The new era of Purdue women's basketball has gotten off to a fiery start.
In a 70-62 Sunday Mackey Arena win over the Western Michigan Broncos (1-1), the Boilermakers (2-0) continued to revolutionize the team's offense. This comes with a new team culture in a squad who lost four seniors to the transfer portal last season and implemented a new head coach just two months before the start of the season.
The Boilermakers kept the promise of head coach Katie Gearlds to completely restructure Purdue's offensive philosophy in her first press conference, switching from a more post-oriented offense focused around then-senior forwards Fatou Diagne and Tamara Farquhar supplemented by perimeter shooting to an offense resembling that of the men's team.
Purdue has shot an average of 26 3-point attempts per game in its first two games, getting more of the younger and transfer guards involved with fast-paced passing and shooting from the perimeter. Senior guard Cassidy Hardin and sophomore guard Madison Layden led the team with 19 attempts, getting the green light to shoot from the line seemingly whenever they touched the ball.
Two former role players had their shot in the limelight for the new regime early on against the Broncos. After never starting a game last season behind then-senior guard Karissa McLaughlin, Hardin poured on 20 points and shot 50% in her second game while averaging 31 minutes per game in her first two games.
Sophomore center Ra Shaya Kyle, who towered over the Bronco forwards at 6-foot-6, added an extra 19 points while grabbing eight boards and swatting a shot. The sophomore had also never started last year, averaging 11 minutes per game behind Farquhar and Diagne.
The Boilermakers will continue to experiment with their newly-implemented offense against the Illinois State Redbirds at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Normal, IL. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.
Layden and Kyle led the way with their career days. Layden was 8-of-16 from the floor and 4-of-9 from distance. Kyle was an efficient 9-of-13 shooting. Both players finished with a team-high eight rebounds each, while both had a steal and a block.
With her 3-pointer 17 seconds into the game, Layden passed Katie Gearlds for the second longest 3-point streak in program history. The sophomore has made a triple in her last 23 games and trails only Ashley Morrissette for the program record of 25.
For the second straight game, Purdue connected on nine 3-pointers. Layden and Hardin evenly split eight triples, while Ellis added the ninth. The Boilermakers started the game hitting 5-of-6 3-point attempts. Purdue has its most triples through two games with 18 in the last 17 years.
• Purdue owns a 7-0 lead in its series with Western Michigan.
• The Boilermakers improved to 44-3 all-time in home openers.
• Purdue worked the ball inside to score 38 points in the paint.
• The Boilermakers were outrebounded by three, 35-32.
• The starting lineup accounted for 65 of the 70 points.
• Purdue trimmed its turnovers down to 14 on the day.
• After going 22-of-28 at the line against Western Kentucky, Purdue only managed four free throw attempts Sunday.
– Purdue Athletics contributed to this report.