The women’s basketball team played its second-ranked opponent in four days Sunday but failed to get into an offensive rhythm in the 87-71 loss to Purdue.
Having just played No. 5 Notre Dame on Thursday, CMU was looking to bounce back against a team they beat last season at McGuirk Arena. Purdue came into the game 5-1 and was ranked 14th in the AP poll.
Head coach Sue Guevara said the team struggled to play smart defense and take open shots when available.
“The biggest challenge all game was getting people to have confidence in the red zone and getting them to take the wide open shot when it was there,” Guevara said. “Trying to get our players to be disciplined on defense by not reaching in and fouling was also a challenge for us today.”
CMU shot 39.7 percent from the field, while the Boilermakers, led by senior forward Sam Ostarello’s 23 points and nine rebounds, shot 49.1 percent from the field. Sophomore Crystal Bradford led the Chippewas in both points and rebounds, scoring 18 and pulling down seven boards.
After an 11-4 run during the first half by CMU, the team was unable to keep pace as the first half came to a close with Purdue up 49-31.
The Boilermakers got out to a quick 20-11 lead seven minutes into the game, but CMU junior guard Niki Diguilio cut the lead to six after she nailed a three-point shot at the 12:46 mark. This was the closest the Chippewas got in the first half.
Guevara said the most important issue she had with her team was their inability to complete plays when driving toward the basket.
“You have to be able to finish, and we didn’t finish well at all today,” she said. “You have to finish your layups.”
The lead was held by Purdue the entire game with it reaching its peak of 23 at the 12:37 mark in the second half after a layup from Ostarello.
Sophomore forward Jas’Mine Bracey did bring CMU to within 11 after making one of two free throws with just over six minutes left in the game.
The contest in the paint was won by CMU, as they outscored Purdue 44-30 in points in the paint, grabbing 13 offensive rebounds to Purdue’s 10.
Purdue was able to control the game on defense the entire game, and Guevara said the Chippewas have to start to dictate the defense.
“Purdue was making us play defense, and we have to have the understanding of what we have to do on defense to make the other team play defense,” Guevara said.
CMU was never able to get into a shooting rhythm after only shooting 4-19 from three-point range and 27-68 from the field.
The Chippewas will now head back home at noon on Wednesday to face University of Wisconsin–Green Bay for the second time this season. CMU lost to UW-GB 75-48 on the road during the first meeting.