WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — For the first time this season, the Purdue women's basketball team featured five players in double featured five players in double figures, as the Boilermakers downed Illinois 81-67 at Mackey Arena.
Purdue (12-6, 3-3) improved to 8-1 at home this season behind a 47.7% shooting clip, including five 3-pointers. Karissa McLaughlin went 8-of-15 from the field with a pair of triples to lead the way with 23 points. Kayana Traylor joined in double figures with 15 points.
Ae'Rianna Harris, Dominique Oden and Jenelle Grant made significant contributions with 13, 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The Boilermakers jumped out in front early, outscoring the Illini (10-7, 1-5) 21-6 in the opening frame. Purdue shot 64.3% in the period with a trio of triples. Illinois managed to trim the gap down to three in the second quarter, before the Boilermakers closed the first half on an 8-0 run, capped off by an Grant to Harris alley-oop layup.
Purdue grew the lead to as many as 20 in the second half, but five second-half 3-pointers kept Illinois within striking distance. The visitors cut the gap to seven in the fourth quarter, but Purdue had an answer every time and closed the game out on a seven-point swing.
A trio of Boilermakers tallied five assists apiece. McLaughlin, Oden and Traylor contributed 15 of Purdue's 20 helpers on the night.
HITTING THE BOARDS
Purdue won the rebounding battle 49-31. The Boilermakers converted 13 offensive rebounds into 13 second-chance points. Harris continued her stellar work on the glass with a game-high 10 rebounds, while Oden added nine from the guard position. Perhaps the most telling stat of the night was that ever Boilermaker who played Thursday night recorded at least one rebound.
Head coach Sharon Versyp after the game….
Our whole team had great energy tonight. We just had a lot more openings against Illinois than we've had over the last couple of games. I thought we finished better in the paint. We were able to do the inside-outside today.
Versyp on Dominique Oden's defense…
It was very pivotal tonight. Someone has to step up in Tamara's absence. Dominique has done a good job, and Roxane can come in at times. Nique has taken on that challenge. We're trying to challenge everyone to make sure that other teams don't get comfortable doing what they do well.
• Purdue owns a 60-17 lead over the Fighting Illini with a 30-5 mark at Mackey Arena.
• Harris is now four rebounds away from breaking Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton's all-time rebounding mark of 968 boards.
• Harris also finished with four blocks to bring her within 11 rejections of taking over the Purdue blocks title.
• The win snapped a three-game losing skid for the Boilermakers, their longest of the year.
• The 21-point first quarter was Purdue second-highest opening frame this season.
• Karissa McLaughlin joined the 300-assist club as its 16th member.
• The Boilermakers dominated inside with a season-high 46 points in the paint.
• Purdue pushed the pace with a season-high 20 points on the fast break.
• Jenelle Grant has started the last three games and finished double figures in two of them.
• The last time the Boilermakers put five players in double figures was on March 7, 2019 against Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament.
• Primarily defended by Oden, Petra Holesinska scored just nine points. The Illinois guard ranked ninth in the Big Ten with 15.2 points per game entering Thursday night.
The Boilermakers will welcome Minnesota to Mackey Arena on Sunday for a 2 p.m. tipoff on BTN+.
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