Nebraska slipped to 11-4 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten with the loss, while Purdue improved to 13-2 and 2-0 in the conference with its second straight overtime road win to open Big Ten play.
The game marked the third meeting in the young history of the series with Purdue, and the third straight time the two programs have gone overtime. In fact, Saturday's game was the shortest meeting in the series, after NU won 93-89 in triple-overtime last season in West Lafayette, Ind., and Purdue won 74-70 in double-overtime in the Big Ten Tournament title game in Indianapolis.
"Well, I guess it is what we have come to expect from Nebraska and Purdue," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "I really want to commend Purdue for playing another great basketball game. I also want to give a lot of credit to our team for playing with great effort. Sometimes, when you shoot it as poorly as we shot it, it can carry over to the defensive end. That didn't happen. We didn't hit a shot for more than eight minutes, but we kept playing defense and we were able to stay in the game because of it."
Saturday's game may have been the most improbable of the three to reach overtime. The Huskers, who have started strong throughout the season, struggled to an 0-for-16 start from the field to open the game, as Purdue built a 13-1 lead. Nebraska did not hit its first field goal until sophomore guard Brandi Jeffery came off the bench to hit a three-pointer with 11:20 left in the half.
Moore followed with a three, before back-to-back baskets by Emily Cady and Moore set up another Jeffery three to cut Purdue's edge to just one at 15-14 with 8:45 left in the half. Jeffery finished with eight points and a game-high four steals. Cady finished with seven points and 12 rebounds for the Huskers.
After Jeffery's second three, Nebraska missed seven straight field goals and Purdue pushed out to a 24-16 edge with four minutes left. But Moore's second three cut the Boilermaker margin to just one possession at 26-23 at the half.
The Huskers trailed by just three despite hitting just 8-of-37 field goals (21.6 percent) in the opening period and being outrebounded 28-19. NU did hit 4-of-13 three-pointers (30.8 percent). NU hung tough by winning the first-half turnover battle 13-6. Purdue hit just 9-of-27 field goals, including 2-of-6 threes. The Boilermakers were also 6-of-6 at the free throw line.
Courtney Moses and Drey Mingo led Purdue with seven first-half points, while Sam Ostarello controlled the glass for the Boilermakers with 11 rebounds to go along with four points. Moses, Mingo and Ostarello were big throughout the game for the Boilermakers, as Ostarello finished with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting and ripped down 19 rebounds. She added two blocked shots and three steals in 41 minutes.
Mingo added 17 points and eight rebounds, while Moses pitched in 17 points of her own.
Nebraska did not take its first lead of the game until Hooper hit her first three-pointer to give the Huskers a 45-42 edge with 7:20 left. NU took its biggest lead at 49-45 after a layup by Moore with 6:09, but Moore missed the and-one free throw chance that could have pushed the Husker margin to five.
Moses responded with five straight points, including a three-pointer to give the lead back to the Boilermakers at 50-49 with 5:09 left. Just over 30 seconds later, Hooper was fouled but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Moore and Hooper are both better than 80 percent free throw shooters who rank among the top 10 in the Big Ten.
Ostarello scored to put Purdue up 52-49 with 3:51 left, before a pair of Cady free throws and a Hooper jumper temporarily gave NU the lead.
Nebraska hits the road for the first time in Big Ten play this season when the Huskers head to Indiana on Thursday. Tip-off between the Huskers and Hoosiers is set fot 5:30 p.m. (CT) at Assembly Hall in Bloomington.
Live national television coverage will be provided by the Big Ten Network. Free live audio will be available on Huskers.com from the Husker Sports Network.
Purdue then appeared to seal the game with an Ostarello three, a Mingo jumper and a pair of Dee Dee Williams free throws to push the margin to 59-53 with 1:20 left. The Huskers then missed a three and Ostarello got the board. Moses, a 90 percent free throw shooter entering the game, was fouled and went to the line with 50 seconds left with a chance to end it.
Moses missed the front end and Nebraska got missed jumpers from Hailie Sample and Moore before, Cady found Hooper for three after an offensive rebound to cut the margin to 59-56 with 30 seconds left.
The Huskers were forced to foul KK Houser, an 85 percent free throw shooter, who also missed the front end. Cady found Hooper again with 2.7 seconds left, who buried an open three to send the more than 6,600 fans at the Devaney Center into a frenzy and the game into overtime.
Moses scored five quick points in overtime to put Purdue in front, and the Boilermakers took a 66-61 lead after a Mingo layup off an assist from Moses with 2:22 left.
After Sample fouled out, Tear'a Laudermill hit a three and a layup in the span of 1:10 to tie the game at 66 with 59 seconds left in overtime. Laudermill finished with seven points.
Ostarello then stuck a jumper for Purdue with 40 seconds left, before Hooper missed a three that would have give NU the lead with 26 seconds left. Houser made the first of two free throws to push the margin to 69-66, but the Huskers had the ball and 16 seconds to try and force another overtime. Hooper's three with four seconds left was no good.
Nebraska went overtime despite hitting just 24-of-78 shots (30.8 percent) from the field, including 9-of-30 (30 percent) from three-point range. The Huskers also hit just 69.2 percent (9-13) of their free throws. NU also lost the battle of the boards, 53-44.
However, NU dominated the turnover department, 18-9, and produced a 20-to-9 assist-to-turnover ratio as a team. The Huskers also had more offensive rebounds than Purdue (19-16) and outscored the Boilermakers in points in the paint (26-22), second-chance points (17-13), points off turnovers (12-9), fastbreak points (6-2) and bench points (15-8).
Purdue hit just 39.3 percent (24-61) of its shots, including 30.4 percent (7-23) of its threes, while hitting 77.8 percent (14-18) of its free throws.
---------------------------------------- 1st 2nd OT Total Purdue 26 33 10 69 Nebraska 23 36 7 66 ----------------------------------------