ESTERO, Fla. – Melody Kempton had a career-high 18 points, LeeAnne Wirth and Jessie Loera each scored 12, and No. 22 Gonzaga beat Purdue 63-50 on Sunday night to win the Gulf Coast Showcase.
“It’s really exciting. I’m really happy for these guys,” said Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier. “I thought they played really well the last two days and certainly today. They overcame really good shooters, really big players, the best shot-blocker in the country, really fast athletes and a bunch of different stuff.
“We had foul trouble intermittently, we had different players step up. We had a different high scorer every game. I’m really happy with their efforts. They played so hard and made big plays.”
Kempton made 7 of 12 from the field and 4 of 5 from the free-throw line.
Purdue used a 9-2 spurt to close the third quarter and open the fourth to trim its deficit to five points, but Kempton and Jessie Loera made back-to-back layups before Jill Townsend scored four straight points to spark an 11-1 run that gave the Bulldogs (6-1) a 15-point lead when Loera made another layup with 41 seconds remaining.
After Kayana Traylor’s layup made it 52-47 with seven minutes left in the game, the Boilermakers missed their next 11 field-goal attempts before Fatou Diagne’s layup capped the scoring with 32 seconds to go.
“We were really playing together,” Fortier said. “We weren’t letting them have any easy driving lanes initially, and so they started out really having to work for all their points.
“They didn’t get any lobs on us because we had help inside. The areas where they maybe had more of an advantage against us, we were able to limit dramatically.”
Dominique Oden had nine points and eight rebounds for Purdue (6-1).
The Bulldogs made just 1 of 12 from 3-point range and shot just 38% from the field but committed a season-low eight turnovers. They had nine steals, including three by Loera, and scored 26 points off 21 Purdue turnovers.
The Boilermakers, who went into the game shooting 43.9% percent from the field, shot a season-low 34.7% (17 of 49).
Gonzaga has won four games in a row – all by double figures – since a 76-70 overtime loss to No. 3 Stanford on Nov. 17.
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