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Purdue’s unrelenting second half defense quells the Hoosiers in a 66 to 60 loss

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Indiana had its most fundamentally sound first half of the season. Unfortunately for Indiana, basketball is a game of two halves.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Indiana vs Georgia Joe Raymond-USA TODAY Sports

At 3:10 p.m., Coach Teri Moren and the Indiana Hoosiers found themselves to be 20 minutes away from a pivital victory in the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals, and an almost guaranteed spot in the NCAA Tournament.

With a 15 point lead heading into the second half, and nearly all the momentum on their side, Hoosier fans could smile gleefully with the prospects of making the tournament for a second year in a row. Now, fans have to anxiously wait for the selection committee’s decision on Monday.

In the second half, Purdue made defensive adjustments that stymied Indiana’s offense to the tune of 11 turnovers and 10 missed threes.

At 4:22 p.m., Coach Teri Moren and the Indiana Hoosiers found themselves potentially on the outside looking in on a tournament bid after a 66 to 60 loss to Purdue.

“If you're not ready to play you're going to get beat,” said Coach Moren according to ASAP Sports. “It's real easy and again there's a lot of conferences out there that aren't like that. You can show up and play average and still win. You can't do that in this league. I personally think we've done enough. We've got a veteran team.”

It all began with incredible execution from the Hoosiers. Indiana began the affair on a 7-0 run fueled by five early points from Tyra Buss. Purdue then countered with some low-post offense which brought the score to nine to eight with five minutes remaining in the first quarter.

From there, the flood gates opened.

Coach Teri Moren and the Hoosiers recognized that Purdue’s normally stout defense was set up in a zone for a majority of the first quarter. As a result, Indiana quickly looked to the effectiveness of Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill.

Buss utilized her ability to penetrate, and Amanda Cahill appropriately situated herself in the middle of the zone and drew as much attention as she could.

After entering the second quarter with a 18 to 15 point lead, the Hoosiers went on two major runs which were fueled by remarkable ball movement.

Indiana started the second quarter on a 10-0 run and then ended it on an 8-0 run. Indiana has 13 assists on 15 made baskets in 1st half, and the two-headed attack of Buss and Cahill sincerely lead the way.

Buss had 14 points in the first half, and 12 of those points came from shots from beyond the three point line.

Cahill played in all 20 minutes of the first half and scored 10 points, grabbed three rebounds, and dished out four assists.

The team as a whole was shooting 50% from the field and 50% from behind the arc, as the Hoosiers led Purdue 39 to 24 at the end of the half.

The Hoosiers seemed unstoppable, knocking down six of their 12 shots from three point range, and holding Purdue’s best player Ashley Morrissette to only 10 points.

Seeming unstoppable, and being unstoppable are two very different concepts.

“Coach came during halftime and she gave us a choice: Go home or come out and win or come out have some pride on defense,” said Ashley Morrissette according to ASAP Sport. “Purdue is known for defense. In that first half we had very little. So I think that's a big reason everybody responded.”

The Hoosiers scored less points in the second half, than they did in both the first quarter and the second. Indiana scored 16 points in the second half after scoring 18 points in the first quarter, and 21 in the second.

What changed?

Purdue switched from a zone defense, to a man to man approach.

“In the second half you switch 1 through 4, then you don't let them get the edge,” said Purdue Coach Sharon Versyp according to ASAP Sports. “You keep them out of the paint and you don't have to help as much because you're not hedging, getting over the top.”

The Boilermakers focused on ball pressure in the second half, and as result they went on a 14-0 run in the third quarter. The run lasted over seven minutes, and during that time Indiana missed 11 shots and gave up the basketball six times.

After forcing four turnovers in the entirety of the first half, the Boilermakers had forced six in seven minutes.

With the Hoosiers’ shooting having gone cold, Purdue was able to cut a 17 point deficit to a three point game with 12 minutes remaining.

After a late three from Dominique Oden, Purdue found itself down 45 to 43 entering the final quarter of the game.

Indiana’s main form of offense in the first half came from perimeter shooting. After making six threes in the first half, Indiana would not make a single three in the second half. This doesn’t come from not trying.

In the final quarter of the affair, Indiana tried to shoot its way back into the game. The Hoosiers shot and missed 10 threes in the second half and Purdue took advantage of long rebounds which sparked quick points on the other end.

With seven minutes and nine seconds remaining in the game, Ashley Morrissette hit a three that would tie the game at 47. After facing a 17 point deficit, the Boilermakers climbed all the way back to tie the game.

From that moment on, Purdue seemed destined to pull away.

Indiana went on a quick 4-0 run after the game was pulled even, but missed jumpers plagued the Hooisers as Purdue would eventually take the lead for the first time in over 35 minutes on an Andreona Keys layup with 90 seconds remaining.

From there, there was no coming back for the Hoosiers.

“We're very disappointed,” said Coach Moren according to ASAP Sports. “Thought we really played well in that first half. But the start of the that third quarter, with six turnovers in the first five minutes of the game. And we had 11 turnovers and Purdue capitalizing, scoring 14 points off those turnovers. Just never could get in rhythm offensively.”

After scoring 14 points in the first half, Indiana’s leading scorer Tyra Buss was held to only two in the second.

The team as a whole shot 21.9 percent from the field in the second half and turned the ball over on 30.6 percent of their second half possessions.

“We just didn't hit shots,” said Coach Moren according to ASAP Sports. “We really didn't. We had great looks. The third quarter -- I'm getting all -- we shoot 12 percent. We're 2-for-17. We got the shots; we just didn't hit them. And that's the frustrating thing.”

To counter, Purdue shot 45.5 percent from the field in the second half while, Ashley Morrissette and Dominique Oden combined for 27 points in the final 20 minutes.

The Boilermaker’s tight defensive pressure in the second half ultimately propelled them to a 66 to 60 point victory in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament.