Lincoln – In another classic battle that went down to the wire, No. 18 Nebraska battled back from a 12-point deficit to tie the game with 30 seconds left, but No. 22 Purdue got the game-winner with 1.7 seconds left to escape Pinnacle Bank Arena with a 77-75 women’s basketball win on Sunday.
Nebraska slipped to 13-4 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten, while Purdue improved to 13-5 and 3-3 in the conference.
Playing in front of more than 6,000 frenzied Husker fans and a Big Ten Network national television audience, junior guard Tear’a Laudermill buried back-to-back threes in a 20-second span to turn a six-point Husker deficit into a tie ball game with 1:22 left.
Laudermill scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half to keep the Huskers close with the Boilermakers.
Purdue regained a 75-73 lead on a layup from Whitney Bays with 49 seconds left. Bays, who scored all 19 of her points in the second half to carry the Boilermakers to victory, missed a free throw in the and-one situation.
The Huskers answered at the other end with a pair of clutch free throws from Rachel Theriot in a one-and-one free throw situation with 29.7 seconds left to tie the game at 75. Theriot, a 6-0 sophomore point guard from Middleburg Heights, Ohio, led four Huskers in double figures with 19 points, while adding four assists.
Purdue held for the last shot and April Wilson missed a driving shot from the right side, but Bays was there for the putback with 1.7 seconds to claim the win. Nebraska was unable to get a shot off after a timeout and a length of the court pass.
Bays was big for the Boilermakers, scoring six straight points to push Purdue’s lead to 70-61 with 5:07 left. The surge by Bays answered a 7-0 Husker run that had turned a 53-48 deficit into a 55-53 lead on a Laudermill layup with 10:39 left.
That was one of only two leads for the Big Red on the day, joining a 6-4 edge early in the basketball game. Courtney Moses, who led all scorers with 21 points on the day, shot Purdue to an early edge by hitting five straight threes to open the game. She hit four straight in a three-minute span to stake Purdue to a 27-15 lead with 9:00 left in the first half. She helped Purdue go 10-for-19 from long range in the game, although she missed her last four threes.
Nebraska trimmed the margin to just 36-32 at the half, despite going just 10-for-27 from the floor in the opening period. NU was also just 2-for-8 from three-point range in the first half, while knocking down 10-of-14 free throws.
Purdue hit 41.2 percent (14-34) of its first half shots, but connected on 8-of-12 first-half threes after hitting 7-of-8 to open the game. The Boilermakers did not attempt a first-half free throw.
Nebraska shot a solid 63 percent (17-27) in the second half including 4-of-5 three-pointers, but went just 5-of-8 from the free throw line. NU finished 50 percent from the field for the game, including 6-of-13 from three-point range and 15-of-22 at the line.
Purdue finished 44.8 percent from the field, but attempted 13 more field goals than the Big Red. The Boilermakers also went 7-of-11 at the line in the second half.
Purdue won the possession battle by outrebounding Nebraska, 37-34, and winning the turnover battle 16-14. The Boilermakers grabbed 13 offensive boards, including the board by Bays that led to the game-winner.
Emily Cady notched her fourth straight double-double and eighth of the season with 13 points and 16 rebounds. She added six assists for the second straight game while notching three blocked shots.
Hailie Sample was the fourth Husker in double figures, scoring 10 of her 12 points in the second half while adding five rebounds for the game. Senior Jordan Hooper managed just nine points on 2-of-10 shooting, while managing four rebounds and two steals. Hooper was 1-for-4 from three-point range, but her three tied the game at 53 midway through the second half.
KK Houser helped Purdue with 16 points, including four three-pointers, on 5-of-14 shooting from the field. She added six assists and six steals. April Wilson added 13 points.
Nebraska will enjoy the mid-week off from competition before returning to Big Ten road action at Northwestern on Sunday, Jan. 26. Tip-off at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill., is set for 4 p.m. (CT) with live video provided by BTN.com All-Access and free live audio from the Husker Sports Network on Huskers.com.