WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — The Purdue women's basketball team dropped its Big Ten Conference opener to the reigning league co-champion and No. 16/18 Northwestern on Thursday night at Mackey Arena, 70-54.
Despite a 42.9% shooting clip, Purdue (3-2, 0-1) could not find its rhythm from the outside, going 3-of-16 from behind the arc. Turnovers played the difference on the night. The Boilermakers had 27 giveaways which turned into 29 Northwestern (3-0, 2-0) points.
To counter the giveaways, Purdue forced Northwestern into committing a season-high 14 turnovers and recording a season-best 10 steals. The Boilermakers could only manage nine points off the Wildcats giveaways.
Fatou Diagne was the lone Boilermaker in double figures with a career-high 13 points to go with nine rebounds, just missing her third career double-double. Kayana Traylor tallied nine points, three assists and three rebounds.
The Wildcats were led offensively by Veronica Burton's 27 points, while three others joined her in double figures, as Northwestern shot 40% on the night.
Purdue stayed within striking distance for much of the first half, shooting 42% from the field. The Boilermakers answered most Northwestern runs with key field goals or defensive stops, scoring seven points off seven Wildcat turnovers.
Purdue managed to pull the deficit back down to 12 early in the fourth with a 6-0 run from the freshman duo of Ra Shaya Kyle and Madison Layden, but Northwestern's defense limited Purdue to five points over the final six minutes of the game to hold on.
• Purdue leads the all-time series with Northwestern 50-24.
• Purdue dished out 14 assists on 21 made field goals. Seven different Boilermakers recorded at least one helper, with five recording two or more.
• Junior Rokia Doumbia made her Purdue debut after receiving a waiver for immediate eligibility Wednesday morning.
• Doumbia went for two points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal.
• The Boilermakers matched their season high
• Cassidy Hardin went 2-of-8 from the field, including one of Purdue's three 3-pointers. Her mid-range jumper with 2:46 to play in the third was just the eighth 2-point field goal of her career.
• Purdue went 9-of-11 at the line, both season lows.
• Madison Layden recorded her first career block.
Purdue will hit the road for the first time in 2020-21 Sunday for a contest at Penn State. Tip is set for 2 p.m. on Big Ten Network.