Despite its struggles earlier this season and a six-game slide leading up to this game, Purdue kept up with a higher-ranked Michigan State squad. But the Boilers lost on a last-second shot by Spartans junior guard Tory Ozment.
Battling back after finding themselves down by as many as 14 points, the scoring abilities of Purdue’s veteran guards kept the women’s basketball team within range of the Michigan State Spartans and gave them a 2-point lead at the end of the half.
Michigan State (11-6, 6-6) made its presence known from the start with a strong offense, backing down Purdue’s (6-12, 3-11) bigs and finding several opportunities from mid range. The Spartans hit 10 of their first 14 shots in the first quarter.
The early shooting ability of leaders sophomore guards Julia Ayrault and Alyza Winston’s gave the Spartans the ability to take a comfortable lead early on, with Ayrault hitting two of her first two shots. Purdue was able to catch up a bit with free throws, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap at the end of the first quarter.
Sophomore guard Eliza Winston showed little difficulty barreling through Purdue’s defense and was able to score five out of six shots by the second quarter. Purdue seemed to gain confidence after its free-throw shot and junior guard Kayana Traylor scored two of her first three field goals, bringing their offense back up to par.
Michigan State held onto its lead after Winston shot a successful free throw, and two more free throws were given to Michigan State, bringing their lead up to 7 points (33-26). Freshman center Ra’Shaya Kyle used her size and strength to draw fouls on the interior while contributing to Purdue’s free-throw streak.
Ayrault joined the game once Purdue’s lead grew to 64-60 from the bench, after she fell and hit her head in the first half. Her return reinvigorated the Spartans and gave them an added scoring punch, but Purdue held a 9-point lead with four minutes left in the game, a complete turnaround from their 10-point deficit in the first quarter.
Both teams traded leads in the last five minutes of the game by a few points, leading to a tie at 73 with 25 seconds left. Osment scored a 3-pointer in the last ten seconds, and Michigan State was able to keep its Big Ten standing.
Purdue (6-13, 3-12) was able to stay close to Michigan State (12-6, 7-6), which struggled in the first three minutes of the second quarter to make any shots. The Spartans maintained a 1-point lead at the end of the third quarter. Purdue’s bigs blocked sophomore guard Alyza Winston’s attempt at a 3-pointer, unlocking more consistency with their stronger defense compared with the first half.
Ayrault was hit by Hardin of Purdue as the Boilermakers used a stronger defense to maintain their lead. Junior guard Janai Crooms of Michigan State pushed past Purdue’s defense and scored to establish the Spartans’ first lead since halftime with three minutes left in the third quarter, bringing the score to 46-45.
Junior guards Kayana Traylor and Cassidy Hardin from Purdue both showed scoring proficiency as they hit three of the Boiler’s last four shots of the third quarter. Hardin scored again with 10 seconds left, bringing back Purdue’s 1-point lead to a 3-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
Traylor scored a free throw, and keeping a two-point lead, 58-56.
Michigan State had 18 turnovers compared to 17 assists.
Traylor scored 31 points, outscoring Michigan State’s highest scorer by 13 points.
Purdue managed to keep a lead for most of the second half before Ozment’s game winning shot.
• Purdue leads the all-time series against 43-35 against Michigan State, including wins in the last two trips to East Lansing.
• Madison Layden extended her 3-point streak to 17 games and her steals streak to 19.
• Cassidy Hardin finished with five points, just the 10th 2-point basket of her career.
• Traylor dished out five assists for the eighth time this season.
• Moore hit double figures for the sixth time in the last eight games.
• The last time Purdue fell at the Buzzer was at Mackey Arena last season against the Spartans.
• Purdue's 22 points off turnovers were the third most by the Boilermakers this season.
The Boilermakers will return to action at 6 p.m., Thursday, hosting Maryland. Purdue will wear special pink uniforms for the annual Beat Cancer Pinkout to raise awareness and support those who have battled breast cancer.
Purdue Athletics contributed to this report.