COURTESY: KU Sports Information
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue’s Whitney Bays used a game-high 19 points to lift the Boilermakers past another round of double-digit scoring efforts from Kansas senior duo Natalie Knight and Chelsea Gardner, in a 61-48 decision at Mackey Arena Thursday night.
Bays was one of four Purdue (4-4) players in double figures as the home team handed Kansas (7-3) just its third loss of the season. Boilermakers Bridget Perry, April Wilson and Ashley Morrisstte all contributed double-digit scoring efforts.
Knight, who was quiet for much of the first half, tried to rally Kansas in the second, scoring 13 of her 15 points after the break. The Olathe, Kan. native finished the night shooting 60 percent from beyond the arc, which is the seventh time this season she has shot 50 percent or better from the three-point line. Gardner registered her fourth double-double of the season, chalking up 18 points and grabbing 11 boards, marking her tenth-consecutive game scoring in double digits. Opposite of Knight, Gardner took initiative early on in the game, knocking down six of Kansas’ first eight points.
Both offenses got off to a slow start in the first ten minutes of play, as the Jayhawks and Boilermakers found themselves sharing the lead seven different times in the opening minutes. Purdue found a rhythm offensively pulling away from Kansas late in the first half with a 14-3 run. Despite many offensive efforts from the Jayhawks, Purdue led by as many as eleven points.
Two consecutive trips to the charity line from Perry initiated another scoring run for the Boilermakers, this time a 12-0 run in the final minutes of the first half as they silenced the Jayhawks for over four minutes.
KU freshman Chayla Cheadle drained the Jayhawks’ first three-pointer of the night to end the scoring drought, then Asia Boyd matched Cheadle’s trey on the next trip down the court to cut Purdue’s lead to five with just under two minutes to play in the first half.
Despite scoring eight points in the waning minutes, Kansas couldn’t draw any closer and the Boilermakers seemingly had an answer to each of KU’s buckets. Purdue took a 32-25 lead into the locker room. Gardner reached double digits in the first half with a team-best 11 points.
The Boilermakers began the second half by draining their first three-pointer of the night, but the Jayhawks responded with a pair of three’s of their own from Knight and freshman guard Terriell Bradley. Kansas got as close as four points midway through the second half, but struggled to keep possession of the ball while committing 23 turnovers, which resulted in 24 Purdue points on the other end.
Kansas attempted to close the gap with the help of Knight and Gardner late in the game, but the Jayhawks were forced to foul to stop the clock. The late fouls by Kansas allowed Purdue to head to the free throw line 10 times, where the Boilermakers made eight of their shots from the charity stripe to maintain the lead.
Knight drained her third shot from the three-point line with under a minute left to play, but Purdue held on and snapped it’s losing streak with the victory of the Jayhawks, 61-48.
- Senior forward Chelsea Gardner registered her tenth consecutive game scoring in double digits for the Jayhawks and fourth double-double of the season.
- Freshman guard Lauren Aldridge tied her career-high of seven assists, which she last set against Temple (11/22).
Kansas returns to Lawrence to host Arkansas State on Sunday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse. Fans are encouraged to participate in the Jayhawks’ annual Toys for Tots game, with free admission granted to individuals who bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to those in need.
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