Kami Graber scored a season high 25 points and Cassidy Deno hit two free throws late to stall a Ashford University comeback attempt, as the No. 10 Purdue University Calumet women’s basketball team held on to beat the Saints on the road Saturday, 71-66.
Graber (Nashville, Ind./Brown County) made a career-high 10 field goals and added two assists and three steals and Deno (Otterbein, Ind./Benton Central) added 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting and three assists to lead the Peregrines (7-2).
Purdue Calumet led at halftime (34-24) and held a 15-point advantage midway through the second half (15:35, 29-44) but Ashford stormed back with a 19-7 run to cut the Peregrine lead to two, 54-52, with 5:51 remaining.
The Saints (3-4) would go on to take a one-point lead on a Madison Wagner 3-pointer with 1:16 to play, but junior Patrice McBee (Monterey, Ind./Culver Community) grabbed her own rebound and dropped in a layup to five the Peregrines’ a slim lead.
A Stephanie Balon (Wanatah, Ind./South Central) defensive rebound off an Ashford missed jumper gave the ball back to Purdue Calumet with 39 ticks left, and Deno would answer with a jumper to push the lead to three, 69-66. Ashford’s 3-point try out of the timeout fell short, and Deno sealed the win with two makes from the charity stripe to send the Peregrines home with a victory.
McBee and Balon each finished just shy of a double-double, as both scored nine points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Purdue Calumet finished 40 percent from the field (28 of 70) compared to 43.8 percent (21 of 48) for Ashford, but forced the Saints into 19 turnovers, with the Peregrines committing just nine giveaways.
The Peregrines dominated inside, outscoring the Saints 38-24 in the paint and netting 25 points off Ashford turnovers.
Purdue Calumet returns to action Wednesday, Dec. 3, when it travels to Joilet, Ill., for a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference contest at St. Francis (Ill.). The Peregrines play at Indiana South Bend Dec. 5 before returning home for a league contest against Holy Cross on Saturday, Dec. 13, which also marks the Peregrines’ annual Kids Day event at the Fitness and Recreation Center.