HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- KK Houser just loves playing against her hometown team.
Houser scored 13 points in a terrific all-around performance and Purdue beat No. 21 Nebraska 77-64 on Saturday to advance to the Big Ten tournament championship.Sam Ostarello had 18 points and Courtney Moses scored 16 for the Boilermakers (23-8), who also beat Nebraska 69-66 in overtime on Jan. 5. Taylor Manuel had 11 points.
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"I think collectively this is one of our best games that we played all year, offensively, defensively, really followed the game plan," Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said.Houser, who grew up in Lincoln, Neb., finished with eight rebounds, six steals and five assists. The speedy guard also had a big game against Nebraska in last year's Big Ten title game, scoring 19 points in Purdue's 74-70 double-overtime victory."The beginning of the game, I tried to act like it was just another game, but it's Nebraska," Houser said. "I'm from there. I always want to beat them. I never want to lose. So I step on the court and I'm ready to go for 40 minutes."Purdue will face Michigan State in Sunday's title game. The Spartans advanced with a 54-46 victory over No. 8 Penn State.Lindsey Moore scored 22 points for the second-seeded Cornhuskers (23-8), who had won 11 of 12."I thought Purdue played really well," Nebraska coach Connie Yori said. "Really, they kind of had a lot of the facets of their game going. They got the ball inside on us, and they drove it. They got their transition game going. They hit enough perimeter shots."The Boilermakers put together an 11-2 spurt to open a 55-37 lead with 15:26 left in the game. Moses sparked the run with a jumper and closed it out with a fast-break layup.Nebraska pulled within 10 on Moore's two free throws with 8:54 remaining, but Purdue responded with a 10-2 burst. April Wilson's 3-pointer extended the lead to 73-55 with 3:37 to go.Jordan Hooper added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Huskers, who were outrebounded 40-33 and committed 14 turnovers."They got the ball inside on us too much," Yori said. "They crashed the glass. And we didn't do a good enough job of boxing out. And they got some easy baskets there. And we got taken out of our offense a little bit. We weren't as efficient as we needed to be."---Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap