Last night I braved the elements to see the Boilers beat #20 Iowa 60-41. I say brave the elements, but the drive to West Lafayette was not that bad. I left extra early because the roads might have been bad. They were not at all so I ended up on campus two hours before the game. After a brief stop at Mad Mushroom I was either ready to re-enroll on campus, or see the game. I chose to see the game, and I was not disappointed. After living in Iowa for a couple years out of college I always enjoy watching the Hawkeyes go down.
One of the keys to the game was how the Boilers took care of Jaime Printy. She was held to almost nine under her season average. That was due to the most part by her being in foul trouble most of the game.
Courtney Moses started things off for the Boilers with a nice steal, but missed the layup that would have put the Boilers up 2-0. She did not let it get her down though. She finished the game with 12 points, 9 rebounds, and four assists. She was not credited in the box score with a steal yet I remember the first one that I described as well as at least one more under the basket. I wonder how they come up with the numbers for the box score. Courtney had nine rebounds on the night. How does the smallest player on the floor get nine boards? Hustle. She had number ten in her hands, but Brittany was called for a foul negating the rebound. It was a call that could have easily gone either way so I am giving Moses the double-double.
One player who impresses me more and more every week is Dee Dee Williams. She seems to improve every time I see her play. Her offense is still a little behind, but her defense for the most part is very solid. She forces a lot of turnovers by just playing her opponent tough.
In the middle Drey Mingo and Alex Guyton are holding their own against their opponents right now. They have vastly different games, but they compliment each other very well. The roommates are quietly having good seasons. Mingo is back to the form we saw before her illness. These two in the middle could make life tough for most teams. With our outside shooting they get some good looks. Chelsea Jones and Sam Ostarello both had good minutes last night as well. One thing that is fun when you are at the games is to watch Sam O on the bench. She really cheers her teammates on while she is over there. If a three is made she is up and jumping up and down with three fingers in the air. She is also the first to greet her teammates after a timeout is called. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and you really want to see her do well on the court.
Probably my favorite player on the squad is Antoinette Howard. She only had two points in ten minutes of action. Her minutes have really declined lately. Some of them I think are now going to Dee Dee who is playing better. Howard when in the game adds another player who is not afraid to score. I would like to see her on the floor a little more, but it says a lot about the team when a player that good is only getting ten minutes. The bench is getting deeper. With no seniors on this squad the sky is the limit for the Boilers.
This was the 11th straight time that the Boilers have beaten Iowa in Mackey. The last time Iowa won in West Lafayette was 1998. After Wisconsin finally won in Mackey I was wondering if this ranked team would break their streak. Purdue came out and played very tough to get the win. They scored plenty of points, but the game was won with defense. The Boilers forced 21 turnovers while only allowing 14 field goals. Some of that was poor shooting by Iowa, but the Boilers were not giving up too many easy baskets. They really played tough and forced the bad shots.
Play of the game – This is more of a series than one play. With Purdue up 8-7 Alexander stole the ball from Brittany Rayburn. She had a clear path to the basket for an easy lay in, but Rayburn turned on the jets to contest the shot. Purdue got the rebound, and found Drey Mingo for an easy lay up. A lazy inbounds pass was then picked off by Dee Dee Williams who was fouled while attempting her layup. The freshman hit one of two shots to put the Boilers up 11-7. I just loved the hustle all around on this series. Rayburn hustling to contest the shots. Mingo hustling to get ahead of everyone on the break. Williams hustling to grab the lazy pass. This team really does a great job of out working their opponents. That is what brings me back week after week. After this series the Boilers never trailed again on the night.
Gameball – This has to go to Brittany Rayburn. She had a typical Rayburn stat line. She scored 23 points, had 2 assists, 3 steals, and took 3 charges. She really had a good game. Moses took control early, but Rayburn carried the team the entire game. It was nice to see her get the three point shot working as well. Let’s talk about Brittany taking charges. She is one of the best on the team taking charges. She even took one late in the game with the outcome already decided. During the halftime Q&A video (which is great by the way) they asked the players if they would rather hit a three or take a charge. If Rayburn had said anything but take a charge I would have been shocked. Brittany really has it all. She has the ability and the smarts to make her a force on the court.
I don’t think that this would be complete without mentioning the halftime show. Members of the Foundation Basketball League played an exhibition game at halftime. It was great watching these kids enjoy the recognition. One of the kids in particular would stop while dribbling to watch himself. The best part though had to be the way the kids reacted once the game was over. The sheer joy and emotion was awesome to see. Kudos to whomever put this on.