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Braun's late flurry leads IU past Purdue

Monday, January 19, 2009


AP Sports Writer

BLOOMINGTON -- Indiana's Jamie Braun waited patiently for everyone else to do the dirty work.

When things finally opened up for the junior guard, she knocked out Purdue.

Braun made two of her four 3-pointers in the final 3 1/2 minutes Monday night, igniting a 17-1 closing flurry to lead the Hoosiers past the rival Boilermakers 71-57.

"My teammates got me open and it just presents me with a wide open shot," Braun said. "It just happens to be late in the game or late in the clock, but I couldn't have done it without my teammates."

Certainly not this night.

Jori Davis scored a career-high 22 points, including five in the decisive spurt. Forward Whitney Thomas added 19 points and Braun finished with 16 -- the last two on free throws to give her 1,000 career points and an emotional victory over former Hoosiers coach Sharon Versyp.

Indiana (13-3, 6-1) has won 12 of its last 13 games, beat Purdue for just the fourth time in 21 meetings and now holds a half-game lead over Ohio State in the Big Ten title chase.

Braun's late shots made the difference.

"That's the sign of a good team," coach Felisha Legette-Jack said. "At the beginning of the game, she wasn't scoring as much as she'd like or we'd like. But one of the great things about shooters is they keep shooting till they find a rhythm."

After going 1-of-6 from the field in the first half, Braun was 4-of-6 in the second half when she scored 13 points, and Indiana's balanced attack threw off Purdue (12-6, 5-2).

But this wasn't the same Boilermakers team that had won four straight and 7-of-8 to pull into a three-way tie atop the Big Ten.

While Lakisha Freeman finished with 17 points and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton had 14, Versyp was dismayed by Purdue's inability to exploit its advantage inside. The Boilermakers held a 26-24 scoring advantage in the paint.

The bigger problem: Turnovers.

Purdue played its fifth straight game without starting point guard FahKara Malone (dislocated ring finger), and Malone's replacement, Lauren Mioton, was not in the starting lineup 16 minutes because of an undisclosed injury. Mioton played 16 minutes.

The injuries forced freshman Brittany Rayburn to make her first career start against Indiana's relentless pressure.

Purdue committed 23 turnovers and was outscored 27-7 off the turnovers, prompting Versyp to say she would change the starting lineup for Thursday's game against Minnesota.

"I don't think they were unforced (turnovers), I think our guards didn't handle the pressure well at all," Versyp said. "If we can knock down a wide open shot, they knocked theirs down, it would have been a totally different game."

Instead, the Hoosiers had control most of the night.

After leading for nearly 20 minutes from late in the first half until late in the second half but never by more than seven, Purdue finally broke through. Wisdom-Hylton hit a 15-footer and Freeman completed a three-point play with 5:43 left to give Purdue a 54-52 lead.

Indiana tied it on Thomas' layup off a tipped pass, and Freeman answered with a tip-in with 4:53 left for the Boilermakers to make it 56-54.

But Braun and the Hoosiers changed things quickly.

Kim Roberson tied the score with two free throws. Braun followed that with a 3, Davis hit two more free throws and Braun made another 3 to give Indiana a 64-56 lead with 2:05 remaining.

Purdue scored just one more point the rest of the way.

"I think they were wide open 3s, and I wouldn't have gotten those without my teammates' drives in the first half," Braun said. "I'm just glad they went in."

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