CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (UI Release) – Illinois cut No. 19 Purdue’s lead to two near the midpoint of the second half but a 12-2 run put the game out of reach as the Boilers notched an 80-68 win at State Farm Center on Monday. Jacqui Grant tied her career high with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting and Ivory Crawford notched her second career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Illinois drops to 9-11 overall, 2-5 in the Big Ten, while Purdue moves to 15-5, 5-3.
“I thought after the Michigan State game, that would be kind of a shot in the arm for us and we would come out and play with great energy and great joy, and we just didn’t do that for enough spurts tonight,” head coach Matt Bollant said. “For whatever reason we just didn’t, and that’s what we have to figure out is how to play with joy and energy and give to others, and get everybody doing it. We weren’t able to accomplish that tonight and part of that was Purdue being good, but we hurt ourselves at times, too.
“In the second half, Jacqui was really good. We need her to be consistent – it’s not easy to do as a freshman but she’s talented enough to do it – and she played a great second half. She’s a really talented player and will continue to help this program.”
Grant scored 15 of her 22 points in the second half, making 6-of-7 field goals and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line. She also grabbed six rebounds, blocked two shots and snagged two steals in 19 minutes in the second stanza. Crawford was nearly as active in the first half, scoring 10 points and hauling in eight rebounds. But she was limited in the second half when she picked up her fourth foul just 1:32 into the period.
Alexis Smith had another solid game at the point for Illinois, scoring 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting, totaling six assists, four steals and three rebounds in a full 40-minute effort. Amber Moore added 11 points and six boards for the Illini.
Illinois battled back from an early deficit to tie the game at 5 then Purdue went on a 15-4 run to pull out to a 20-9 advantage. But the Illini responded as Crawford made a jumper and Sarah Hartwell splashed a corner three. Crawford made 1-of-2 from the line to pull within 20-15.
After the teams traded buckets, Purdue’s April Wilson made a 15-footer but Crawford hit a three to cut Purdue’s lead to 24-20. The Boilers went on a 7-0 run, though, as Illinois missed three consecutive shots and made three turnovers, pushing out to a 31-20 advantage.
But the Illini scored the next seven points, cutting Purdue’s lead to four, with 3:00 left. The Boilers pushed it back to eight with less than a minute left but Smith drained a trey. Purdue’s April Wilson made one-of-two from the line to make it a 38-32 margin, then a strange situation occurred where the clock stopped with 10.1 seconds showing while Smith was dribbling at the top of the key, holding for the last shot. She turned the ball over and Purdue attempted to change ends, but the officials realized the timing issue and stopped play. After a video review, it was determined that time had expired.
Purdue pushed its lead to nine with a Liza Clemons jumper and a three-point play from KK Houser sandwiched around a Smith layup to start the second half. After Crawford picked up her fourth foul with 18:28 to play, Grant laid one in then followed with a 15-footer to pull within 45-40. The teams traded baskets on three trips up and down the court, leaving the Boilers up 54-47. Moore drained a trey to pull within four and fource a Purdue timeout, but Courtney Moses hit a runner in the lane.
After a media timeout, Moore found Grant on a pick-and-roll, which Grant finished with an eight-foot jumper, then after a missed three by Houser, Smith found an open Grant along the baseline for an open 12-footer, pulling Illinois within 56-54 with 10:44 left. But Purdue responded with a 12-2 run that made its advantage 68-56, as the Illini went 0-for-5 from the field with three turnovers over a scoreless stretch of 3:35.
The Illini twice pulled within nine in the final 6:11 but three straight turnovers kept them from gaining any momentum as Purdue four free throws to push the lead to 13 with 4:04 remaining. Crawford cut it to 74-63 with 3:45 left but that was as close as Illinois would get as the Boilers took the 80-68 win.
Illinois next travels to Ohio State to face the Buckeyes (13-10, 3-4) Thursday at 6 p.m. CT. The Illini won in Columbus in 2013 behind Karisma Penn’s career-high 34 points and 12 rebounds.
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