BLOOMINGTON - It was a barn-burner in Bloomington Monday night, as the Indiana Hoosiers beat the Purdue Boilermakers 71-57. The win earned Indiana the Barn Burner Trophy for just the third time in its 16-year history.
With the win, Indiana moves into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten, ½ game ahead of Ohio State.
Sophomore Jori Davis led the Hoosiers with 22, including shooting 3 of 5 from 3-point range. Also scoring in double figures for Indiana were Whitney Thomas (19), Jamie Braun (16), and Kim Roberson (10). With her 16 points, Braun became the 21st Hoosier to score 1,000 points in her career, joining Thomas as the two most recent Indiana women to reach that milestone.
"It was all because of my teammates," Braun said after the game about reaching the career milestone. Braun also attributed the wide open looks she had to the great play of her teammates.
Thomas was able to overcome a slow start and played well in the second half. In the first half, the Bloomington native shot just 2 of 5 from the field and grabbed just one rebound. In the second half, however, the All-America candidate was 4 of 9 from the field and 5 of 7 from the free-throw line to lead the Hoosiers to victory.
Indiana's resiliency helped secure the win. Several times Indiana pulled out to double-digit or near double-digit leads, and each time Purdue fought back using their size advantage inside.
But Purdue didn't have any answers for IU's final flurry - a 17-1 run in the final 4:51 that finished off the Boilermakers in the two teams' only regular season meeting this year.
The Hoosiers were able to overcome a low shooting percentage - 37.9 percent for the game - by taking advantage of Purdue's 23 turnovers. Indiana turned those miscues into 27 points off of turnovers, and Indiana also scored 19 second chance points off of 14 offensive rebounds.
Indiana's defense really clamped down in the second half, holding Purdue to 31.3 percent shooting, after they shot 60 percent in the first half.
The Assembly Hall crowd of 4,112 was into it from the opening tip, and Indiana Coach Felisha Legette-Jack loved the energy it provided her team.
"How ‘bout that crowd? Four-thousand fans, it seemed like it was 10,000. They are so into it, they were so present. The Hoosier Nation is alive and well," Legette-Jack said.
Purdue coach Sharyn Versyp thought otherwise. "The crowd didn't affect the game. I think there were three critical calls at the end of the game, it was a two-point game and three calls that totally went against us and then I think the fans then affected the game," she said.
Legette-Jack obviously saw things differently, and talked afterwards about the significance of the win for her team as it moves forward.
"What a great game - a television game, in-state rivalry," Legette-Jack said. "Indiana is alive and well. I think seeing a game like this on television is going to make coming to the state of Indiana exciting for kids all over the country."
With the win, Indiana moves to 13-3 overall, with a 6-1 mark in the Big Ten. Up next for the team is a road trip to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines on Thursday.
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