Purdue opened up Big Ten conference play with a double digit loss, falling 70-54 to the Northwestern in Mackey Arena.
While the Boilermakers (3-2, 0-1) found some consistency on offense in the second half, they were never able to recover from a slow start. No. 16 Northwestern (3-0, 1-0) continued using its size and speed to beat the Boilers in the paint with 40 of the team's 70 points coming from there.
While Northwestern's paint presence was on of its main focal points in winning tonight's game, its aggressive defense continued to limit Purdue's ability to move the ball and find open shots. Purdue committed 27 turnovers with them being 15 steals. And the Boilers to shooting just 43% from the field.
"Every single player had turnovers," head coach Sharon Versyp. "We work on it every single day, but we didn't get a flow or any type of offense early on. We kept fighting, but we did not do a good job with executing the game plan and communicating."
Though the Boiler bigs were able to help them out-rebound the Wildcats, 34-33, Northwestern's 17 offensive rebounds and 16 second-chance points helped the Wildcats limit mistakes on offense and kept Purdue in a defensive battle in the paint.
"We didn't (have any)," Versyp said when asked about her team's interior defense. "We should have never allowed any penetration. They were able to get to the paint early on our defense, and that hurt us throughout the game."
Purdue's three captains were able to lead the team in many categories and show off their leadership skills throughout the game, combining for 29 points and 16 rebounds in 81 combined minutes of play.
Junior transfer Rokia Doumbia talked about her first game in the Big Ten and how it differentiated from SEC play, saying it felt great to be back out on the court after waiting the first four games for her chance to play.
"I was not surprised with the change in styles because I had been watching games," Doumbia said. "But it's still different from the SEC and you have to keep adjusting to that."
Fifth-year guard Jenelle Grant and junior guard Brooke Moore, usually two of Purdue's top scorers, combined for just 2 points on the night.
Moore talked about her mindset for next game and what they can build off of this game against Northwestern. She said the team has to keep playing hard, having effort and constantly communicating with each other if it wants to win.
Versyp had some comment's on what the team needed to do in the coming practices, saying the team has to learn from its mistakes this game and use their experience to work past other teams.
"We have to learn from Northwestern," Versyp said. "We've got to be ready tomorrow to get better on communication. Our focus right now is not beating ourselves, which is what we continue to do in gametime."
Rokia Doumbia finished the game with 2 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists in her first ever game as a Boiler.
Senior center Fatou Diagne led the team in scoring and rebounding with 13 and 9 respectively.
Purdue's starters combined for a total of 133 minutes on the floor.
Neither team was able to shoot higher than 43% from the field, 26% from three and 76% from the free throw line.
Northwestern had 29 points of turnovers to Purdue's 8.
The Boilermakers return to action at 2 p.m., Sunday when they travel to Penn State. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
After consistently getting into the paint and to the foul line, the Northwestern Wildcats lead the Purdue Boilermakers 40-29 at halftime.
Northwestern's offense sliced through Purdue's (3-1) defense to score 20 points in the paint, as the team used its superior size to beat the Boilers below the basket.
Though Purdue was able to limit Northwestern (2-0) to just three buckets from beyond the arc, its own three-point struggles from earlier in the season returned in this game. Purdue shot just 20% on ten attempts.
Fourteen Purdue turnovers and 13 fouls limited the team's ability to keep a consistent pace on offense, as it shot 26 shots for 42% to Northwestern's 35 for 40%. Those fouls sent Northwestern to the free throw line on six separate occasions, allowing the Wildcats to continue to build on their lead.
Senior center Fatou Diagne leads the Boilers in scoring and rebounding in her fifth start of the season, scoring 8 points and grabbing three rebounds.
Junior transfer Rokia Doumbia was able to play in her first game for Purdue, grabbing two rebounds and dishing two assists in four minutes on the floor.