A late surge with less than 10 minutes to play proved to be the run that the No. 11 Purdue University Calumet women’s basketball team needed in an important 106-96 league victory over host Olivet Nazarene University Saturday.
The Peregrines (18-4, 10-2 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference) remained in first place in the CCAC South Division with the win and kept the nation’s scoring leader Tigers (16-8, 8-4) in the second slot with five conference games remaining.
Junior Patrice McBee (Monterey, Ind./Culver Community) proved again why she’s leading the nation in field goal percentage, as she poured in 20 points and a career-high – and a possible program record* – 24 rebounds on 10 of 17 shooting for the Peregrines.
Classmate Jada Buggs (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) netted a game-high 26 points and added 10 rebounds, freshman Sammy Dillman (Bedford, Ind./North Lawrence) crushed her previous career-best of eight points with 23, senior Kami Graber (Nashville, Ind./Brown County) had 12 points and seven assists and sophomore Darien Thompson (Anderson, Ind./Anderson) chipped in 10 points to round out Peregrines in double-figure scoring.
Olivet Nazarene, which came into the game averaging a nation-best 109.0 points per game, struck first with a Jayne Stuart 3-pointer to open the contest, but Purdue Calumet would answer quickly, using a Buggs layup and Dillman triple to take a 5-3 lead. The Peregrines wouldn’t trail for the rest of the half, as a Dillman layup at the 3:09 mark game them their largest lead of the game at 12, 40-28, with 3:09 to go before the break.
Purdue Calumet led 47-40 at the halfway point, using a 22-10 advantage inside and 17-5 advantage in bench points – led by Dillman’s nine points – to help hold the Tigers to just 32 percent shooting from the field and 25.8 percent (8 of 31) from behind the arc.
The Tigers made a run of their own five minutes into the second period, outscoring the Peregrines 16-8 to regain the lead, 56-55, with 15:03 to play. The score stood tied at 70-all with 9:53 to play before Purdue Calumet made its move, enacting a 23-8 run over the next four and a half minutes to lead by 15 (93-78) at the 5:30 mark, a lead it would hold to seal the win.
Buggs, a 6-foot forward, took over during the run, scoring four layups and completing a three-point play for 11 of her 26 points.
Purdue Calumet was able to overcome its 30 turnovers with its 49.4 percent (39 of 79) shooting from the field and 23 of 34 makes from the free throw line, led by Dillman’s 6-for-6 effort at the charity stripe.
Senior Stephanie Balon (Wanatah, Ind./South Central) added nine points off the bench for the Peregrines, who won the battle on the boards (67-51) and held the Tigers to 34.3 percent (36 of 105) shooting from the field and 26.9 percent (18 of 67) from the 3-point line.
Stuart and Abbey Hengesbach led the Tigers with 23 points each, with Hengesbach adding a team-best 10 rebounds.
The Peregrines return to action Wednesday, Feb. 4, when they host No. 4 Saint Xavier University in a NAIA Division II Top 10 matchup beginning at 5 p.m. at the Fitness and Recreation Center.
*Individual game records were not kept prior to the 2010 season, but the 24 rebounds tops the previous best of 20 by Jada Buggs in the Peregrines’ 122-91 win over ONU earlier this season.