Behind a dominating performance on the boards, the No. 13 Purdue University Calumet women’s basketball team snapped a two-game losing streak with Wednesday’s 73-59 league win at Holy Cross College.
The Peregrines (19-6, 11-4 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference) trailed just once, when the Saints’ Tagin Schultheis drilled a 3-pointer 22 seconds into the contest, but took control after that, as Purdue Calumet held a 37-28 lead in halftime.
Junior Patrice McBee (Monterey, Ind./Culver Community) continued her strong play, recording a team-best 20 points to go along with 16 rebounds and sophomore teammate Cassidy Deno (Otterbein, Ind./Benton Central) added 18 points and six boards in an rebounding effort that was all Peregrines.
Purdue Calumet outrebounded Holy Cross (2-24, 0-14) by 28 (57-29), which included 24 Peregrine offensive rebounds and 21 second-chance points. Senior Kami Graber (Nashville, Ind./Brown County) added 10 rebounds in addition to eight points, five assists and two steals.
After Schultheis hit the triple for the home team, Purdue Calumet would go on a 12-0 run to take a six-point lead at the 15:59 mark. Graber had the immediate answer with a jumper, followed by a Deno 3-pointer and steal-layup combination. Junior Jada Buggs (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) and Deno would then add an offensive rebound and putback each, capped by Deno’s, who was fouled on her layup and completed the three-point play to put the Peregrines up, 12-3.
The Saints would remain close throughout the first half, cutting the Peregrines’ lead to two, 23-21, before Purdue Calumet rattled off another 9-0 run – capped by a Stephanie Balon (Wanatah, Ind./South Central) trifecta – to build the lead back to 10 with 3:36 left before the break.
The second half was all Peregrines, as the visitors built a quick 11-point lead out of halftime. Holy Cross would make a small run to cut that margin to six, 52-46, before Purdue Calumet used one more crushing 19-6 run – holding the Saints scoreless for nearly three and half minutes down the stretch – to take a 19-point lead (71-52), its largest of the game. McBee had three baskets in the paint during that stretch.
Balon added eight points, including two 3s, and Buggs finished with seven points, six assists, two blocks, five boards and a steal for the Peregrines in the victory.
Purdue Calumet finished the game shooting 42.6 percent (29 of 68) from the field compared to 33.3 percent (20 of 60) for the Saints, who were led by Schultheis’ 16 points.
The Peregrines return to action Saturday, Feb. 14, when they host St. Francis (Ill.) in the women’s regular-season home finale at the Fitness and Recreation Center. Saturday will mark senior day for the Peregrines, who will honor their two seniors, Kami Graber and Stephanie Balon. Game time is set for 1 p.m. (CT), with the men’s contest to follow.