No. 25 Michigan State's lockdown defense earned it a 71-64 win over the Purdue Boilermakers in a defensive slugfest Sunday in Mackey Arena.
Purdue's (5-3, 2-3 Big Ten) shooting struggles continued into the second half, shooting 25% from the field and 33% from three in the third quarter.
Despite inefficient shooting, the Boilermakers were able to close the gap with their defense, forcing the Spartans (8-0, 3-0 Big Ten) to make two of their first ten shots and shoot 40% from the field overall.
Other than during the first four minutes of the game, Purdue was never able to take the lead. The Spartans led by 12 at half. The Boilers were able chip away at the lead with fouls and free throws allowed them to get within 3 points of Michigan State at the end of the third quarter after a 15-2 run.
Though the Boilers were initially able to close the gap and bring themselves within striking distance of the Spartans, another cold slump brought the Spartan's lead up to 5 points, a lead they would never relinquish.
Junior guard Kayana Traylor gave Purdue a consistent presence on the free throw line, drawing fouls and shooting 10 for 13 from the line.
"Kayana had a great game," head coach Sharon Versyp said. "She has great speed, is able to break down defenders, and is overall very difficult to defend. There's a huge amount of leadership on her part."
Senior guard Karissa McLaughlin spoke on the impact her and the other experienced guards on the team have on games with their three-point shooting after she overtook Katie Gearlds for second place in all time three-pointers made during the game.
"I think (experienced guard scoring) makes an impact," McLaughlin said. "I think it builds confidence in everyone else on the team knowing that (the guards) can create three point shots for everyone.
"I hope I'm able to get first place all-time, but I hope my teammates can get right along with it."
Versyp was able to cover what she felt like she needed to carry over into her next game and the season going forward, saying the team needed to be tougher on the interior and secure rebounds whenever possible.
"We have to be tough," Versyp said. "We have to be able to grab rebounds, continue going for lose balls, and continue taking care of the ball and not let loose balls happen."
• The Boilers return to action at 7 p.m., Thursday, when they host Rutgers. The game will be broadcast by the Big Ten Network.
Traylor led the Boilers in scoring with 16 points.
Junior guard Nia Clouden led the Spartans with a game-high 23 points.
Both teams combined for 69 rebounds and 55 free throws.
Purdue shot 22 of 27 from the free throw line.
Nine players on Purdue's roster scored at least one shot.
Michigan State leads Purdue 37-25 after scoring issues limited the Boilermaker's chances of taking the lead in the first half of Sunday's game.
The Boilers opened strong offensively after a barrage of long range shots fell for several Purdue players, including Purdue's experienced scoring guards and senior forward Tamara Farquhar. They hit every one of their first four shots with an assist on every one of their shots.
Though the Boilers were able to initially find success from long range, problems with interior shots and offensive rebounding eventually gave Michigan State (7-0, 2-0 Big Ten) enough chances to tie the game and eventually take the lead.
Purdue shot 35% from the field and 14% from 3-point range while hitting four of its last 17 shots of the first half.
The Boilers also had issues with turnovers and fouls as the second quarter went on, giving the ball up 10 times and committing 11 fouls.
Senior guard Karissa McLaughlin made her first start of the season against the Spartans, providing another outside scoring option for Purdue along with the rest of the team's experienced guards. She has two points in the first half.
Junior guard Kayana Traylor leads the Boilers in scoring with 6 points.