Purdue (12-5, 3-1 Big Ten) was tasked with slowing down the nation's leading scorer, Iowa's (11-4, 2-2) Megan Gustafson. The senior fouled out late in the fourth quarter and ended the game with 19 points — 7 points short of her average — and 13 rebounds.
The Boilermakers were led offensively by junior guard Dominique Oden, who has scored 20 or more points against six of her last seven Big Ten opponents.
Defensively, the Boilers leaned heavily on junior forward Ae'Rianna Harris, who is first in the Big Ten and third nationally in blocks.
Purdue got off to a slow start and missed its first five shots to begin the game, which allowed Iowa to gain an early lead. Sophomore guard Karissa McLaughlin was able to take the lid off the basket, though, which sparked a quick run for the Boilers to tie the game.
The game was very tight throughout the first quarter, with neither team able to gain a significant lead. At the end, Purdue led 16-14. McLaughlin conducted the train for the Boilers, scoring 8 points, grabbing one rebound and dishing out two assists.
The second quarter began the same as the first. The Hawkeyes began to work the ball down low to their seniors, Hannah Stewart and Gustafson.
Sophomore guard Tamara Farquhar shined in the second quarter, scoring 8 points on 3-for-3 shooting and knocking down two free throws.
"I did a good job at offensive rebounds and making sure I secured second opportunities," Farquhar said. "We struggled hitting first shots, but we definitely made our second chances."
The Hawkeyes struggled from the free-throw line in the first half, where they shot 67 percent, while the Boilers cashed in on their lone trip to the charity stripe. Iowa also shot 17 percent from three, 17 percent lower than its season average from the three, going 1-for-7.
Purdue was able to hold Gustafson to just 10 points in the first quarter. The Boilers dominated the boards in the first half, winning the battle 20-12.
Purdue ended the first half with a 5-point 30-25 lead.
Iowa came out of the halftime break re-energized, scoring 7 straight points to reclaim the lead, led by Stewart and Gustafson. Purdue was able to keep close, however, never letting its opponent gain too much traction. Iowa held onto the lead throughout the third and headed into the final period up 41-40.
The third period belonged to freshman guard Kayana Traylor. She kept the Boilers in the game with her play-making ability and control over the tempo. Although she only scored 4 points, her impact carried Purdue through the storm of the third quarter.
McLaughlin was also held in check by Iowa. The guard scored 8 points in the first quarter; however, she only had 10 points through the third quarter, having attempted only eight shots.
The Hawkeyes went on a 5-2 run to begin the final period, putting them up by six, which prompted a timeout by Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp. After the timeout, the Boilers seemed to gain some composure. Oden came to life and knocked down a 3-pointer. A defensive stop led to two free throws for Traylor. Then, Harris was fouled on a converted shot attempt and capitalized at the free-throw line to knot it up at 50.
After baskets from both teams McLaughlin knocked down a 3-point basket to put the Boilers up 55-52. Oden was able to give the team a two-possession lead after going 1-for-2 from the line and getting her own put-back.
The Hawkeyes seemingly neutralized Oden for most of the game, as she was a non-factor on the offensive end throughout the first half and much of the third quarter. Through three quarters of play, she had only scored 8 points on 2-11 shooting. She came alive in the fourth, though, which gave Purdue all the momentum it needed in order to take down Iowa. She scored 8 points on 3-for-3 shooting and grabbed two boards.
"She wasn't feeling well, so in the first half she was really sluggish," Versyp said after the game. "In the second half, she just gutted and pushed through, got several steals. We were down by eight, hit the big three in the corner, pull up jump shots. She's a junior now. She's played a ton of minutes since freshman year. (Oden's performance) was big for everybody."
The Boilers return to action at 5 p.m., Sunday when they travel to Northwestern. The game will be broadcast by the Big Ten Network.