After a hot first half, Florida State turned cold (like the Indiana weather) and home standing Purdue overcame a 34-24 halftime deficit forcing overtime where the Boilers led by as many as five before the visitors closed the game on an 10 to 2 run to secure the win.
Even though Florida State has started the year with a better record, Purdue is traditionally tough to beat on its home floor. Thus a close contest was expected. As Florida State Coach Sue Semrau said post game "it was a tale of two halves."
Purdue mostly used a number of zone concepts throughout the game as (confirmed by Purdue Coach Sharon Versyp) they believe the Seminoles were not a strong outside shooting team in spite of hitting on 41.7% of three balls this season. Becoming convinced the Noles were having a good shooting night on the perimeter, in the last six minutes of the first half trailing 21-16 started to mix in man to man defense after Nole misses.
As Coach Semrau told Swish Appeal in the pre-season, her team played primarily man to man defense throughout the game. In general, the visitors were crisper in their movement at both ends going out at the break up 34-24. Better shooting (51.7% from field versus 28.6% for the hosts) as well as greater control of the paint (21 to 15 on boards with 16 to 6 edge in points in the paint) helped provide the difference.
FSU's Meagan Conwright led all scorers with 13 points (five of six from the field including three triples). No Boiler reached double figures in the half with point guard April Wilson leading the hosts with seven points.
Not surprising, as the second half started, Purdue stepped up rebounding and defense and the FSU lead began to melt. At 15:06, the lead cut to 39-32. FSU "help" appeared less quickly versus Boiler penetrators than in half one. FSU turnovers were leading to Purdue layups with lead 43-41 at 10:23. All momentum was going to the home team as Purdue cut the lead to 47-46 at 8:02 thanks to sharper half court execution.
With 5:59 left in the half, Purdue's Hayden Hamby scored off a steal by teammate Bridget Perry and scored going the length giving her team a 50-49 lead (first of the game). At this point both teams dug in defensively with little scoring the rest of the way.
The big outbursts being three balls by FSU's Morgan Jones at the 38 second mark matched by Purdue's Ashley Morrissette 12 seconds later. After a FSU turnover (common second half occurrence with 15) Purdue's April Williams left her drive to win short with two seconds left. Overtime!.
The second half had seen a turnaround in shooting with Purdue at 45.8% from the field to FSU's 31.8%. FSU turnovers led to 21 Boiler points.
With FSU legs appearing tired, the announced crowd of 5,725 (looked about half that to the naked eye) sensed victory. The Boilers controlled the opening half of the extra frame leading 62-57 with 2:33 left thanks to crisp execution, being quicker on their feet and several FSU shots rimming out. Then, looking down and out, the Noles rallied thanks to three balls by Conwright and Morgan Jones.
At the other end, FSU defense stiffened and (as Purdue players felt post-game) got to play more physically without fouls called. A jumper by FSU freshman Shakayla Thomas gave her team the lead (65-64) for good with 24 seconds left in the extra frame. After two jumpers by Morrissette failed to connect, with two seconds left the teams walked to the other end of the floor for Brittany Brown to reach the final margin with two made foul shots.
Florida State was led in scoring by Morgan Jones with 20 points and Maegan Conwright with 19 including five threes. With a seven for sixteen performance from deep, the Noles on this night refuted the tag of not being able to successfully shoot from outside. The team needs to do a better job regarding turnovers as that battle went to the home team 22 to 12.
Only April Wilson reached double figures for Purdue with 17 points and five assists (best by either side]. The feeling on press row was that the Boilers are down a bit this year. Having seen many of their future players still in high school, I can assure them that some good days lay ahead.
Post-game FSU Coach Semrau praised her team for "grinding it out." Generally when things fall apart as they did for the Noles, you get back on the plane with a loss on your record.
Conversely Purdue Coach Versyp lamented "They [FSU] came down [in the overtime] and made shots. We didn't. You can't do that [and win.]"
One interesting side note for me was watching the two Boiler freshmen from Metro Atlanta. Andreona Keys (5-10 shooting guard) of Roswell High School (not a strong program in this sport) was considered a good high school player with the body of a power forward. She appears to be off to a good freshman start averaging 6.8 point per game playing about 20 minutes per game.
Bree Horrocks (6-5 center) hails from Buford High School (a traditional Georgia power). She has struggled in the early going averaging just under one point per game playing under five minutes per game. In this contest, she looked active playing with confidence in scoring a season high eight points.