Second-half rims proved to be unkind to the No. 9 Purdue University Calumet women’s basketball team, which saw No. 5 Cardinal Stritch University pull away in the final frame to hand the Peregrines a 65-48 league loss in a battle of nationally-ranked teams Saturday at the Fitness and Recreation Center.
Purdue Calumet (16-4, 8-2 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference) fell at home for the first time in 21 games, as the Wolves (18-2, 9-1) handed the host its first loss in the confines of the Fitness and Rec Center since Dec. 27, 2013.
Sophomore Cassidy Deno (Otterbein, Ind./Benton Central) led the way offensively for the Peregrines with 11 points and sophomore Darien Thompson (Anderson, Ind./Anderson) added 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting as the only two players in double figures. Junior Patrice McBee (Monterey, Ind./Culver Community) chipped in seven points and a game-high 11 boards to go along with two steals.
The Peregrines started the game out strong, matching the Wolves’ offensive output through the first 12 minutes in what turned out to be a low-scoring affair. With the game tied at 12-all with 8:29 before the half, Stritch would use a 7-2 run – capitalizing off three straight Peregrine turnovers – to take a five-point lead (19-14) at the 5:16 mark.
An Emily Rudkin jumper pushed that lead to six with less than three minutes to play, but the Peregrines stormed back on two straight triples from Thompson and Deno. Thompson ended the half by giving Purdue Calumet the momentum, as the sophomore point guard raced down the floor after a Stritch miss and drained a jumper at the buzzer to give the Peregrines a 25-23 advantage at the break.
The second half proved to be all Wolves, as Purdue Calumet held its last lead of the game (33-32) on a Thompson jumper in the paint with 16:21 to play. From that point, Purdue Calumet was held without a made field goal for what turned out to be nearly five minutes, but still found itself down just four, 42-38 (11:22), thanks to another Thompson 3-pointer.
That’s when Stritch made its game-sealing run, outscoring the Peregrines 17-2 over the next four minutes to take a commanding 19-point lead with 5:55 to play.
In the second half, the Wolves used a 12-2 advantage in fastbreak points and outscored the Peregrines 24-14 in the paint to help seal their 13th straight win over Purdue Calumet.
The Peregrines finished the game 34 percent (18 of 53) from the field compared to 43.5 percent (27 of 62) for Stritch, which held a slight 38-35 rebounding advantage and outscored the Peregrines in the paint, 38-18 and netted 17 points off 19 Purdue Calumet turnovers.
Junior Jada Buggs (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) added seven points and senior Kami Graber (Nashville, Ind./Brown County) had six points and three assists for the Peregrines in just their second league setback this season.
Emily Neitzel led the Wolves with 19 points and Michelle Piepenburg added 14 points and 10 boards in the victory, Stritch’s 15th in a row this season.
Purdue Calumet returns to action Wednesday, Jan. 28, when the Peregrines travel to Elgin, Ill., to take on Judson in a league contest. The Peregrines’ next home game is set for Wed., Feb. 4, in another Top 10 matchup with No. 4 St. Xavier University.