One technical foul, one missed free throw, one late foul. All three situations played a big role in Purdue's 82-73 loss Sunday to No. 25 South Carolina in Mackey Arena.
Behind sophomore guard Karissa McLaughlin's 25 points, Purdue (7-4) made a second-half comeback against the Gamecocks (6-4) to force overtime, which proved to be not enough, eventually falling in double overtime after a late foul on a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left in overtime with the win in hand.
McLaughlin, along with junior guard Dominique Oden, who scored 19 points, led the Boilers in the second half to a 6-point lead mid-way through the fourth quarter to bring Purdue back in the game.
Deadlocked at 55 after a reverse layup from South Carolina's Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, the two teams headed to overtime.
That's where Purdue almost found a second win over a top-25 team this season in Mackey Arena.
Early in the period, junior forward Ae'Rianna Harris fouled out, leaving a big hole in the post for junior center Fatou Diagne to try and fill. No one was able to, but Oden and McLaughlin teamed up again to give the team a fighting chance. The pair combined for 10 points, but a turnover by McLaughlin gave USC a basket.
That ended up not mattering, as South Carolina's head coach Dawn Staley was called for a technical foul from the bench.
"Bench decorum is a big emphasis this year," Staley said following the game. "Did I want to get his (the ref's) attention? Yes, I absolutely wanted to get his attention. I wanted to tightrope it to the point of getting a warning, which I did. As I moved my way back toward the bench, I look back and I got hit with it. Bad timing. I apologized to our team.
McLaughlin, in the middle of taking free throws for a foul, added two more on from Staley's missing the last of four, to give the Boilers a 67-64 lead with 24 seconds to play.
After the game, both McLaughlin and Versyp emphasized the importance of hitting free throws at any point in the game, especially ones in overtime that would have provided a 4-point cushion with just seconds remaining.
Seconds later, sophomore forward Tamara Farquhar fouled South Carolina's Bianca Jackson while taking a 3-pointer for her fifth of the game. Jackson made all three with 1.3 seconds on the clock and Purdue couldn't make a shot.
In double overtime, the Gamecocks piled on 15 points, too many for Purdue to recover from with its two best paint players on the bench.
"They've got to rebound," Versyp said of her backup post players. "One job: box out and rebound. That's it, that's all we need. And we work on it three hours a day."
Turnovers played a heavy part in the loss, as South Carolina forced 25 from Purdue, scoring 23 points from those alone. It also stole the ball 13 times from Purdue, compared to the Boilers' five takeaways.
Both teams are some of the best shot blocking teams in the nation, with the Gamecocks averaging 7.2 a game, third most in the nation. On the other end, Harris has 28 blocks on the season, second most in the NCAA. Neither team was able to take an advantage down low, both getting four apiece on the night.
One bright spot was freshman guard Kayana Traylor, who pushed the offense in transition and created shots for teammates. She finished with 11 points, 5 assists and six rebounds. Her newcomer status was highlighted by six turnovers.
The Boilers next square off against the Albany Great Danes at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 19 in Mackey Arena.