WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — The Purdue women's basketball team knocked off its second ranked opponent of the season Thursday, edging out No. 17 Iowa in Mackey Arena 62-57. The Boilermakers executed a masterful defensive game plan, holding the Hawkeyes to their lowest-scoring game of the season and 25 points under their season average as Purdue improved to 12-5 overall and 3-1 in Big Ten Conference play.
Iowa came to Mackey Arena averaging 82.2 points per game as the No. 17 scoring offense in the NCAA and featured the nation's No. 1 scorer in senior forward Megan Gustafson. Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp threw a variety of defensive looks at the Hawkeyes and slowed them in transition, holding Iowa to its lowest scoring total of the season, and holding Gustafson under the 20-point mark for just the third time this year. Iowa's 25 first-half points were its lowest opening half since the beginning of the 2016-17 season against South Dakota State.
"We tried to control the tempo, forcing them to use as much of the shot clock as possible when we were on defense, and then executing and making them work on the other end of the floor," said Versyp. "Gustafson is one of the best players in the country and we knew we had our hands full with her, so we tried to mix up our looks, run different players at her and keep her guessing on offense. We tried to attack her on the other end of the floor, especially (freshman Kayana Traylor) in the second half, which was key in getting her to foul out."
Junior Dominique Oden and sophomore Karissa McLaughlin paced the Boilermakers with 16 points each, including 10 in the first half from McLaughlin and 12 in the second half from Oden. It was Oden who started rallying the Boilermakers from an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit, canning a triple at the 5:45 mark, and Traylor and junior Ae'Rianna Harris followed her lead with the next seven points to even the count at 52-52 with 3:48 left.
The Boilermakers forced an Iowa turnover on the next possession and McLaughlin gave the Boilermakers the lead for good with a triple in the right corner to make it 55-52 with three minutes left. Gustafson fouled out two possessions later, and Oden pushed the Purdue lead to five, 58-53 with a free throw and highlight-reel putback after missing the second free throw.
Iowa rallied to within one on their next two possessions, 58-57 with 30 seconds to play, but were hit with an unsportsmanlike foul with 11 seconds left as they intentionally fouled Purdue sophomore Tamara Farquhar away from the ball, giving Purdue two free throws and the ball. The Boilermakers knocked down four more free throws down the stretch and sealed up the victory, improving to 10-1 at home on the season.
Traylor and Farquhar joined their teammates in double figures with 12 and 11 points apiece, while Traylor added four assists and four rebounds, while Farquhar had eight rebounds and a steal. Despite scoring only seven points, Harris pulled down 11 rebounds and had three blocks, moving to No. 14 in Big Ten history with her 237th career rejection.
The Boilermakers outrebounded the Hawkeyes 36-30, holding Iowa to only five offensive rebounds, and cashed in 15-of-20 at the free throw line, including 13-of-18 in the second half. Purdue only grabbed nine offensive boards of its own but made the most of them with 13 second chance points.
Gustafson finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds for Iowa, which fell to 11-4 (2-2 B1G), connecting on 9-of-13 from the field. Fellow senior Hannah Stewart was the only other Hawkeye in double figures with 17 points and six boards. Both senior Tania Davis and junior Kathleen Doyle had seven assists as Iowa assisted on 19 of its 23 made field goals.
Purdue heads out on the road this weekend, set for a 5 p.m. ET tip at Northwestern on Sunday, which will air live on the Big Ten Network.