Feb 10, 2004
By CHUCK SCHOFFNER
AP Sports Writer
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Shereka Wright scored 21 of her season-high 34 points in the second half and freshman Katie Gearlds added a career-best 32, leading fifth-ranked Purdue to a 90-79 victory over Iowa on Tuesday night.
Purdue (20-2, 10-1 Big Ten) won its 11th straight game by pulling away after Iowa, which trailed by 12 late in the first half, got to within a point just after the break.
Wright, constantly beating her defender whether off the dribble or moving without the ball, made sure the Hawkeyes (12-9, 6-4) never got the lead. She scored 13 of the Boilermakers’ first 16 points in the second half, finishing that burst with two free throws for a 58-50 lead.
A turnaround by Gearlds and a bank shot by Lindsey Hicks stretched the lead to 62-50, and Iowa was never closer than seven after that.
Jennie Lillis led Iowa with 23 points and Kristi Faulkner scored 17.
Wright, whose career high is 40, made 13 of 24 shots and added six rebounds, three blocks and two steals. And when she wasn’t scoring, Gearlds was knocking shots down.
Gearlds, scoreless in Sunday’s game with Ohio State, matched her previous high with 17 points in the first half. She went 12-for-16 from the field, made all four of her 3-point shots and looked like someone who could score any time she felt like it.
Gearlds’ rainbow 3-pointer from the left corner gave Purdue a 77-65 lead with 4:35 remaining. Iowa’s Crystal Smith scored on a putback and hit a 3-pointer to draw the Hawkeyes to 77-70, but they couldn’t capitalize when Purdue went scoreless on three straight possessions after Wright sank two free throws for a 79-70 lead.
Purdue finally secured the victory with breakaway layups by Wright and Erika Valek and four free throws by Gearlds.
Purdue was on the verge of blowing out Iowa in the first half. Gearlds, 0-for-3 against Ohio State, hit three 3-pointers and scored 17 points during a nine-minute stretch to help Purdue open a 40-28 lead.
But Lillis brought the Hawkeyes back with seven straight points, finishing her run with a 3-pointer that cut the lead to 40-35. Faulkner’s 3-pointer left Iowa trailing 42-38 at halftime and when Jamie Cavey scored the first three points of the second half, the Hawkeyes were down just 42-41.
Wright then picked off a pass and sailed in for layup, returning the momentum to Purdue.