Last night the Purdue women lost a heartbreaker 68-66 to Wisconsin in their Big Ten opener. What made the win so historical was the fact that Wisconsin had not won in Mackey since 1984. Yes you read that right 1984. It seems that I have seen lots of Purdue history lately, but all on the wrong side. Helping Wisconsin to that win was their 11 three pointers which tied for the most all-time in Badger history. More history I saw on the wrong side of.
Despite all of the things that went wrong the Boilers still had multiple chances to win or tie it at the end. I never thought that would be the case. With about two minutes left they were down nine, and I was starting to put my camera away. They made me change my mind as they closed out the game on a 9-2 run. Sadly though they needed at least an 11-2 run to send the game to overtime. Courtney Moses missed a couple lay ups with time winding down that could have tied the game. The fault is not hers though. It seemed as if everyone was missing from the inside. As I was heading out last night I heard on the radio the stats from inside the paint, and they were terrible. These bunnies that were not made were the culprit last night. Courtney Moses missed her two shots, Alex Guyton missed an open look, and the game seemed to be over. Somehow Wisconsin missed two free throws and Antoinette Howard ended up with the ball. She missed a desperation three pointer at the buzzer to seal the Boilers fate. I am a huge fan of Howard, but with time winding down and Brittany next to you let her take that shot. Things happen a lot quicker on the floor though so second guessing is futile. The only thing is that moral wins don’t count in March. This team needs some wins to get back into the tournament. With everything they have been through this season it would be great to see them win a game or two in the tourney. This team has the talent, and just needs to gel a little more.
The Boilers really needed this win to open up the Big Ten season. They were put in a bad position though by the scheduling of a non-conference game just two nights before. Although with the bad record that Wisconsin had you would have hoped for more. With the backend of the schedule as loaded as it is you have to win early if you are Purdue. Sunday is a big game at Northwestern.
Brittany Rayburn was given a ball to commemorate her 1,000th point before the game, and she added 26 more to her total during the game. She really has been playing well lately. She usually plays better on the road for some reason, but has strung together two very nice games at home. Our section favorite Antoinette Howard had a slow night by her standards. She usually comes right into the game and gets a look. I don’t know if it was the stiff competition or what, but she did not get a shot for a while.
I have to mention this as well. I have seen Purdue Pete do some funny things over the years, but last night he may have topped them all. Before the game he was having some fun with the high school players behind the scorers table. He had the basketball, and motioned that he was going to pass the ball between his legs to one of the girls. I tried to get my camera out, but was too late. Pete attempted the pass, but must have missed the fact that Jane Schott was in between him and his target. He hit her while she was on air and talking. She didn’t seem to miss a beat, but did give Pete a look that could kill. Sometimes the best ideas don’t go as planned. Pete is still fun to watch even when things go wrong.
Play of the Game – This may be the play of the game more for what didn’t happen then what did happen. Sam Ostarello made the front end of a one and one to cut the Bader lead to six. She missed the second shot though, but Brittany Rayburn came streaking in to get the rebound and get fouled in the process. She made both of her shots to get the Boilers to within four, and give the team some hope.
Gameball – This is Brittany’s with no question. The only question might be the fact that I am giving this to a Boiler. Well I write about Boiler sports so that is who gets the awards. Brittany was the only real consistent offense that the Boilers had last night. She was also 8-8 from the charity stripe to inch closer to her own record again. She really is a fun player to watch. Alyssa Karel did have a good game for the Badgers though. She did not lead the team in points, but she seemed to make tough baskets when her team needed them. She was a force.