The No. 21 Purdue University Calumet women’s basketball team asserted itself in the second half to hold off visiting Trinity Christian College, 57-48, in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference quarterfinals in front of a rowdy crowd at the Fitness and Recreation Center.
Purdue Calumet (21-7) advances to the CCAC semifinals to take on Cardinal Stritch (25-4) – a 94-64 winner over Olivet Nazarene – at top-seed host Saint Xavier’s Shannon Center Friday. The Peregrines will take on the Wolves at 8 p.m. (CT), and host St. Xavier (27-2) will face St. Francis (17-14) in the first game at 6 p.m.
Against the Trolls (14-18), junior Jada Buggs (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) led the way with 19 points, six rebounds, three blocks and two assists and classmate Patrice McBee (Monterey, Ind./Culver Community) added her 16th double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds in a post-dominated game that saw the Peregrines outscore the Trolls 32-16 in the paint.
Purdue Calumet played the Trolls close throughout the first half, as the score stood tied at 19-all with 4:33 left before the break. That’s when the Peregrines began to make their move, executing a 11-3 run in the final four minutes to take an eight-point lead, 30-22, heading into halftime. Freshman Katie Wampler (Scottsburg, Ind./Scottsburg) started the run with a tough offensive rebound and putback and Buggs added a jumper.
Sophomore Darien Thompson (Anderson, Ind./Anderson) then breathed even more life into the home team, hitting two-straight shots – including a clutch 3-pointer – off the bench and senior Kami Graber (Nashville, Ind./Brown County) capped the run with a steal and layup on the other end.
Struggling from the outside for much of the game – the Peregrines finished just 2-for-13 from behind the arc – Purdue Calumet packed its offense inside in the second half, as Buggs scored 12 of her points in the second half and McBee had six to help the host score half of its second-half points in the paint.
A Buggs layup at the 6:05 mark gave the Peregrines their largest lead of the game at 15 (50-35) with 6:05 to play. TCC made a small run in the final five minutes, as a Holly Boetsma triple and Celina Wanta layup cut the Peregrines’ lead to seven, 53-46, with 1:57 left.
Purdue Calumet freshman Sammy Dillman (Bedford, Ind./North Lawrence) helped the Peregrines seal it as the foul line, draining two shots from the charity stripe along with teammate Cassidy Deno (Otterbein, Ind./Benton Central), who finished the game a perfect 4 of 4 from the line.
The Peregrines shot 46.9 percent (23 of 49) from the field compared to 36.0 percent (18 of 50) by the Trolls, who cooled off from deep after hitting 4 of 9 from the 3-point line in the game’s first 20 minutes. Trinity Christian finished just 5 of 18 from behind the arc for the game.
Caitlin Cody and Boetsma each finished with 11 points for the Trolls in the setback.
Friday, Purdue Calumet will look to snap a 13-game losing streak against No. 6 Stritch, which defeated the Peregrines 65-48 back on Jan. 24. The last time Purdue Calumet defeated the Wolves – and only win under eight-year head coach Tom Megyesi – was during the 2008-09 season.
In the other quarterfinal games of the night, St. Francis defeated Robert Morris 84-82 in Elgin, Ill., and St. Xavier defeated Indiana South Bend 80-68.