Boilermakers cruise by Wake Forest

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ST. THOMAS - The Purdue University women's basketball team never trailed in its physical 67-53 win over Wake Forest on Friday at Paradise Jam.

The No. 14 Boilermakers (5-0) led by 16 early and withstood a 12-0 run spanning both halves to win their second game of the tournament.

Purdue senior forward Sam Ostarello had team-highs of 15 points and 15 rebounds, the latter a career high.

"I was just playing hard," Ostarello said. "Honestly, it's kind of a blur, but just playing hard and playing for our team. Didn't really come out in the first half playing like I needed to, like I should be as a senior.

"Coach told me blunt, very forceful, but you just turn it around from then, and I knew I needed to do something second half," she said.

Next up: No. 2 Connecticut at 9:15 p.m. tonight.

Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said UConn is a team with few weaknesses.

"Transition defense might be a weakness, but if you can get there, you gotta be able to rebound, but they're good at every position, and I'm sure Geno can tell you that," Versyp said.

Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma's Huskies beat Purdue in the 2011 NCAA Sweet 16 the last time the two teams met.

Purdue led by 16 with less than seven minutes remaining in the first half, but Wake Forest (2-3) went on a 14-5 run to close the half. The Demon Deacons finished with seven straight points, five from junior guard Chelsea Douglas, who finished with a team-high 16 points.

The run continued into the second half, and Wake Forest cut the lead to 40-39 on a layup by sophomore forward Dearica Hamby with 13:55 remaining.

Purdue turned it back on when senior guard Chantel Poston took an elbow to the face while boxing out for a rebound midway through the half. The Boilermakers finished with a 40-29 advantage on the boards.

"It was very physical the whole game," Ostarello said. "I think after Chantel got hit in the face, you know, we have each other's back. That's our motto, 'We've got your back.' We just pulled together as a team, and that's what needs to happen. We're all sisters. If one of us gets hit, the rest of us are gonna come back fighting for her. It was just a battle of will and that's what happened."

Four other Purdue players joined Ostarello in double figures. Junior KK Houser had 12, Poston and junior guard Courtney Moses had 11 each, and senior forward Drey Mingo chipped in 10.

Hamby finished with 12 for Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons will go for their first win of the tournament at 7 p.m. against Marist.

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