INDIANAPOLIS – The mistakes mounted, one after the other, until they were finally too much to overcome.
A flurry of turnovers sent the Purdue women’s basketball team to an early exit from the Big Ten tournament. The fourth-seeded Boilermakers dropped their first game 87-80 to No. 5 seed Iowa on Friday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
No. 17 Purdue (21-8) gave the ball away 20 times, leading to 32 Hawkeyes points.
A huge key, said guard Courtney Moses, who scored a game-high 24 points for Purdue.
They got the ball out in transition and got to the foul line. Not getting shots up, we didn’t have as many chances for offensive rebounds. There is a lot you lose when you turn the ball over.
A six-game winning streak ended, as did Purdue’s tournament dominance. The Boilermakers were attempting to win a third consecutive title, a feat they accomplished from 1998 to 2000.
Moses made two free throws to give Purdue a 69-63 lead with 6:20 to play. Then it all turned, with Iowa scoring 10 of the next 11 points.
Ally Disterhoft, who had 12 points and eight rebounds, gave the Hawkeyes the lead for good at 71-70 on her driving bank shot with 3:48 left.
When they lost the lead, it took a little wind out of their sails, Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said.
After Purdue’s Whitney Bays scored inside, Disterhoft rebounded a miss and hit two free throws to make it 75-72. Bays scored again, and Disterhoft restored the three-point edge on another drive.
Boilermakers coach Sheryl Versyp then used a timeout with 1:45 remaining. Out of it, guard April Wilson threw an entry pass out of bounds for Purdue’s final turnover.
Our post players were wide open, Versyp said. The ball just didn’t get there.
Snider graduate Liza Clemons had 14 points and eight rebounds for Purdue.
Bays finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Iowa made 17 of 31 field goals in the second half.
We weren’t playing any defense, Versyp said. They were just driving right past us.
The Boilermakers now turn their attention to the NCAA tournament, where they advanced last season to the round of 32.