ESTERO, Fla. (Purdue Sports) — The Purdue women's basketball team punched its ticket to the championship game of the Gulf Coast Showcase on Saturday night with a gritty 59-52 win over Arizona State. The Boilermakers outlasted the Sun Devils in a defensive clash to notch the sixth 6-0 start in program history.
Purdue never allowed Arizona State (4-2) to settle into a rhythm offensively, holding the Sun Devils to 27.9% shooing and just 3-of-16 from behind the arc. It was the third time this season the Boilermakers held an opponent under 30% shooting.
Despite an early 6-1 run out of the gates, the Boilermakers needed to regroup from an eight-point deficit after the first quarter, and they bounced back in a big way. Scoring 23 points over the next period, Purdue rolled off a 21-7 run to take a four-point lead into the break. Seniors Ae'Rianna Harris and Dominique Oden carried the load with 17 first-half points.
Purdue never relinquished the lead the rest of the night, opening the gap to as many as 10 early in the fourth quarter. Arizona State made a late charge in the final two minutes to cut the lead down to three with 1:41 to play. Tamara Farquhar grabbed an offensive rebound and converted a traditional 3-point play with 51 seconds remaining to put the game out of reach.
The Boilermakers held the Sun Devils to just 2-of-10 shooting over the final five minutes of the game.
Oden paced Purdue with a game-high 16 points, including a 6-of-9 mark from the free throw line. Harris also hit double figures with 12 points and added eight rebounds. Farquhar totaled eight board, split evenly between the offensive and defensive ends.
With 3:03 to play in the second quarter, Harris blocked a layup by Kiara Russell. That rejection made Harris the first player in program history to join the 300-blocks club. Already the program's career record holder, the Indianapolis native was the fifth player in Big Ten history to accomplish the feat.
The reigning two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year is currently second on the NCAA's active blocked shots leaderboard, trailing Merrimack's Denia Davis-Stewart by nine.
Head coach Sharon Versyp after the game…
"I'm really excited about this win. We got knocked down in the first quarter, and we came back and fought. We outmuscled them. I'm so proud of the physical way we played. The tenacity we played with was incredible. We matched everything they did and took it to another level. We executed our gameplan well tonight and hit our free throws when we needed them."
• Saturday was the first meeting between Purdue and Arizona State. The Boilermakers are 147-55 in inaugural meetings.
• A night after dropping nine 3-pointers against Drake, Purdue did not find the bottom of the net on any outside attempts. The last time the Boilermakers did not hit a 3-pointer was back on Feb. 28, 2015, against Michigan State.
• Purdue was held under 60 points for the first time this season, while the Sun Devils were the sixth opponent to score fewer than 60 points against the Boilermakers.
• The 23-point second quarter was the fourth time Purdue score more than 20 points in a period this season.
• The Boilermakers are averaging 18.6 points per second quarter.
• The win on Saturday night gave head coach Sharon Versyp her 399th career victory.
• Oden moved into a tie with Courtney Moses for 13th on the career double-figure scoring list with 81.
• It was the 48th in program history the Boilermakers failed to convert a 3-pointer.
• Fatou Diagne nabbed six rebounds and scored four points in 15 minutes of action.
Purdue will face No. 22/21 Gonzaga in the championship game Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. The Boilermakers are 2-0 all-time against the Bulldogs with the last meeting back on Dec. 19, 2007. The last time Purdue won a non-conference tournament was in 2017 at the Basketball Traveler's Inc. Invitational.