AMES, Iowa (AP) -- One thing had to happen for Purdue to beat
"Basically, we had to make some shots," Purdue coach Kristy
Curry said. "And we sure made some."
Did they ever. The Boilermakers hit 13 of 16 shots in the second
half, outscoring Villanova 34-17, and advanced to the round of 16
in the NCAA women's basketball tournament with a 60-42 victory
"Not many teams can shoot 13 of 16 in a half," Villanova coach
Harry Perretta said, "even if you don't guard them."
Shereka Wright scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half to
lead second-seeded Purdue (29-3) into the West Regional semifinals.
The Boilermakers will play third-seeded Georgia (24-9) in Seattle
It will be the third appearance in the round of 16 in four years
for Purdue, which shut down Villanova completely in the second
half. The Wildcats (23-7) managed only seven points in the first 16
minutes of the half and shot 5-for-22 in the period.
"We were pushing them out and not allowing them to penetrate,
and I think that frustrated them a bit," Wright said. "I think
being aggressive was the whole key to the defensive end."
Wright, chosen a second-team All-American earlier in the day,
bounced back after going 1-for-7 in the first half. Freshman Katie
Gearlds made all six of her shots in scoring 13 points, including
two key baskets to revive the Boilermakers when they were
struggling in the first half.
Valek, Purdue's senior point guard, contributed nine points,
five rebounds and three assists after going scoreless in the first
"It's an all-time high -- the best offensive end and the best
defensive end," Curry said. "I'm just very thankful and feel very
blessed. I just want to keep it going."
Seventh-seeded Villanova led by as many as eight in the first
half and was up 28-23 at halftime, but was done in by a 13-0 run
that gave Purdue a 44-33. Villanova's deliberate offense is not
made for coming from behind and the Wildcats never threatened again
in this one.
Liad Suez led Villanova with 12 points and Jackie Adamshick
"In the first half, we could have beaten anybody in the
country," Perretta said. "The second half, we couldn't have
beaten a fifth-grade team."
Villanova led for the final time at 33-31 on a 3-pointer by Suez
with 16:06 left. The Wildcats would not score again for more than
six minutes and Purdue took control, starting its decisive run with
Wright on the bench.
Valek got it going with a pull-up jumper, Gearlds contributed a
pair of jumpers and Wright returned to sink two free throws and
convert a three-point play off a layup to cap the burst.
After Adamshick scored on a drive, Purdue came back with 10
straight points to put it out of reach at 53-35 with 4:06
"It just kind of snowballed," Suez said. "A couple of shots
went in fairly easy and then we couldn't make anything."
Purdue managed to stay close in the first half despite missing
shot after shot and going nearly six minutes without a point.
The Wildcats, meanwhile, ran their patterns perfectly during
that stretch and scored 10 straight points, mostly by beating their
defenders off the dribble.
Courtney Mix scored on a drive, Adamshick hit a fadeaway from
the right block and then drove for a layup, Jennifer Hilgenberg
made a fadeaway from the right side and Suez drove for a basket to
finish the run, making it 24-16.
Gearlds' 3 from the right corner ended Purdue's drought, and two
late baskets, a turnaround by Gearlds and a leaner by Erin Lawless,
helped the Boilermakers get to within five at the half.
"We always come back," Valek said. "We decided to forget the
first half and just focus on stepping up, playing better defense
and going after rebounds."