WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — The Purdue women's basketball team ditched a three-game losing streak Thursday, rolling over visiting Illinois at Mackey Arena 72-50. Sophomore Karissa McLaughlin led the effort with 23 points, while classmate Tamara Farquhar chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds as the Boilermakers improved to 16-9 overall and 7-5 in Big Ten Conference play.
McLaughlin scored early and often, racking up eight points in the first quarter and went to the locker room with 14 at the half. Her 23-point effort was her fifth 20-point game of the season and seventh of her career, while her two 3-point field goals gave her 64 for the season, matching Purdue's sophomore season record. She also added five assists in the game, her 10th game with at least five this season, and became the fifth player in program history to dish out at least 100 assists in each of her first two seasons.
The Fighting Illini traded buckets with the Boilermakers early as the first quarter saw seven lead changes and two ties. Purdue had five early turnovers and surrendered six offensive rebounds in the opening quarter leading to 21 first-quarter points for Illinois and a one-point deficit. Things turned around in the second quarter as the Boilermaker defense put on one of its best efforts of the season.
Purdue held Illinois scoreless for 8:24 in the second, rolling out 15 straight points against the Illini and mounting a 35-20 lead. McLaughlin had six points in the second quarter, matched by freshman teammate Cassidy Hardin who drained a pair of 3's. Adding to the despair for Illinois was an injury to leading scorer Alex Wittinger, who missed the remainder of the game after playing only 11 minutes, and Purdue took a 37-26 advantage to the break.
Illinois battled out of the half, cutting Purdue's lead to seven, 41-34, on a triple from freshman Arieal Scott with 5:33 left in the third quarter. The Boilermakers responded again, reeling off a 12-0 run to stretch their edge to 19 points, capped by a pair of free throws from junior Dominique Oden in the final minute.
Farquhar did her damage to open the fourth quarter, sealing up the game with eight of Purdue's first 10 points of the final period. Her efforts were bolstered from a pair of fourth-quarter buckets from junior Ae'Rianna Harris as the Boilermakers' moved into a tie for fifth place with Northwestern in the conference standings.
Oden tallied 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists, moving into 21st place on the Boilermakers' all-time scoring list and passing former teammate Andreona Keys, while Harris posted her 10th double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds, setting the Boilermakers' junior class record.
Junior Ali Andrews was the lone bright spot for the Fighting Illni, posting a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds as her team lost its ninth straight and fell to 9-14 overall and 1-11 in conference play.
Purdue heads back on the road this weekend, set for a 3 p.m. ET tip at Pinnacle Bank Arena against Nebraska. The Boilermakers aim to avenge a home loss to the Cornhuskers on Jan. 31, and keep pace with the top of the Big Ten standings.
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