11/22/21 Marshall, Ra Shaya Kyle

Sophomore center Ra Shaya Kyle looks under the basket for a teammate. Kyle scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against Marshall on Monday night in Mackey Arena.

As the surrounding campus prepared for Thanksgiving break starting Wednesday, the Purdue women’s basketball prepared for its matchup against Marshall on Monday evening.

The team kept the energy in Mackey Arena of a crowd 1,500 strong in what would be one final show before students were sent off to break.

Hoping to recover from their loss against Dayton on Saturday, head coach Katie Gearlds and her team took on the Thundering Herd (3-1) for the first time in program history, winning 70-60.

The ever-rotating Boilermaker (4-1) bench helped to build a lead of 32-26 by the end of the first half, one they never lost behind stellar shooting and improved team ball movement.

“We’ve got a group that just hasn’t played together,” Gearlds said. “I think they’re still learning how to play together too. In the same way, we’re still searching for the right combinations out there.”

Sophomore center Ra Shaya Kyle led the Boilermakers with 8 points at the half, followed by senior guard Cassidy Hardin and junior point guard Abbey Ellis with 6 points apiece. Kyle continued to be an anchor for the Boilermaker defense, using her size to deter incoming drives and log one of three Boiler blocks.

The effort from the higher energy on defense allowed the Boilermakers to win the battle on the boards by six rebounds, grabbing four more defensive rebounds and two more offensive boards than Marshall.

After the team suffered a poor rebounding game against Dayton, 5-foot-11-inch junior guard Jeanae Terry clutched two offensive rebounds in her first two minutes of play. Sophomore Ra Shaya Kyle ended the game with her first career double-double after adding a team-high 15 points to her 10 rebounds.

“(Kyle) is such a big presence,” Gearlds said. “When she is locked in and engaged, our team does just the same. We’re just trying to pull that energy out of her every day.”

While Marshall led the Boilers by shooting 37% from the field in the first half, their precision continued to dip as Purdue’s defense continued to make the necessary adjustments on the perimeter to force the Herd’s guards to take interior shots. The Herd didn’t make a single one of their 10 3-point attempts in the first, finishing with one make on 17 attempts.

Comparatively, Hardin and Ellis led Purdue with two 3-pointers each with a 33% average for the team.

The Boilermakers lost some steam and coordination in the third quarter, adding 10 total turnovers, 4 of which resulted in open breakaways for Marshall.

“We know teams are going to make runs on us,” sophomore Madison Layden said. “I think we just have to stay calm, take care of the ball more, and execute our plays.”

Even as the Boilermakers narrowly escaped with a win and have won convincingly against their first four opponents, Gearlds said she expects to see the team develop further as the team starts to head into Big Ten play.

“Everything needs to be picked up a notch,” Gearlds said. “We’re grateful to be 4-1, but we’re nowhere near where we want to be.

“We’re making steps and laying the foundation of building a solid culture, but it’s about playing for the six letters on the front of your jersey. That’s what this season is about.”

The Boilermakers take on the West Virginia Mountaineers (3-0) at the first game of Global Sports & Events St. Pete Showcase tournament in St. Petersburg, Florida on Thanksgiving Day. The game tips off at 5 p.m. and will be streamed on FloHoops.

NOTES

• Purdue is now 150-55when playing an opponent for the first time.

• The Boilermakers won the rebounding battle 38-32 and converted 16 offensive boards into 21 second-chance points, the most since 26 against North Alabama on Nov. 29, 2020.

• The Boilermakers were 21-of-26 at the line for the second game with more than 20 made free throws this season.

• Purdue has scored at least 70 points in all four wins this season.

• Despite being held to just seven points, her first game out of double figures this season, Madison Layden recorded four steaks, one assist and seven rebounds.

• Brooke Moore recorded her first blocked shot of the year and the fourth of her career.

• Jeanae Terry finished with nine points, six rebounds and four assists.

• Purdue closed the game shooting 50% in the fourth.

– Purdue Athletics contributed to this report.

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