- Associated Press - Friday, March 17, 2017

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - It didn’t take long for Purdue to figure out Green Bay’s defense.

The Boilermakers jumped to a 15-point lead late in the first quarter and didn’t let the Phoenix get close until Mehryn Kraker scored on a layup with 2:35 left to cut the lead to 62-57. But Dominque Oden hit a 3-pointer and Ashley Morrisette, who led the Boilermakers with 24 points, added a pair of free throws and Purdue held on to win 74-62 on Friday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said strong starts in the first and third quarters were key.

“I thought that really gave us a boost,” she said.

Green Bay coach Kevin Borseth said Purdue extending an eight-point halftime lead to 43-29 early in the third quarter hurt.

“I thought the start of the half was really critical for us,” he said.

The Boilermakers (23-12), playing their first game since Versyp informed the team she was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, made 63 percent of their shots in the first quarter while holding Green Bay (27-6) to 23 percent shooting to take control. The Boilermakers shot 51 percent from the floor to win for the eighth time in their last nine games while Green Bay shot 33 percent.

Mehryn Kraker, who led Green Bay with 23 points on 9-of-24 shooting, said Purdue was more athletic than teams the Phoenix usually play.

“Credit to Purdue. They had a good defensive scheme going on. They got out in the passing lanes, they’re long and athletic,” Kraker said. “We don’t see these good, good, good, strong, tall athletes often.”

The Phoenix, who entered the game second in the NCAA in scoring defense at 51 points a game, gave up more than that in three quarters as Purdue led 56-42 at the end of the period.

Jessica Lindstrom added 15 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out. Dominique Harris had 13 points for Purdue and Ae’Rianna Harris made all six shots she took to finish with 12 points.

The Boilermakers extended the lead to 18 points early in the fourth quarter before the Phoenix made their run.

Versyp said she wasn’t surprised the Phoenix made a run at the end.

“They never quit. They just work so hard,” she said. “Whenever you have 3-point shooters, you’re always in the game.”


Purdue: The Boilermakers advance to the second round of the tournament for the 23rd time in 26 appearances. The Boilermakers lost their opening games in 1991 to Vanderbilt, 1996 to Notre Dame and last season to Oklahoma.

Green Bay: The Phoenix were knocked out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament for a fourth straight year. Green Bay won three straight first-round games from 2010 to 2012, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2011.


The 72 points were the third most given up by Green Bay this season. … Green Bay forced 23 turnovers while turning the ball over 12 times, but had only an 18-16 point advantage in points off turnovers. … Purdue had a 39-27 rebound advantage.


“We turned the ball over. We turned the ball over and gave up baskets, that’s why they scored the points,” Borseth said.


Purdue: Play Notre Dame on Sunday for a spot in the Sweet 16.

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