Eventually, the Purdue train got on track.
Eventually, the 14th-ranked Boilermakers who had been taken to the mat in the first half by IPFW got a full head of steam and took care of the Mastodons 69-54 before 1,124 fans inside the Gates Center on Thursday.
From the Purdue perspective, it was still a 15-point win on a strange floor.
Through the IPFW eyes, the Mastodons were hammered 23-2 at the start of both halves and outscored Purdue 52-46 the rest of the time.
I went down to the locker room and I told the girls, I’m the last person to believe in moral victories,’ said junior forward Amanda Hyde, who scored 26 points for the Mastodons. I think the concept is stupid, to be honest. But if we play that hard, there’s no reason that we can’t compete and win the rest of the season.
Still, it was the hot starts in both halves that put Purdue over the top.
The Boilers jumped in front 12-0 to start the game, only to have IPFW dig into a tight zone defense that slowed Purdue.
With guard Haley Seibert chasing on the outside, the other four IPFW players played well below the free throw line.
It was packed, IPFW coach Chris Paul said of the zone. There were a couple players on Purdue’s team that don’t like to shoot the basketball, so we really dropped it in and we attacked that post hard.
IPFW got to within 24-22 and 26-24 before Purdue got a basket from the top of the key by Drey Mingo and a killer three from Courtney Moses with 5 seconds left in the half to take a 31-24 lead at the break.
Then coming out to start the second half, Purdue picked up where it left off – this time with an 11-2 run to go ahead 42-26.
Again, IPFW responded. Seibert drained two three-pointers, and Hyde, who was 14 of 14 from the free-throw line, hit four from the stripe – to get IPFW within 43-36. Purdue took off again and left IPFW in the dust with another 12-0 run.
Hyde, whose 26 matched the most points by an individual against Purdue this season (Georgia Tech’s Tyaunna Marshall had 26), added five rebounds, five assists and five steals.
They’re 8-1. They lost to UConn, Paul said of Purdue, which was led by Moses’ 19 points and Mingo’s 15 points and 11 rebounds. I feel pretty good about what we just did. I’m a competitor, and I want to win, but I feel pretty good about going toe-to-toe with them in our gym in front of a lot of people.