Purdue Women’s Basketball Captures BTI Invitational Title
The Boilermakers topped Saint Mary’s in the championship game 70-60
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue women’s basketball team captured the 2017 Basketball Traveler’s Inc. Invitational title Wednesday, topping visiting Saint Mary’s College 70-60 at Mackey Arena. Sophomore Ae’Rianna Harris was named tournament most valuable player after her second straight double-double, while classmate Dominique Oden was named to the all-tournament team as the Boilermakers wrapped up non-conference play at 9-5.
While the Boilermakers led wire-to-wire it was not without challenge, as the Gaels overcame a slow first half to push Purdue to the brink down the stretch. Purdue forced Saint Mary’s into 15 first-half turnovers, converting them into 15 points, and held the Gaels to 21.4 percent shooting (3-14) in the second quarter, rolling to a 31-20 halftime lead. Harris, Oden and fellow sophomore Lamina Cooper teamed for 21 of the 31, while freshman Karissa McLaughlin added three points and three assists.
Saint Mary’s came roaring back in the third quarter, hitting on 12-of-14 shots (.857) with only one turnover to axe the lead all the way down to two, 48-46. Junior Sydney Raggio and sophomore Jasimine Forcadilla led the charge as Raggio had eight points and five rebounds, while Forcadilla had six points and two assists. Harris and McLaughlin helped hold off the red-hot Gaels with six points apiece, and sophomore Miracle Gray knocked down a jumper in the closing seconds to bump the lead back to four at the end of the period.
The Gaels continued to fight, keeping within two points at the final media timeout, 55-53, but it was all Boilermakers the rest of the way. McLaughlin had eight points down the stretch, hitting her fourth and fifth 3-pointers of the game, while Cooper and Keys had clutch and-one finishes as Purdue stretched their lead to as many as 14 down the stretch.
Harris finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, a career-high five assists and five blocked shots, notching her second straight double-double and sixth of the season; tying Purdue’s sophomore record for double-doubles. McLaughlin posted a game-high 17 points, hitting a career-high five triples, and added five assists with no turnovers. Oden hit three triples on her way to 14 points, adding five rebounds and three assists, while Cooper stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Raggio and senior Stella Beck joined Oden on the all-tournament team after Raggio finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Beck added 11 points and four assists. Saint Mary’s suffers just its fourth loss of the season, falling to 7-4. Eastern Washington senior Delaney Hodgins and UT Martin sophomore Kendall Spray rounded out the all-tournament honorees as Eastern Washington hit a last-second 3-pointer to earn the win. The Eagles set a Mackey Arena record with 36 3-point attempts in the game, breaking the previous mark of 34 set on two occasions by Purdue opponents.
Purdue opens Big Ten play Thursday, Dec. 28, heading to Piscataway, New Jersey to face Rutgers.