BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A pair of in-state Big Ten rivals pushed each other for three quarters before No. 10 Indiana and Purdue showed why their programs are trending in opposite directions.
Mackenzie Holmes scored 22 of her 26 points in the second half as the Hoosiers pulled away for a 74-59 Big Ten win that made program history on Saturday.
The Hoosiers (18-4, 16-2) set a school record for most conference wins in a season with their ninth consecutive victory.
“The record means a lot just because of the circumstances and the kind of year, the challenges that we’ve had to endure this entire season,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said.
“It will be a season that we won’t forget for a lot of reasons. I’d like to think on a positive side, it’s going to be one that we remember because of the amount of wins we were able to get this season with this group when we had adversity throughout,” he said.
The Hoosiers’ previous mark of 15 Big Ten wins was set in 1982-83.
Holmes, a sophomore post player, scored 11 points in each of the third and fourth quarters. Indiana outscored Purdue 21-8 in final 10 minutes.
“In the second half, they were kind of guarding the ball pretty hard, so it left me with a couple of open looks,” said Holmes, who scored seven points as Purdue opened with a 13-2 run in the final quarter. “Luckily my teammates were able to find me.”
Purdue (7-15, 3-15) is at the end of its worst season since 5-23 under Ruth Jones in 1983-84.
“Their fourth quarter, they’ve done it to everyone this year,” Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said. “They’re one of the top teams in the nation. They’ve been down by 16 at some places and came back to win. I thought we handled their pressure well in the fourth, but shots weren’t falling for us. … When we didn’t score in the fourth, they took advantage of it.”
Moren conceded it wasn’t the Hoosiers’ finest offensive effort for 40 minutes: “But nevertheless, that fourth quarter, I think we figured some things out.”
As much as this season has been defined by success for Indiana, losses to No. 8 Maryland and Ohio State could prevent the Hoosiers from winning the conference regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in next week’s Big Ten tournament.
Aleksa Gulbe added 14 points, Nicole Cardano-Hillary scored 11 and Grace Berger 10 for the Hoosiers.
Kayana Traylor scored 17 points and Brooke Moore had 13 for the Boilermakers.
The Boilermakers traded the lead several times early, fell behind by five points at halftime, then closed to a 53-51 deficit entering the final quarter.
Purdue: Barring a conference tournament title, the Boilermakers will finish with the worst record in Versyp’s two decades as a head coach. Her previous worst was 11-20 in 2014-15. … Versyp and Moren are Purdue graduates.
Indiana: Has won five consecutive Barn Burner Trophy games against the in-state rival Boilermakers, the longest IU streak since the trophy was introduced in 1993-94. … Purdue leads the all-time series 19-9.
Purdue: At Big Ten tournament Tuesday.
Indiana: At Big Ten tournament Tuesday.