in."
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