Top-seeded Purdue routs North Carolina 82-59
Posted: Wednesday March 24, 1999 10:31 PM
NORMAL, Ill. (CNN/SI) -- Purdue returned to its regular season form Saturday.
Despite shooting 36 percent, the Boilermakers pulled out two wins last weekend to advance to the Sweet 16. Saturday, Purdue, the top-seed in the Midwest Regional, found its game and routed North Carolina 82-59.
Once again the trio of Ukari Figgs, Stephanie White-McCarty and Katie Douglas, led the way for the Boilermakers, which won its 29th straight game.
"We ran into a buzzsaw," North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "They made those threes early and that got us down mentally. We never recovered from that."
Figgs scored 15 of her 24 points in the first half to lead Purdue, which zipped to a 15-3 lead in the first 5 1/2 minutes and was never threatened en route to a berth in Monday night's regional finals.
Douglas scored 21 points on 9-for-10 shooting and White-McCarty had 18. Purdue shot 71 percent in the second half and 62 percent (31-of-50) for the game.
"We didn't think about what happened in the first two games," White-McCarty said. "We just came out and wanted to execute and we were hitting shots."
The Boilermakers also were superb defensively, holding North Carolina (28-8) to 40 percent shooting and a season low for points. The previous low for the Tar Heels, who had been averaging 82.6 points a game, had come in an 86-68 loss to UCLA on Nov. 28.
"The defense got everything going for us tonight," Figgs said. "A lot opened up because we were able to pressure the ball effectively in the first half."
Chanel Wright led North Carolina with 14 points, all in the second half. North Carolina's outstanding guard duo of Nikki Teasley and Juana Brown managed only nine points each and made just 8-of-27 shots between them.
North Carolina had been expected to test Purdue with its quickness and athleticism, but the Boilermakers consistently beat the Tar Heels down the floor for layups or kickouts for 3-pointers.
And their passing was superb. Purdue had assists on 12 of its 16 first-half field goals and finished with 23 assists. Douglas had eight assists, White-McCarty seven and Figgs six.
"We were surprised how they shot during the first half," Wright said. "It looked like our mind wasn't completely in it from then on out."
Figgs hit two 3-pointers and two free throws to lead Purdue's early flurry. North Carolina cut the lead to 17-12 on LaQuanda Barksdale's jump hook with 10:06 left, but that's as close as it would get.
Purdue kicked back into high gear and went on a 17-4 run that included seven points by Figgs to open a 34-16 lead. Mackenzie Curless' layup off an inbounds play just before the buzzer gave Purdue a 38-22 halftime lead.
After Teasley scored on a drive to start the second half, Purdue answered with an 11-2 run that featured more crisp passing to go up 49-26.
Douglas fed Figgs for a layup, White-McCarty intercepted a cross-court pass and flipped the ball to Douglas for a layup that she turned into a three-point play and Douglas returned the favor with a pass to White-McCarty for a jumper.
A few minutes later, Purdue ran off 12 straight points for a 63-32 lead with 10:50 left and the margin was never smaller than 19 after that.
"They shot so well in the first half, I didn't think it would get any better," Hatchell said. "But they shot 71 percent in the second half and that is hard to overcome."
It certainly was on this night.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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