Whilby, Purdue top Illinois in Big Ten tournament opener

The Purdue women's basketball team advanced through the opening round of the 2019 Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday, earning a 72-60 win over No. 14 seed Illinois at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Posted: Mar. 6, 2019 10:55 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — The Purdue women's basketball team advanced through the opening round of the 2019 Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday, earning a 72-60 win over No. 14 seed Illinois at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Four different Boilermakers scored in double figures, led by sophomores Karissa McLaughlin and Lyndsey Whilby with 17 and 14, respectively, and Purdue moves on to face No. 6 seed Nebraska on Thursday at approximately 9 p.m. ET.

The Boilermakers led nearly the whole way Wednesday, surrendering the lead for only 19 seconds, but made most of their moves in the second half as they held the Illini to just 10 points in the third quarter and stretched their lead to as many as 21 early in the fourth. The tandem of sophomore Tamara Farquhar and freshman Nyagoa Gony were huge for Purdue in the third quarter as Farquhar had six points and seven rebounds in the period, while Gony pulled down five of her seven boards in the frame as well.

McLaughlin hit three triples Wednesday, extending her season total to 83, good for second-most in a season in Purdue history, in addition to posting four assists against no turnovers. Whilby scored points in bunches, erupting for eight in the second quarter and draining back-to-back 3's in the fourth as the Boilermakers put the game away.

Joining them in double figures were juniors Ae'Rianna Harris and Dominique Oden with 13 points apiece, while Harris added nine rebounds and Oden chipped in three steals. Farquhar finished with eight points and eight rebounds and freshman Kayana Traylor had seven points and seven assists.

Purdue dominated the glass, outrebounding Illinois 43-25, which led to a 17-7 advantage on second-chance points. The Boilermakers also made the most of their opportunities at the charity stripe, hitting 16-of-19 and outscoring Illinois by 11 at the free throw line.

The Boilermakers aim to avenge a pair of regular-season losses to the Cornhuskers tomorrow and advance to the tournament quarterfinals.

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