Sophomore Cassidy Deno poured in a career-high 33 points to lead the No. 11 Purdue University Calumet women’s basketball team to a solid 83-73 nonleague victory over visiting Grace College Wednesday.
Deno (Otterbein, Ind./Benton Central) finished 10 of 19 from the field, including 4 of 5 from behind the arc, and added 13 boards, three assists and a steal in one of her best performances of her young career. She topped her previous career-high of 28, set just two games ago in a victory over Rochester College (Mich.) Dec. 20.
The Peregrines (12-2) remained unbeaten in the confines of the Fitness and Recreation Center, where they’ve won 17 in a row dating back to last season.
Grace College (7-8) didn’t go down easily. The visiting Lancers of Winona Lake, Ind., kicked off the game with a nine-point lead after a Darian Patton jumper at the 15:28 mark made the score 16-7 in favor of Grace. That lead remained at (18-10) before the Peregrines began a 11-0 run kickstarted by freshman Sammy Dillman (Bedford, Ind./North Lawrence) 3-pointer. Deno would score a layup in the paint as the guard and teammate Jada Buggs (Elkhart,Ind./Elkhart Memorial) each added triples of their own to give Purdue Calumet its first lead at 21-18 with 11:42 to play before the half.
The Peregrines would push that lead to 10, 37-27, aided by a Darien Thompson (Anderson, Ind./Anderson) 3-pointer and a perfect 6-for-6 performance at the free-throw line by freshman Jessica Kiser (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville), Deno, and senior Stephanie Balon (Wanatah, Ind./South Central).
The Lancers would cut that lead to five on two occasions in the final minutes of the half, but a Kami Graber (Nashville, Ind./Brown County) layup and two free throws helped give the Peregrines a nice cushion as they led 46-38 at the break.
Despite full-court pressure by the visitors, Purdue Calumet’s lead never fell below seven in the second half, as the Peregrines led by as many as 15 (65-50, 11:22). Deno scored 18 of her 33 in the second frame, adding two more 3-pointers and a perfect 6-of-6 performance from the charity stripe. With the Lancers threatening on Chloe layup that cut the lead to seven, 68-61, with 6:18 to play, junior Patrice McBee (Monterey, Ind./Culver Community) drained two free throws and hit a layup out of a timeout to push the Peregrines’ lead back to double digits.
Graber and McBee added 15 points each with McBee adding eight rebounds. The Peregrines helped themselves at the charity stripe, making 82.4 percent (28 of 34) compared to the Lancers, who made of 10 of 14 shots from the free throw line.
The Peregrines held a slight advantage from the field, making 44.4 percent (24 of 54) of their shots from the field, compared to Grace’s 43.9 percent (29 of 66). The Lancers did hold an edge on the boards, 39-37, and in the paint, 36-28.
Purdue Calumet returns to action Saturday, Jan. 3, when it plays host to Clarke University in a 1 p.m. matchup at the Fitness and Recreation Center. The game will be the first game of the department’s Military Appreciation Day, which also features the Purdue Calumet’s men’s against Indiana Northwest at 3 p.m.
Free t-shirts, beanies, lanyards, and other giveaways will be up for grabs, sponsored by the Purdue Calumet Army ROTC and the Indiana National Guard.