LIVE! Purdue at State Farm Center
Final: Purdue 80, Illinois 68
No. 19 Purdue pulled way from the Illini in the final 8 1/2 minutes to capture its fourth straight victory Monday night at State Farm Center.
The Illini (9-11, 2-5 Big Ten) pulled within 56-54 but were outscored 24-14 thereafter.
Freshman center Jacqui Grant led Illinois with 22 points, while teammate Ivory Crawford produced a double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds).
Courtney Moses scored 22 points for Purdue (15-5, 5-3).
Check back later for a complete game story.
3:45 left in second half: Purdue 74, Illinois 63
-- The Illini have ground to make up with time running down. Illinois hasn't been able to cut into Purdue's lead and is now 11 back.
-- Illinois guard Sarah Hartwell left the game with 6:35 left after crashing to the floor. She was helped off the court by two teammates, and she kept the weight off her left leg/foot.
After being examined by a trainer in the row behind the Illini bench, Hartwell eventually walked back to the bench on her own power, so it doesn't appear to be extremely serious.
7:26 left in second half: Purdue 63, Illinois 54
The Illini got as close as two points at 56-54 after consecutive baskets by Jacqui Grant.
But Purdue, as they have all game, answered. The Boilers currently are on a 7-0, including another three-pointer by Moses and a fastbreak layup by -- who else? -- Illini nemesis Moses.
Matt Bollant quickly called a timeout to try to get his Illini to regroup. If the pattern of this game continues, don't bet against that.
12:15 left in second half: Purdue 54, Illinois 50
-- It's very much a game, thanks to an Illini team that keeps coming back at Purdue.
-- Illinois managed to keep the Boilers' lead in single digits this half and now has whittled it to four, thanks to a three-pointer by Amber Moore that forced Purdue coach Sharon Versyp to call a quick timeout.
-- Jacqui Grant played big after picking up her third foul just 35 seconds into the second half. Matt Bollant stuck with her rather than pulling the freshman center to the bench, and Grant responded with Illinois' next seven points.
-- It was a different story when Ivory Crawford picked up her fourth foul at 18:28 of the half. Bollant had to take the senior guard out or risk losing his best offensive player too early in this game.
-- Courtney Moses is heating up for Purdue. The sharp-shooting guard has seven points this half and 17 for the game.
Halftime: Purdue 38, Illinois 32
Hero: April Wilson.
The Purdue sophomore doesn't get the attention that fellow Boilermaker guards Courtney Moses and KK Houser receive, but Wilson is leaving a big thumbprint on this game. She's scored 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, has grabbed five rebounds and passed for three assists.
Goat: Illini three-point shooters
Illinois is 3 of 13 beyond the arc; after starting the game seemingly determined to work the ball inside, the Illini have gotten a bit reliant on the long shot, and it's not paying off.
What I'm thinking:
-- The Illini are hanging in there after the nation's No. 19 team. Every time Purdue threatens to pull away, Illinois reels the Boilers back in.
-- Nothing wrong with Purdue's outside shooting. With Moses and Houser each sinking two, the Boilers are 5 of 12 beyond the arc.
-- Odd ending to the first half. After an Illini turnover, Purdue pushed the ball hard to its rim but then play suddenly was whistled dead. The reason? The clock was stuck at 10.1 seconds left. The refs conferred and after a several-minute break, they decided time had expired by the time they halted play. End of half.
-- Speaking of holding their own, the Illini are doing that on the boards. Purdue has topped 50 rebounds in three Big Ten games this season. At the half, Illinois trails only 23-19 on the boards.
5:48 left in first half: Purdue 31, Illinois 20
-- The Illini cut an 11-point deficit down to four, but then Purdue surged again.
Illinois trailed 20-9 before Ivory Crawford keyed an 11-4 Illini run. Crawford had six points in this span, capping the run with a three-pointer to cut Purdue's lead to 24-20.
Then the game turned away, with Purdue scoring the next seven points, including a three-pointer by April Wilson.
Shortly thereafter, Crawford picked up her second foul and left the game briefly.
11:51 left in first half: Purdue 17, Illinois 9
Hero: Purdue's transition offense.
Matt Bollant said the Boilermakers would try to push the ball and they do. Have beaten Illini too many times down the court for scores.
Goat: Illini shooters.
Illinois can't get the ball to fall; shooting 4 of 13 (30.8 percent).
What I'm thinking:
-- Bitter cold temps and an early tip-off time (6 p.m.) are a bad combination when it comes to drawing a crowd. Under the circumstances, however, the turnout isn't horrible. And a decent turnout of Purdue fans who traveled will help the attendance total.
-- Illini definitely looking to work the ball inside, with center Jacqui Grant the preferred target. The freshman scored five of UI's first seven points.
-- Courtney Moses, the Big Ten's most accurate three-point shooter, had a quick-release trey and later a fast-break layup to give Purdue a 10-5 lead.
-- Purdue started a four-guard lineup, with Dee Dee Williams making her fourth Big Ten start. Camille Redmon, a 6-4 center, started this one on the bench.
Welcome to our live report from State Farm Center for tonight’s Big Ten women’s basketball game between Illinois and No. 19 Purdue.
Illinois (9-10, 2-4 Big Ten) is coming off an impressive 61-51 victory at Michigan State on Thursday and will be attempting to win consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 21, when it followed a victory against Seton Hall with another against Tennessee-Martin.
The Illini have not won a home game since beating UT-Martin, going 0-3 at State Farm Center following that triumph.
Illinois will be battling history tonight. The Boilermakers (14-5, 4-3 Big Ten) own 50 all-time victories against the Illini — the most by any opponent. What’s more telling, however, is how dominant Purdue has been against Illinois since the late 1980s. The Boilermakers are a remarkable 44-5 in the last 49 games in this series. They’ve won the last five meetings, with the Illini’s last victory against Purdue coming on Feb. 21, 2010 — 61-57 at Champaign.
Only one current Illini player — fifth-year senior Amber Moore — has been a member of a UI team that defeated the Boilermakers. And that was during her freshman season, when Moore watched all but one game after suffering a season-ending knee injury in the 2009-10 opener.
Purdue comes to town with one of the best backcourts in the Big Ten in Courtney Moses and KK Houser. The former has been a real Illini nemesis, scoring the winning basket in each of the Boilers’ last two visits to Champaign. In 2012, Moses’ three-pointer at the buzzer sent Illinois to a 64-63 defeat. Last year, Moses rebounded a teammate’s miss and scored on a putback with 6.7 seconds left in overtime to again hand Illinois a bitter loss, 67-66.
Like Illinois, Purdue was forced to adjust this season to the loss of two high-impact inside players. That’s put more responsibility on Moses and Houser, and they will be a focal point of Illinois’ defense tonight. Each ranks in the top 11 in the Big Ten in scoring average, and Illinois will need to keep track of Moses no matter how far she is from the basket. She’s shooting a Big Ten-best 47.7 percent from three-point range.
Purdue has a third significant backcourt player in sophomore April Wilson, who joins Houser among the top eight in the Big Ten in assists per game and ranks fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7).
Illinois continues to receive a major offensive lift from Ivory Crawford. The junior guard ranks third in the Big Ten in scoring average in conference-only games (19.3) and has led the Illini in scoring in their last seven games.
We’ll update this report periodically during the game so be sure to check back.