Purdue was able to keep a consistent rhythm on both sides of the floor to secure a 83-72 win against the Huskers Wednesday afternoon.
Senior center Fatou Diagne continued to provide a solid presence in the paint for the Boilers. At the start of the second half she scored Purdue's first two baskets of the quarter while grabbing another offensive rebound. She finished the game with 9 points and a season-best 17 rebounds.
"Fatou just plays hard," junior guard Kayana Traylor said. "She's able to rebound out of her area and be strong with the ball, which helps us run in transition and makes our offense better.
"Fatou has definitely improved in all areas, and you can definitely see her improvement in these past few games."
Though outsized for most of the game by Nebraska (3-3, 1-2) roster, Purdue was able to use strength and physicality to outrebound the Huskers by 10. The Boilers also made contested baskets in the paint and force 15 fouls on Nebraska.
Purdue's (5-2, 2-1) strength on defense forced the Huskers to look for answers on the perimeter for scoring. A strong Boilermaker defense stopped them there too, limiting them to four makes on 17 attempts from three.
The Boilers' 3-point shooters were able to take advantage of Nebraska miscues on defense, hitting 10 of their 22 shots from the perimeter.
Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp commented on just how effective the trio of Traylor, junior guard Brooke Moore and senior guard Karissa McLaughlin can be on the perimeter, calling them "dynamic" players who could rotate in and give the team a scoring punch at any moment.
Purdue continued spreading minutes out between several players, with nine of the 12 Purdue players hitting double-digit minutes with a max of 37 minutes.
McLaughlin was able to speak on her decision to return to the court this season despite her surgery, describing her offseason experience as a "rollercoaster" of events that gave her plenty of hurdles to clear.
"I thought it was a good decision to get into the groove of things and get back into playing basketball," McLaughlin said. "I thought that if I was able to play and get into some games, it was going to be best for the future of the team and allow me to bring something to the table for the season."
- McLaughlin ended the game with 13 points on 83% shooting in her second game of the season
- Traylor led the team in scoring with 21 points on 44% field goal shooting
- Diagne grabbed 17 rebounds in 25 minutes
- Purdue shot 48% from the field and 46% from three
- Of the 12 players who logged minutes, 10 of them scored at least 1 point
Purdue built its offense up with a hot early start on offense, lost it in the first quarter and shot its way to a 7-point lead against the Cornhuskers in the first half at 41-34.
Using improved ball movement on offense, the Boilers were able to find their veteran guards open for easy baskets.
They were able to make four of their first five shots, which included a put back from senior center Fatou Diagne after a missed Boiler shot.
Though Purdue were able to score early on the Cornhuskers, a string of missed shots and lapses on defense prevented the Boilers from taking a significant lead against the Huskers, and eventually lost them the lead with around four minutes in the first quarter.
Purdue bigs, Diagne and junior forward Tamara Farquhar, gave Purdue plenty of second-chance opportunities and had a commanding presence in the paint, as they collectively grabbed four offensive rebounds and 10 total rebounds while working against Nebraska's bigs for easy attempts at the basket.
After her recovery from an ankle injury, senior guard Karissa McLaughlin scored her first points of the season in the second quarter, nailing a three to give the Boilers a 5-point lead over the Huskers. She finished the half with 7 points.
Purdue was able to get plenty of its players involved in the first half, with 12 players logging minutes on an experienced Purdue roster, including freshman center Ra Shaya Kyle and freshman guard Madison Layden, who started her sixth game for the Boilers.
Junior guard Kayana Traylor leads the team in scoring with 10 points on 43% field goal percentage.