News | Purdue Sports

Women’s Basketball: Boilermakers defeat Highlanders, 65-53

RIVERSIDE, Cali. — The Purdue women’s basketball team overcame a slow start on Friday night to win their first road contest of the season, defeating UC Riverside 65-53 at the Student Rec Center. The Boilermakers used a late run and balanced team effort to earn the win as six players scored between eight and 12 points as they improved to 3-2 on the season.

The game remained tight until the seven-minute mark of the second half, when a 17-1 run for the Old Gold and Black put the game away. Senior FahKara Malone led the squad with 12 points, six assists and a pair of steals, while sophomores Samantha Woods and Chelsea Jones tallied 10 points apiece. Freshman Ashley Wilson finished with nine points, while classmate Sam Ostarello had a huge night with eight points, 12 rebounds and two steals, and junior Jodi Howell chipped in eight points, including pair of threes.

Both sides struggled early, combining for three turnovers in the first four possessions and connecting on just two of the first six attempts from the field. However, the Highlanders got the best of the early action as the Boilermakers’ cold run extended to a one-for-nine start en route to an 8-3 Riverside lead.

The Purdue freshman broke the slump and provided a spark of the bench following the first media timeout, as Wilson and Ostarello accounted for six straight points and pulled Purdue within one, 10-9. Wilson netted four, cashing in a pair of free throws and taking her defender to the rack for a layup, while Ostarello floated in a soft five-footer from the right baseline for her first bucket of the game.

Riverside clung to a narrow lead until the 7:50 mark, when a Malone steal and layup put Purdue on top, 16-15, but the Highlanders took it right back as Amber Cox drained a jumper from just inside the arc and converted a three-point play from the charity stripe off of Sophomore Brittany Rayburn’s second foul of the half.

The score remained close through the majority of the remainder of the half, but the Boilermakers broke it open in the final two minutes to burst out to a 32-26 lead, taking their largest advantage of the first session. Rayburn kicked off the run, beating her defender baseline for layup, and Howell followed by corralling a defensive board and then walking the length of the floor for a pair of free throws to give Purdue a 27-26 edge. Ostarello did work on both ends of the next two possessions, stealing the ball from Rhaya Neabors on defensive, and finding senior Laura Garriga with a slick backdoor feed for a reverse layup on offense. Howell capped the 9-0 run with a three-ball from the left side, stepping back off a feed from Malone.

Riverside closed the first-half scoring as TreShont Nottingham netted a pair of free throws to head into the locker room trailing Purdue, 32-28. The Highlanders did the majority of their damage inside, netting 14 points in the paint and four more on second-chance efforts. On the other side, the Boilermakers took advantage of a dozen Riverside turnovers, transforming them into 14 points.

The Boilermakers got off to another slow start in the second half, turning the ball over on four of their first five possessions, but hung on to the lead with tough defense, including a pair of charges taken by Rayburn. However, Purdue could only hold them off for so long as Riverside overcame their stagnant play at the 13:20 mark, tying the game at 34-34 on a layup by Rhaya Neabors, and later taking the lead, 37-36, on a three pointer from Rheya Neabors.

Purdue righted the ship with a 7-2 spurt near the 11-minute mark as Woods knocked down a pair of free throws and her second trifecta of the game, and Rayburn toed the arc to cash in a long two-pointer and give the Boilermakers a 43-39 edge. Riverside refused to go away, battling back on six straight points from Cox to take a 45-43 advantage.

The Boilermakers finally took control of the game behind the play of Ostarello just outside the seven-minute mark as the Purdue freshman sparked a 17-1 run to take a resounding lead they’d never look back from. Ostarello responded to Cox’s six-point burst with one of her own, making a pair of solid post moves off feeds from Wilson and Malone, and knocking down a dribble pull-up from 12. She followed hauling in a defensive rebound and winging a half-court outlet pass to Wilson, resulting in a layup, and set a monster screen on the next possession which led to a Howell three pointer.

The Highlanders ended their 3:26 drought with a Rhaya Neabors layup at the 2:23 mark, but it was too late at that point as Purdue had run up a 12-point lead, 60-48. Cox led Riverside with a game-high 20 points, while Rhaya Neabors chipped in 15 points and four steals and Rheya Neabors added seven points, seven assists and six boards as the Highlanders fell to 2-4 with the loss.

On Sunday, Purdue heads to Malibu to face Pepperdine at 5:00p (EST).

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