Despite shooting 5% higher than Maryland from the paint and the field, Purdue was outrebounded and outgunned by No. 1 seed Maryland on Friday afternoon, losing the Big Ten tourney quarterfinal game 74-62.
The Boilers were looking to improve on their 43-point loss in their game against Maryland at Mackey Arena in late February.
Head coach Sharon Versyp pointed out that the Terrapins typically shoot between 50 and 60 points in the paint, but Purdue's defense kept them at 32 points from the paint. The Boilers could not keep up with the Terrapins' intensity shooting in transition as well as their rebounding.
“We obviously tend to shoot the ball, better than we did last time,” Versyp said. “I thought it was a really, really hard-fought battle.”
The Boilers matched Maryland's shooting initially, scoring 19 points for Maryland’s 20 and even jumping ahead at the beginning of the second half, but 6 points from Purdue turnovers and 3-point jumpers from Maryland’s Taylor Mikesell led to a 10-point deficit that the Boilers could not come back from.
Purdue had a promising start in the tournament, winning its first game against Michigan State 72-63. Versyp said the team's strategy was to put points on the board first to get momentum and confidence. That’s what the Boilers did, scoring the first 8 points of the game. This offensive upper hand led to four Purdue players scoring double digits. Junior center Fatou Diagne and senior forward Ae’Rianna Harris also claimed double-doubles, Harris’ eighth of the season.
Breakaways from MSU guard Nia Clouden and forward Nia Hollie threatened Purdue's 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and gave the Spartans offensive momentum, but Purdue anticipated this and was not fazed.
“They went on the run towards the end of the game we knew (that) was going to happen eventually," junior guard Karissa Mclaughlin said. "But I really like how we stayed calm and we maintained our composure. We just kept doing it right back. They had they had an answer for us we had an answer for them.”
Speculation abounds about the future of the program as Purdue has not made a spot in the NCAA Tournament in four out of the last six years. The Boilers' 21-year streak of NCAA Tournament invites was broken in Versyp’s third year coaching the Boilers. Purdue has missed an invite to the NCAA tournament only nine times since it was founded in 1982.