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Brown Reaches 2,000 But Purdue Ousts Liberty, 77-43
|Devon Brown scored a team-high 21 points on Sunday, going over the 2,000 mark during the final game of her collegiate career.|
Video Highlights from NCAA.com
Liberty redshirt senior Devon Brown reached the 2,000-point mark in the final game of her career, Sunday afternoon, thanks to a determined 21-point effort. However, it was not enough for the No. 13 seed Lady Flames, who fell to No. 4 seed Purdue, 77-43, in an NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship first-round tilt at the KFC Yum! Center.
Brown's contested bank shot from the right block with 1:17 to play enabled her to join Elena Kisseleva as the only Lady Flames ever to tally 2,000 career points. The Waynesboro, Va., native finished with 2,001 points.
Liberty struggled to shoot the basketball as a team, though, hitting a season-low 26.3 percent (15-of-57) of its field goals on the day. The Lady Flames end the 2012-13 season at 27-7 after their 14-game winning streak was halted.
Purdue, the Big Ten Tournament champion, improves to 25-8 and advances to a second-round contest against either No. 5 seed Louisville or No. 12 seed Middle Tennessee State, Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Boilermakers were keyed by the dynamic trio of Courtney Moses (21 points, five three-pointers), KK Houser (15 points, six assists) and Sam Ostarello (10 points, 17 rebounds).
Purdue scored the game's first five points, on a baseline jumper by Ostarello and a triple from Houser.
Liberty battled back to take a 10-9 lead when Reagan Miller's three-pointer from the right wing swished through the net at 14:56.
However, the Lady Flames' only advantage lasted just five seconds, as Houser answered with a traditional three-point play. That sparked an 11-0 run by the Boilermakers. Moses scored the final seven points of the surge, including a fast break layup at the 12:03 mark which gave Purdue a double-digit lead at 20-10.
The Boilermakers held Liberty to one made field goal during the final eight minutes of the half and took a 33-17 lead into the intermission when April Wilson's three-pointer connected at the halftime buzzer.
Liberty's 17 first-half points were its fewest tallies in a half this season for the team, as the Lady Flames shot just 18.8 percent (6-of-32) from the field and only 42.9 percent (3-of-7) from the free throw line.
Purdue's fast start was keyed by 46.2 percent (6-of-13) three-point shooting in the first half, including four triples by Moses.
Moses led all players with 16 first-half points, while teammate Ostarello's 13 rebounds helped the Boilermakers record a 26-21 rebounding edge for the period.
Miller and Devon Brown scored five points apiece for the Lady Flames during the first 20 minutes while Ashley Rininger collected eight boards during her first career start.
After Brittany Campbell opened the second-half scoring with a fast break layup, Purdue scored nine of the next 11 points. Ostarello's uncontested layup with 17:07 to play bolstered the Boilermakers' advantage to 42-21.
Liberty countered with a 6-0 run, pulling to within 42-27 on Brown's acrobatic layup at the 15:06 mark.
But Purdue bounced right back with eight consecutive markers. The Boilermakers' cushion reached 50-27 on Houser's steal and layup with 12:38 remaining.
Purdue's lead got as large as 35 points before the Boilermakers closed out a 77-43 triumph. The 43 points were a season low for the Lady Flames, who entered the contest averaging 72.0 ppg on the season.
While Liberty struggled with its shooting, Purdue finished at 50 percent from both the field (26-of-52) and three-point range (8-of-16). The Boilermakers ended the Lady Flames' 28-game streak of holding opponents below 50 percent field goal shooting.
Ostarello's work on the glass also helped Purdue finish with a 40-38 rebounding edge against the nation's No. 1-ranked team in rebound margin.
Two other key stats for the Boilermakers were bench points (28-8) and fast break points (17-2).
Brown, who scored 16 of her 21 points after halftime, added seven rebounds and a game-high five steals in 29 minutes of work. She finishes her career with 803 boards, ranking seventh in program history and No. 15 in Big South annals.
Fellow senior Tolu Omotola chipped in seven points and six rebounds. She will leave the Lady Flames ranked No. 15 in program history for points (988) and No. 8 in rebounds (672).
Liberty got solid production from redshirt freshmen Rininger and Katelyn Adams, helping offset the loss of Jasmine Gardner to injury. Rininger collected a team-high and career-high 13 boards, while Adams added six points, six rebounds and two blocks off of head coach Carey Green's bench.
For Purdue, Ostarello's 17 boards (16 defensive) were the most a Boilermaker has ever grabbed in the NCAA Tournament. The double-double was her 11th of the year, and the junior also rejected four shots on the afternoon.
The Boilermakers have now won 16 consecutive NCAA first-round contests.
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green
"As disappointing as this particular game was to all of us, I'd like to say thank you for the opportunity to play on this level. I've got a young group of women, who are five seniors, who have led us this year and in the preseason with all of our training. I'm very proud of their efforts. It's just unfortunate that we get to this level and didn't play very well. That is the way the game sort of turns out. I feel like Purdue played very well. They played as well as they could and we didn't play as well as we could have, so we lost to a very good Purdue team. They played up to their potential. I'm very proud of this group for reaching this level. We'd have liked to gone further, that was our goal. Unfortunately poor shooting percentage is pretty simple. They doubled our shooting percentage and that's not a good opportunity for you to win.
"Well, [Devon Brown] has the heart of a lion and it's hard to find those. She is a great scorer. Obviously you wouldn't score 2,000 (points) if you weren't. I wish I had her healthy for four years but she's never been healthy. She's missed about nine or 10 games throughout her career. It's hard to replace those types of players because of her scoring ability, her desire to win and her toughness. She is a very tough player. She will certainly be missed. You don't find players like her very often. She's been the backbone to our team.
Liberty Redshirt Senior Devon Brown
"It's been a blessing, up and down. But I'm really proud of the accomplishments I've made, and I'm glad I made it with these girls."
Liberty Redshirt Freshman Ashley Rininger
"It's definitely great exposure, great experience, just being able to go out there and play tonight. It's definitely going to prepare us for the future. Especially, me and the rest of the younger players because not only are we used to playing at this kind of level, now we are getting this kind of exposure and we're also preparing for future NCAA Tournaments."
Purdue Head Coach Sharon Versyp
"We were just real anxious to play a basketball game; it has been over two weeks. We had a game plan put in and I feel like we executed it to a tee. I thought our defense was the key and helped us set the tone early. For us to be able to have our bench come in and score 28 points was really good for us."