Courtesy: Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics
Sophomore Crystal Bradford scored a team-high 18 points in the Chippewas' 87-71 loss at No. 14/13 Purdue Sunday afternoon.
First-Half Deficit Too Much to Overcome at No. 14/13 Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A hot-shooting first half by No. 14/13 Purdue built an 18-point first-half lead and despite a valiant comeback attempt by Central Michigan, the Chippewas fell in Mackey Arena Sunday afternoon, 87-71

The Boilermakers (7-1) shot 63.6 percent (14-for-22) from the field in the first 20 minutes, including 83 percent (5-for-6) from long range to build the 18-point advantage. The three-point field goals deemed to be the difference maker as the Chippewas (2-4) knocked down just as many field goals (14-for-37) but hit just 2-of-11 attempts from three to trail 49-31 at the break.

"Purdue is pretty darn good," head coach Sue Guevara said. "This team is faster and quicker than the one we played last year. Our defense hurt them a little bit in the second half when we were all on the same page and I thought we did a better job attacking them offensively. We only went to the line five times in the first half. They scored 26 out of 87 points on free throws and that is just very poor defense on our part. Give them all the credit in the world."

Dee Dee Williams hit a three for the Boilermakers to extend their lead to 52-33 just 47 seconds into the second half, but the Chippewas went on a 7-0 run on five-straight points from sophomore Jessica Green and a layup by sophomore Jas'Mine Bracey to pull within 12, 54-42, with 16:42 to go.

The Boilermakers promptly went on a 6-0 run of their own to push the lead back to 18 and ultimately extended the lead to 70-48, their largest of the game, on a free throw by Joselyn Massey.

The Chippewas would not go away with a fight however, limiting Purdue to just one field goal over the next 5:59 of the game, as they went on a 12-2 run. Senior Brandie Baker got things rolling with a three from the left wing and a pair of free throws before two more free throws by Green, a jumper by sophomore Crystal Bradford and a layup by Bracey of an offensive rebound pulled CMU within 12 at the 6:42 media timeout.

Bracey was fouled just before the timeout and hit one of two from the charity stripe to pull CMU within 11, 72-61, but it would be as close as the Chippewas would get. On the never next Purdue possession, KK Houser came up with an offensive rebound after a stop by the Chippewas' defense and Sam Ostarello hit a jumper and was subsequently fouled. Ostarello completed the three-point play by knocking down the free throw and 21 seconds later repeated the feat by converting another three-point play to push the Boilermakers' lead to 78-61.

The Chippewas' defense improved in the second half to hold Purdue to 39.4 percent shooting (13-for-33) as the Maroon and Gold were able to outscore the Black and Gold in the final 20 minutes, 40-38.

Bradford led the Chippewas with 18 points and seven rebounds on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor, while Green finished with 15 points and Baker and Bracey each scored 11. Ostarello led Purdue with 23 points, while Houser had 19 and freshman Taylor Manuel had 12.

CMU will continue its tough non-conference schedule Wednesday when it hosts its annual 'Hoops for Hunger' game versus Green Bay at noon.