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Purdue’s KK Houser, right, battles for a loose ball with Nebraska’s Lindsey Moore during the Boilers’ win Saturday in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Big Ten / Big East women

Boilers advance to tourney finals

– KK Houser just loves playing against her hometown team.

Houser scored 13 points in a terrific all-around performance and Purdue beat No. 21 Nebraska 77-64 on Saturday to advance to the Big Ten tournament championship.

Sam Ostarello had 18 points and Courtney Moses scored 16 for the Boilermakers (23-8), who also beat Nebraska 69-66 in overtime on Jan. 5.

“I think collectively this is one of our best games that we played all year, offensively, defensively, really followed the game plan,” Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said.

Houser, who grew up in Lincoln, Neb., finished with eight rebounds, six steals and five assists. The speedy guard also had a big game against Nebraska in last year’s Big Ten title game, scoring 19 points in Purdue’s 74-70 double-overtime victory.

“The beginning of the game, I tried to act like it was just another game, but it’s Nebraska,” Houser said. “I’m from there. I always want to beat them. I never want to lose. So I step on the court and I’m ready to go for 40 minutes.”

Purdue will face Michigan State in today’s title game.

Lindsey Moore scored 22 points for the second-seeded Cornhuskers (23-8), who had won 11 of 12.

“I thought Purdue played really well,” Nebraska coach Connie Yori said. “Really, they kind of had a lot of the facets of their game going. They got the ball inside on us, and they drove it. They got their transition game going. They hit enough perimeter shots.”

The Boilermakers put together an 11-2 spurt to open a 55-37 lead with 15:26 left in the game. Moses sparked the run with a jumper and closed it out with a fast-break layup.

MICHIGAN STATE 54, No. 8 PENN STATE 46: In Hoffman Estates, Ill., Jasmine Thomas scored 14 of her 19 points in the second half as Michigan State scored the upset.

Becca Mills added 16 points for the Spartans (24-7), who held Penn State to 22-percent shooting and enjoyed a 52-38 rebounding edge.

Penn State (25-5) won the Big Ten regular-season title and lost in the tournament semifinals for the second straight season.

ST. JOHN’S 51, SETON HALL 45: In Hartford, Conn., Shenneika Smith scored 16 points to lead the fifth-seeded Red Storm to a second-round win in the Big East tournament. St. John’s (18-11) will face No. 4 seed Louisville today in the quarterfinals.

SOUTH FLORIDA 42, RUTGERS 39: In Hartford, Conn., Andrea Smith scored 17 points to lift the Bulls (21-9) in the second round of the Big East tournament. The Bulls will face top seed Notre Dame today in the quarterfinals.

DEPAUL 77, MARQUETTE 69: In Hartford, Conn., Anna Martin scored 24 points and Brittany Hrynko added 17 to help the seventh-seeded Blue Demons (21-10) win in the second round of the Big East tournament.

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