Dec. 19, 2007
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University women's basketball dropped a heartbreaking 64-61 decision to Big Ten Conference member Purdue University Wednesday night. Junior guard Jami Bjorklund finished with a game-high 20 points along with seven rebounds but it wasn't enough as the Bulldogs dropped to 6-5 on the season.
The Bulldogs had multiple chances to tie or even take the lead late in the final moments but where hindered by their free throw shooting. With Purdue leading 60-59 with 34 seconds left Bjorklund was fouled and sent to the line for the one-and-one but missed the front end which would have knotted the game.
Two free throws by FahKara Malone pushed the Boilermakers lead to three with 31 ticks left on clock, but freshman guard Courtney Vandersloot drove the lane and scored a layup to again cut the Zags disadvantage to one with 22 seconds left. A Purdue turnover gave Gonzaga back the ball and a little hope, but a missed jumper by Bjorklund at nine seconds looked to have sealed the Bulldogs fate.
The Zags wouldn't give up though as senior Rachel Kane forced a Purdue offensive foul on its inbound and she was sent to the free throw line with five ticks left. Normally one of the strongest free throw shooters on the squad, having hit 86% of her career free throws, she missed the front end of the bonus and the Boilermakers grabbed the defensive rebound. Lakisha Freeman, of Purdue, was quickly fouled and hit both free throws to give the Boilermakers a three-point advantage with three seconds left in the contest.
One last effort by Gonzaga, a three-pointer by Vandersloot which banked in, was waved off as the ball left her hands a millisecond after the buzzer blew.
Gonzaga did hold an eight-point advantage at halftime on the strength of the Bulldogs bench play. Leading only by two 18-16 at 5:46 the Zags used a 12-6 run over the final minutes to secure their largest lead of the game. Janelle Bekkering, Kane and Tiffanie Shives, all coming off the bench, accounted for 10 of the 12 points, including Shives jumper with five seconds left to give the Zags the 30-22 halftime edge.
Besides Bjorklund, Kane and Vandersloot both chipped in 11 points apiece, while Bekkering added eight. The Bulldogs finished the game shooting 40.3% (25-62) from the floor, including 30.0% (6-20) from behind the three-point arc, and was 50% (5-10) from the free throw line.
Purdue (4-5) had four players finish in double-figure points, including Danielle Campbell who scored a team-high 16 points, along with eight rebounds and one block. Lakisha Freeman added 14 and Malone and Keshia Mosley both posted 10. The Boilermakers finished the contest shooting 40.7 (22-54) from the field, 33.3% (1-3) on three-pointers, and was 90.5% (19-21) from the charity stripe.
Gonzaga will be back in action Friday, Dec. 21 as it plays at Montana State University. Game time is set for 7 p.m.