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Women hold off Michigan

Brittany Rayburn didn't make many shots Thursday night.

But with the game on the line, the Purdue junior didn't miss.

Rayburn, who was only 4 of 19 shooting, made a pull-up bank shot near the lane with 11 seconds remaining to lift the Boilermakers to a much-needed 65-64 victory at Mackey Arena.

Here are some thoughts after watching the game on the Big Ten Network:

  • On that final go-ahead basket, I was a bit surprised Rayburn shot the ball with so much time left. Typically, teams will wait until 10 seconds left to even start a play. And the way Purdue was rebounding -- it had an astonishing 21 offensive rebounds -- waiting to take a shot would have seemed safe. But Rayburn hadn't shown her stroke most of the night, so I'm sure because she was able to get a good look, she wanted to take it. Rayburn made a quick move to get past a defender and then pulled up before she got to the lane. Coach Sharon Versyp revealed earlier this week that Rayburn has "a major sciatic nerve problem" that's kept her out of practice. Rayburn looked hampered against the Wolverines, but she still had seven rebounds and six assists. Just a great player toughing it out. Purdue needed that.
  • Versyp notched her 100th victory with the Boilermakers. She has 217 in her collegiate career.
  • After seeing what appeared to be multiple breakdowns on defense in the first half that allowed Michigan to shoot 56 percent -- and make 6 of 11 three-pointers -- the Boilermakers showed more energy on defense in the second half. Point guard Courtney Moses may not be the quickest or most athletic player on the floor, but I love how active she is on defense.
  • Despite having those 21 offensive rebounds, Purdue converted them into only 15 second-chance points. Players need to shoot a higher percentage from in the paint.
  • Was nice to see Purdue respond and win a close game. It had chances down the stretch to beat Wisconsin in the league opener last week but didn't deliver. Rayburn also didn't touch the ball on Purdue's final two possessions then.

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