That is how I felt as I left Mackey Arena yesterday. I knew that the women’s game would not come close to topping the men’s game. 14,123 screaming fans that unofficially hit 119 db would be hard to beat. The women’s game two hours late did draw almost 10,000 fans according to the box score. By the end of the game I was probably more into the game than I was the men’s game. The Ohio State girls have such attitudes that you can’t help but hate them. If they are that cocky and at the top of the league I could understand it, but they were fighting to not go to .500 in league play. I think that attitude comes back to bite them sometimes.
You could see the attitude right away. I was at the game early having just stayed in the stadium after the men’s game. The entire Ohio State team was on the floor and warming up except for Samantha Prahalis. I thought maybe she was hurt or something, but she eventually came out. As she came onto the court she was walking with her head down and ran right into a teammate who was standing still. Of course she scowled at her teammate and told her to watch out. If you knew nothing else about her that would be enough.
Purdue really played well in the first half. After going back and forth with Ohio State they seemed to take control of the game late in the half. Brittany Rayburn had 12 points at the break, and looked to be on her way to another career day. After the break Brittany only scored two points. She picked up both of them on the line. She really was a non factor in the second half with Ohio State keying on her a little more.
Courtney Moses finished the game with eleven, but she was hounded as well the entire game. At one point it looked like Antoinette Howard was going to take the game over. She was overmatching the girl guarding her, but she never really took advantage of her matchup.
Late in the game with Purdue up 72-70 Courtney had a chance to put the team up with a wide open three. She missed the shot setting up Samantha Prahalis to put the Buckeyes ahead with a cold three pointer. She really does come to play like her or not. Anntoinette took the ball to the hoop to put the Boilers back up 74-73 with 21.9 seconds left.
Play of the Game – The game came down to a final shot because Ohio State scored on its last ten possessions to end the game. Purdue scored on their last eight, but it was not enough. As I said before Purdue had a one point lead with 21.9 seconds left. Purdue played great defense denying Prahalis or Jantel Lavender from winning the game. What they didn’t count on was Brittany Johnson sitting in the corner. She nailed a three with a hand in her face to win the game with 0.7 seconds left. Purdue tired a desperation inbounds play, but did not have time to do anything. The shot shouldn’t have surprised anyone because Johnson was on a tear in the second half. After not taking a shot the entire first half she nailed five three pointers in the second half.
Player of the Game – This could have gone to Johnson, but I never give either of these two awards to the other team. The playof the game is enough. Besides if you saw the game without the play late by Drey Mingo a last second shot would not have been necessary. Drey put the team on here back at the end. Purdue scored on eight of its last ten possessions. Mingo was responsible to seven of those. She just refused to lose as Ohio State was making their comeback. She made just about every type of shot imaginable during her run. She finished the game with 25 points and nine rebounds. Those were the same numbers as Lavender, but Mingo got them at the end when they were needed. She really was fun to watch at the end of the game.
Purdue now travels to Penn State looking to pile up some wins to try and get into the tournament. Things weren’t all bad for the Boilers as they received a commitment from a 6’3″ center from Missouri after the game. It was also odd to have a senior day without saying goodbye to anyone. We can thank the great state of the program that Kristy Curry left us in for that. Coach Versyp has been digging out of that hole since then. She is starting to get the pieces back together so I hope we can start hanging some banners again.