WEST LAFAYETTE – Eleven minutes into the Indiana women's basketball team's visit to Mackey Arena, the Hoosiers and Boilermakers were tied.
Over the final 17 minutes, Indiana outscored Purdue by just one point.
But for an 11-minute stretch in between, the Hoosiers went on a 20-0 run that proved to be the difference in their 66-45 victory, their fourth straight against their biggest in-state rival.
“You hope that's how it works,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said of Purdue's scoring drought, during which her team went from being tied at 15 to leading 35-15. “You go in to the second quarter and it's tied up, and there are some things you have to remind them. That second defensively, we were really, really good, and took them out of some things.”
Moren said that assistant coach Rhet Wierzba was tasked with scouting the Boilermakers and was instrumental in instructing the Hoosiers (8-3, 6-1 Big Ten) on how to disrupt the Purdue offensive.
“The nice thing about having an empty gym is that Coach Rhet's voice carries. When they were in front of us, he was literally coaching them through nearly every set,” Moren said. “That's one thing, but you still have to have the effort involved. Our kids have to do the work.”
Indiana had no trouble getting into the lane and scoring, putting up 40 points in the paint and 34 off of layups, all part of 51% shooting (26 of 51) for the game. Junior guard Grace Berger led the Hoosiers with 22 points and seven assists.
Her highlight of the afternoon came when she dribbled out of trouble and then hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the second quarter, giving Indiana a 32-15 halftime lead.
Sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes scored 20 points for the Hoosiers, and junior forward Aleksa Gulbe had 10 points.
“We started standing with the ball. IU was playing really good defense. We needed to penetrate and get into gaps,” Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said. “We're not a one-on-one team. We waited until the shot clock would get down too far, and it definitely happened in that quarter. We didn't have the looks we were trying to establish.”
Junior guard Kayana Traylor scored a team-high eight points for Purdue (5-5, 2-4). Homestead graduate Karissa McLaughlin played 33 minutes, the most since returning to the lineup in December after an off-season ankle surgery. She shot 3 of 7 for seven points.
Freshman Ra Shaya Kyle scored six points and pulled down five rebounds.
The teams will meet again in Bloomington in March in what should be the final regular-season game for both before the Big Ten Tournament.