Despite a furious fourth-quarter comeback to force overtime, the Purdue women’s basketball team was unable to complete the rally, falling against No. 20 Rutgers 65-63 on Wednesday.
The Boilermakers moved to 13-6 overall and 4-2 in conference play with the loss, while Rutgers improved to 14-3 and remain undefeated in the Big Ten at 6-0.
Sophomore guard Karissa McLaughlin, junior forward Ae’Rianna Harris and guard Dominique Oden made 53 points combined. McLaughlin and Oden poured in 18 a piece, while Harris had her eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Harris also logged her 12th straight game with at least three blocked shots, pushing her NCAA-leading total to 64, while McLaughlin canned four triples. Sophomore Tamara Farquhar finished with 7 points and 10 rebounds.
Wednesday night’s affair featured 18 ties and three lead changes, most of which came in the first 25 minutes of regulation. Tied at 30-30 with just under six minutes left in the third, Rutgers mounted an 8-0 run and held firm control of the lead for the next 10 minutes. Their advantage grew as high as 14 in the fourth quarter, leading 54-40 with five minutes left, but the Boilermakers weren’t done.
A McLaughlin triple righted the ship with 4:46 left and the points started pouring in for the Boilers. Oden scored five straight, Farquhar added a bucket and McLaughlin hit another 3 to make it a 2-point game with 52 seconds left. Purdue came up with another defensive stop and Harris took a slick feed from Farquhar with 17 seconds left and knotted the score at 54-54.
Neither team could find the basket much in overtime, but Rutgers was able to get to the free-throw line, cashing in 8-of-12 at the stripe in the last five minutes to earn the win. Oden hit Purdue’s lone field goal of the extra session as well as a 3 to pull within one with two seconds left, 64-63, but that was the Boilers’ final shot.
The Boilermakers return to Mackey Arena at 2 p.m. on Sunday, hosting in-state rival Indiana. The game will wrap up the #BeatIU weekend for Purdue Sports, after Wrestling faces Indiana on Friday and Men’s Basketball takes on the Hoosiers on Saturday, both in Mackey Arena.