Jan. 15, 2012
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By ADAM MEIER
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — No. 17 Purdue held off an upset bid by the University of Iowa women’s basketball team, downing the Hawkeyes, 57-55, Sunday afternoon inside Mackey Arena.
The loss lowers Iowa’s record to 10-8 overall and 2-3 in Big Ten play, while Purdue won its eighth straight to improve to 15-3 overall and 5-0 in conference play.
“We battled back,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. “That’s hard to do on the road, especially against a very good team.
“Purdue did a nice job defensively. They clogged the lane pretty well and took away our penetration to the basket. We didn’t get many good penetration looks and that’s a big part of our basketball game.”
The Hawkeyes trailed by as many as 14 points, but continued competing and managed to claw back into the game despite being banged up in the tough environment.
Midway through the first half, junior Morgan Johnson rolled her ankle after coming down from a rebound and was forced to leave the game. During the five-minute stretch that Johnson was sidelined, the Hawkeyes failed to score a single point and fell behind 25-13 with less than seven minutes remaining in the first half.
With a freshly tapped ankle, Johnson returned to the game and scored eight quick points to spark a 15-7 run over the final 6:32, closing the halftime deficit to 32-28.
“Morgan was a huge factor,” said Bluder. “The first half — she goes out, and we go into that scoring drought. Then she comes back in, and we go up. Our team has a lot of confidence in Morgan, and she’s been playing well.”
Johnson led the Hawkeyes in scoring with 16 points. The junior also grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots.
The energized Hawkeyes continued to surge into the early portions of the second half. Junior Jamie Printy led off the scoring with a driving layup and foul. Printy missed her free throw, but the loose ball found its way to an open Kelly Krei, who drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Hawkeyes a 33-32 lead — their first of the game.
Printy finished with 15 points, and Krei added 10.
Iowa built its lead to 39-34 with 15:05 left in the game, but then relinquished it after enduring a 14-0 Purdue run that spanned nearly five minutes. The Hawkeyes trailed by as many as nine points in the second half, but continued to battle, and after Printy knocked down a long 3-pointer as the shot clock expired, the Hawkeyes were within three points with 4:31 left to play.
Trailing 54-51 with a little over a minute remaining, the Hawkeyes cranked up the defense and were able to force a turnover, which led to a Kamille Wahlin breakaway layup. The defense then forced a stop on Purdue’s next trip down to get the ball back down by one. Posting up at the elbow, Krei drew a foul and made both free throws to give Iowa a 55-54 lead with 37 seconds left.
Alex Guyton earned a trip to the charity stripe for Purdue and made the first of two free throws, but missed the second. The Hawkeyes, however, failed to come up with the defensive rebound, allowing Purdue’s Brittany Rayburn to secure it and draw a foul. Rayburn made both free throws, giving the Boilermakers a 57-55 lead with 17 seconds to play.
“We just didn’t box out,” said Bluder. “That was really the reason why we didn’t win this game. We didn’t box out, and didn’t get to the free throw line enough.”
Iowa allowed 24 offensive rebounds and shot 7-of-10 from the charity line.
The Hawkeyes were unable to get a clean look at the basket on their last possession, and Krei’s desperation 3-pointer fell short as time expired.
The Hawkeyes return home to face Wisconsin on Thursday night beginning at 7 p.m.