COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — With Ohio State making a run in the fourth quarter, Purdue buckled down defensively and knocked off the No.2 Buckeyes.
Abbey Ellis made a season-high five 3 pointers and Purdue earned its first top-five road victory in program history, beating Ohio State 73-65 on Sunday.
“We made a promise to ourselves that we were going to be tough throughout the whole game, especially in the fourth quarter, and we were,” Ellis said. “We just stuck to what we’re good at, what we know, and we knew that defense was going to get us through. And I think that showed in the end.”
It was the second consecutive win over a Top 25 team for the Boilermakers.
“It’s pure joy, pure happiness,” Ellis said. “I think we brought that hype from the Illinois game, came in here underdog, nothing to lose so proud of the girls. We held tight the whole time.”
The Buckeyes (19-3, 8-3 Big Ten) lost their third-consecutive contest after winning the first 19 games of the season.
Leading by as many as 17 points early in the third quarter, the Boilermakers saw their lead dwindle as Ohio State and Taylor Mikesell rallied in the second half.
Mikesell, who went 0 of 6 in the first two quarters, made back-to-back 3-pointers in the third while Purdue shot 29.4% in the frame.
Ohio State used a 9-0 run to bring the score to 55-53 with 6:58 left in the fourth quarter, and Taylor Thierry tied it up at 58 after laying in a score with 4:28 remaining. Thierry fouled out 19 seconds later.
Purdue (15-6, 6-5) created separation over the next two minutes as Madison Layden scored five-straight points and Ellis made a jumper to go up 65-58.
The Buckeyes made three of eight field goal attempts in the final 2:15 and went 1 of 2 at the free throw line in that span.
Ellis made her fifth 3-pointer with 43 seconds left and sealed Purdue’s win. She finished with 26 points while Cassidy Hardin totaled 15.
“We talked about (how) this game could go one of two ways for us. It could be a really, really embarrassing loss, or we could find a wounded animal,” Purdue coach Katie Gearlds said. “They stayed resilient and they stayed with it. And our kids were just tough down the stretch making some plays.”
Purdue shot 44.8% from 3-point range and 43.1% from the field.
Thierry led Ohio State with 18 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and a pair of steals.
“It’s just really frustrating because even within the game, we had stretches where we had good focus and good energy,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “Credit Purdue. They came in, they were more focused and more ready from the tip, and that ultimately was the difference.”
STEPS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Gearlds is no stranger to historic moments at Purdue.
Spanning her career as a Boilermaker from 2004-07, the former All-American was part of four NCAA Tournament teams, advancing to the Elite Eight and three Sweet Sixteens. Purdue hasn’t made the tournament since 2016-17.
In Gearlds’ second season as head coach, the Boilermakers are contending for a return to the postseason.
“Proud of them just being tough minded because, man, it got loud in there,” Gearlds said. “Their ability to buy into what we’re trying to do as a group, as a staff, their buy-in to me and trust in me and how we’re trying to build this program, hopefully this is just the beginning of Purdue kind of righting the ship.”
BUCKEYES PAST AND PRESENT
Members of the 1992-93 Ohio State women’s basketball team were recognized at halftime. The Buckeyes advanced to the Final Four and NCAA Championship game that season, becoming the first team from the Big Ten to advance that far in the tournament.
Purdue: The Boilermakers notched their first back-to-back wins against ranked opponents since 2017-18, and their first top-five win since 2011.
“What happened this week, that’s this week. We got to focus on IU,” Ellis said. “It’s a big rivalry game at home. We got to protect our house.”
Ohio State: Ohio State shot 41.7%, better than its past two losses, but below its season average. The Buckeyes have had trouble knocking down shots from distance, posting 25% shooting or worse from 3 in their three-game losing streak.
Purdue: Hosts No. 6 Indiana Feb. 5.
Ohio State: Travels to Wisconsin Wednesday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll
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