11/14/21 Western Michigan, Abbey Ellis

Junior guard Abbey Ellis dribbles around a Western Michigan defender Sunday in Mackey Arena. FILE PHOTO.

Led by a transfer, the Purdue women’s basketball team moved to 3-0 on the young season as it won, 76-64, at Illinois State on Wednesday night.

Junior guard Abbey Ellis scored 20 points on 9 of 12 from the field – including 2 of 4 from 3-point distance – and 4 of 4 from the line to lead the undefeated Boilers. Madison Layden (18 points) and Ra Shaya Kyle (14) also scored in double figures.

Maya Wong led the Redbirds in scoring with 14 while Kayel Newland added 12.

"We knew if we stuck to our defensive principles and moved the ball on offense, get the inside-outside game, work to (Ra) Shaya, get and Madison and Cassidy their shots (we'd be OK)," Ellis told Purduesports.com.

Unlike previous games this season, Purdue fell behind early – down as many as six points, 8-2, with 7:07 to go in the first quarter – before it took command. In fact, Purdue scored 10 straight thereafter to lead 12-8 with 5:13 to go in the first quarter until Illinois State scored again. And the Redbirds would never regain the lead for the rest of the game.

"Yeah, we started the game down 8-2 and it was the first time for us a little adversity," head coach Katie Gearlds told Purduesports.com. "We talked about calling a time out, but we kinda wanted to see the growth and maturity of our basketball team. I thought we did a good job of weathering the storm."

During that run, it was mostly Ellis who led the way. She scored on a 3-pointer, a short jumper in the lane and a layup on a fast break over that two and one-half minute span. The other points in that run were made by Layden on a 3-pointer.

At the end of the first quarter, Purdue led by five, 20-15. Methodically, it built the margin to double figures as forward Rickie Woltman hit a hookshot to make it 30-19 with 4:13 to go in the second quarter.

Woltman's efforts did not go unnoticed by her head coach.

"Rickie gets seven rebounds and four blocked shots, she scores, she's confident inside," Gearlds said. "Rickey is going to set good screens, she's going to follow the defensive game plan and she stayed locked in for that."

Purdue maintained a double-digit lead for the rest of the game save a four-minute stretch in the middle of the third quarter and two minutes at the start of the fourth, but the margin was never less than six points at 44-38 with 4:38 to go in the third.

The lead ballooned to 17, 70-53, with 4:39 to go in the fourth quarter on a layup by Kyle on another fast break. Purdue coasted from there.

Purdue was 28 of 53 from the field, 52.8 percent. It was 9 of 19 from 3-point distance, 47.4 percent and 11 of 16 from the line, 68.8 percent. The Redbirds shot 44.6 percent from the field including 30.8 from 3. They were 10 of 11 from the line.

The Boilers held a big advantage in assists, 17-7, and in fast-break points, 13-3.

"17 assists on 28 made field goals was pretty good," Gearlds said.

Purdue returns to action at 6 p.m., Saturday when it hosts Dayton in Mackey Arena.

Recommended for you