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To the finals
No. 1 Purdue advances to Big Ten Tournament finals
Posted: Sunday February 28, 1999 06:29 PM
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Stephanie White-McCarty played strong, but No. 1 Purdue showed off some other weapons while advancing to the finals of the Big Ten Conference women's basketball tournament.
Ukari Figgs led Purdue (27-1, 17-0) with 21 points and Katie Douglas added 19 Sunday as the Boilermakers beat No. 5 seed Ohio State 72-59 in the semifinal contest at the RCA Dome. White-McCarty, the ninth-leading scorer in Big Ten women's history, scored 16.
"We were getting good, open looks," Figgs said. "We've just been able to knock down our shots."
Purdue hit seven of their 15 3-point attempts. The win was the Boilers' 25th consecutive victory.
Marrita Porter registered a double-double for Ohio State (17-11, 9-8) with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Purdue committed turnovers on two of its first three possessions and struggled early against Ohio State's driving offense.
The Boilermakers led 10-9 eight minutes into the game, but a layup by Michelle Duhart followed by a 3-pointer by Figgs sparked a 13-4 run by the Boilers.
"We got off to a pretty good start but once we got behind, it was hard to catch up," Ohio State coach Beth Burns said. "They are so tough mentally."
The Boilermakers took advantage of six Ohio State turnovers in the final five minutes of the first half while outscoring the Buckeyes 19-10 during that time.
A 3-pointer by White-McCarty at the end of the first half put Purdue up 16 points 42-26.
Ohio State started the second half with a 3-pointer from Jamie Lewis, but Purdue maintained a double-figures lead the rest of the way.
With the win, Purdue advanced to Monday night's championship game in the RCA Dome against the winner of the Penn State-Illinois semifinal.
Figgs, who connected on all four of her free-throw attempts, was 5-of-9 from 3-point range.
"Ukari is one of those players that can really hurt you when she gets a hot hand," Burns said. "She missed some shots in the second half but she hurt us in other ways."
As a team, Purdue hit 21 of its 29 attempts from the line while surrendering a 37-36 rebound advantage to the Buckeyes.
"Ohio State is a great basketball team inside and out," Purdue coach Carolyn Peck said. "Marrita Porter is why they carried it all the way through."
Illinois 77, No. 15 Penn State 75
Tauja Catchings' layup with one second left sealed a 77-75 victory for Illinois against No. 15 Penn State in the Big Ten Conference semifinals Sunday.
Illinois (18-10) advances to the championship game against No. 1 Purdue (27-1) at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.
Penn State (21-7) led 66-64 with 7:23 left in the game, but Melissa Parker's 3-pointer tied the game at 73 with 2:45 remaining.
The Nittany Lions Clara Carter made a layup to make it 75-73, before Susan Blauser made a jump shot to tie it at 75 with 35 seconds left.
Catchings blocked Penn State's final shot, then went down the court for the game-winning basket.
The Illini built their biggest lead to eight, at 31-23, when Allison Curtin hit a layup with 5:56 remaining in the half. But Penn State cranked up its defense, pressuring the Illini into a shot clock violation with 46 seconds left.
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