WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Coming out of a timeout down 10 midway through the third quarter, the Purdue women’s basketball team outscored Northwestern by 16 points over the final 15 minutes of action to pull off a 78-72 win over the Wildcats in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday night at the Target Center.

It was Purdue’s first win this season when trailing at the break, as well as facing a deficit of 10 points or more.

Abbey Ellis was electric in her first career double-double. The fifth-year senior dropped 25 points on 7-of-18 shooting with a pair of 3-pointers. Ellis added 10 rebounds, marking Purdue’s first double-double in the tournament since 2020. The Australian international’s 25 points were most by a Boilermaker since Dominique Oden scored 20 against Nebraska in 2019.

Ellis finished 9-of-10 at the line, tying for fifth in Purdue’s single-tournament game history.

Rashunda Jones gave Purdue a much-needed spark off the bench with 19 points in her first tournament game. It was the highest point tally by a Purdue freshman since Oden had 20 against Ohio State in 2017.

Jeanae Terry filled up the stat sheet with a typical line of eight points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists and three steals. The fifth-year senior tied Stacey Lovelace’s record for most rebounds in a tournament game by a Boilermaker, while sliding into 10th on the Big Ten’s all-time chart.

Down four at the break, Purdue (13-17) outscored Northwestern (9-21) by 10 over the final 20 minutes. The Boilermakers overcame a 35.9% shooting clip by going 26-of-32 at the charity stripe, matching the Purdue single-game tournament record set in 2003 against Iowa.

The Boilermakers opened strong in the first quarter hitting six of their first eight shots to build a 14-9 lead midway through the frame. Northwestern closed the first on an 11-4 run with 10 points in the paint to hold a 20-18 lead after the first.

Purdue started the second on an 8-2 run to open up a 26-22 lead, before Northwestern rolled back to close the half up 39-35. The Boilermakers forced 10 first half turnovers, but Northwestern shot an even 50% from the field.

The Wildcats added to gap early in the third with a 10-2 run, forcing Katie Gearlds timeout with 4:55 to play. From that point, it was all Boilermakers. Ellis and Jones scored the next 15 points for Purdue to close out the third down 55-52.

The duo combined for 19 of Purdue’s 26 points in the fourth. Purdue went 5-of-12 from the field and 15-of-18 at the line. Layden drilled a long-range 3-pointer with 8:58 left in the game to put Purdue ahead for good. The Boilermakers managed just three made field goals in the final eight minutes of action, but all three were momentum builders.

Ellis rolled through a contested layup with 5:45 to go, before Jones converted back-to-back traditional 3-point plays with under four minutes to play. Purdue’s defense forced four turnovers in the final frame.

The Boilermakers finished the final 15 minutes of the game making 10 of their final 21 shots.


• Purdue leads the all-time series with Northwestern 53-26.

• The Boilermakers recorded their conference-best 47th Big Ten Tournament victory.

• Purdue won the battle on the glass 43-36, with a plus-12 margin in the second half.

• The Boilermakers committed just 12 turnovers and allowed eight points, while flipping 15 Northwestern giveaways into 11 points.

• Purdue grabbed 20 offensive rebounds, a new high under Katie Gearlds and the most at a Big Ten Tournament game by the Boilermakers since 2012 against Nebraska.


The Boilermakers will have a tight turnaround before facing No. 5 Nebraska on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.