No. 11 Purdue grabs Fest title

By David Lance

NIU women’s basketball head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle knew the game between her team and No. 11 Purdue would come down to what the Huskies did after missed shots.

“We knew from the very beginning that what we were going to have to do to win the game was rebound,” she said.

Unfortunately for NIU, the Boilermakers are a burly bunch, and they used their size to out-rebound NIU 50-34 and outscore them 83-68 Saturday night to win the Fastbreak Fest at the Chick Evans Field House in front of 1,820.

“When your point guard (E.C. Hill) is your high rebounder, I think you know you haven’t done a good job on the boards,” Albright-Dieterle said.

“They (our post players) took us to another level,” Purdue head coach Lin Dunn said. “I do feel like the fact that we were able to dominate the boards was probably the key factor in our victory because we were able to get our running game going from our rebounds.”

The single-game tournament record crowd watched the Boilermakers (4-1) take a 30-29 lead on a MaChelle Joseph layup with 1:40 left in the first half. Purdue never trailed after that bucket.

After another NIU turnover, Joseph, the Fest’s MVP, scored two more of her team-high 19 points on another layup, putting Purdue up 32-29 with 1:17 left until halftime.

The Huskies (3-2) went into the locker room trailing 37-31, but a Cindy Conner steal and layup tied the game at 39 with 16:41 left.

With the score knotted at 41, Purdue’s big people took over. Forwards Donna Gill, Kay Tucker and Tina Eddie scored the team’s next 12 points on layups and short jumpers to give the Boilermakers a 53-43 lead.

Gill, an all-tournament selection, came off the bench to score 18 points on 8-of-10 field-goal shooting. Eddie, also a non-starter, added nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

The game’s leading scorer was Conner. The all-tournament guard/forward hit four three-pointers en route to 26 points. Hill, an all-tournament pick, scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

“The bad news here is it doesn’t get any easier,” said Albright-Dieterle, who’s team’s next game is Dec. 16 at the fieldhouse against No. 8 Stephen F. Austin.

NIU advanced to the championship with a 83-75 win against Miami (OH) Friday night. Hill led the Huskies in scoring with 17 points. NIU’s Dianna Wingis had a game-high 10 rebounds. The game’s high scorer was Julie Howell—Miami’s only all-tournament pick—who had 23 points.

Purdue beat Kansas State 75-52 Friday night to get to the final.

Before Purdue beat NIU, Miami (2-4) beat Kansas State (1-4) 85-69 in the consolation game. Kansas State’s Kelly Moylan scored 20 points and rounded out the all-tournament team.