Purdue women’s basketball lost a close game, 87-81, at Iowa late Monday afternoon.
It was the Boilermakers’ (5-6, 2-5 Big Ten) fourth straight defeat, after tough blowout losses to then-No. 7 Maryland and then-No. 16 Indiana and a close loss to then-No. 25 Michigan State.
It was a close game for much of the first half as both teams traded 3-pointers on offense. Purdue freshman guard Madison Layden was 3-for-3 from distance, including two straight corner 3s in the second quarter.
Senior center Fatou Diagne led the Boilermakers in scoring at the half with 10 points and three rebounds, all of which came on offense. Diagne created open looks by cutting through the middle of the Hawkeye (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten) defense to the basket, where her size and length gave her an advantage.
Iowa’s up-tempo offense surged back as the half came to a close, going on a 13-6 run that gave the Hawkeyes a 44-39 lead. Despite winning the turnover battle and converting four more field goals than Iowa, the Boilermaker defense couldn’t prevent the Hawkeyes from scoring on fast breaks, both at the rim and on pull-up 3s.
Iowa (9-3, 5-3) converted 13 of 14 free throws in the first half, while Purdue made no free throws in the first half and shot only two.
Both offenses started the second half missing shots, with the Hawkeyes slowly building their lead to as much as eight halfway through the third. But Layden kept Purdue in the game by making three consecutive 3-pointers, bringing her to a perfect 6-for-6 from deep to that point.
Layden’s six converted 3-pointers tied her for the freshman record for 3s in a game. The freshman forward finished the night with 19 points on 6-for-7 shooting. All of her shots came from 3-point territory.
Diagne continued to display her versatility late in the fourth quarter during a late game Boilermaker surge. She laid the ball in after a sharp cut to the basket, stole an offensive rebound that led to another Boilermaker basket, and hit a bank shot from just inside the free-throw line.
She finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, her first double-double of the season.
Hawkeye guard Caitlin Clark displayed an array of offensive moves to create space and zoom past Boilermaker defenders, scoring 26 points to lead her team. The guard, a seven-time Big Ten freshman of the week, was coming off a 27-point performance in the Hawkeyes’ overtime loss to Ohio State.
Iowa’s attack, particularly the aggressive drives by Clark, created open looks and trips to the free-throw line. The Hawkeyes finished the night 25-31 from the line, while the Boilermakers attempted only nine free throws.
Despite Clark and teammate McKenna Warnock’s combined 45 points, Purdue’s sprawling defense helped the team fight back and tie the game midway through the fourth.
A step-back 3 from Purdue junior guard Kayana Traylor evened the game. Clark was stripped the next Iowa possession, leading to a fast break layup for senior forward Tamara Farquhar that gave the Boilermakers their first lead since early in the second quarter.
The team built a 6-point lead before seeing it evaporate in the wake of a 13-0 run by the Hawkeyes to close the game. Holding a 7-point lead with under a minute to play, Iowa was able to hold the ball, wait to be fouled and drain the clock.
The Boilers return to Mackey Arena Thursday evening to face Wisconsin at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on BTN+.