Tuesday, March 23, 1999

PURDUE 75, RUTGERS 62


Down by 10? No problem for Boilermakers

The Associated Press

        NORMAL, Ill. — Purdue once more turned to seniors Stephanie White-McCarty and Ukari Figgs when things got tight. And once more, they delivered — this time with a big assist from sophomore Camille Cooper in the game that put the Boilermakers in the Final Four.

        White-McCarty and Figgs sparked a strong finish that sent No.1 Purdue to its 30th straight victory, a 75-62 win against Rutgers on Monday night in the Midwest Regional finals.

        Urged on by several thousand of their fans in the crowd of 8,844, the Boilermakers (32-1) didn't panic after falling behind by 10 points in the first half, scored the first seven points of the second half to get back in it and then relied on their two seniors down the stretch.

        “I didn't want this to be my last game,” said White-McCarty, who several times roused the crowd by waving her hands. “I didn't want this to be our team's last game. We just got fired up.”

        The victory also gives Carolyn Peck at least one more game as the coach at Purdue. She's leaving to become coach and general manager of the new Orlando franchise in the WNBA.

        Purdue, which made its only other Final Four trip in 1994, will play the West Regional champion — either Louisiana Tech or UCLA — in the national semifinals in San Jose, Calif., next Friday.

        “It sounds like a broken record, but we have two great leaders in Stephanie White-McCarty and Ukari Figgs,” Peck said. “If one gets it done on offense, the other gets it done on defense. The team looks to both of them for guidance and leadership.”

        They certainly provided it on this night against Rutgers, which held off Purdue for much of the second half behind Shawnetta Stewart, who led all scorers with 24 points.

        But the Scarlet Knights couldn't hold on after leading by four with less than 61/2 minutes left and Purdue won going away.

        “We just unraveled at the end,” Rutgers guard Tomora Young said. “Maybe we wanted it too much, but we did fall out of synch offensively and defensively.”

        RUTGERS (29-6) — Stewart 9-22 3-5 24, Miles 3-4 0-0 6, Sutton-Brown 3-4 0-2 6, Young 1-7 2-4 4, Pointer 4-8 2-4 10, Gilmore 5-5 0-0 10, Boonen 0-2 0-0 0, Cunningham 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 26-54 7-15 62.

        PURDUE (32-1) — White-McCarty 6-12 8-9 22, Duhart 0-0 1-2 1, Cooper 8-9 4-8 20, Figgs 3-10 11-15 18, Douglas 4-13 3-8 11, Komara 0-1 3-4 3. Totals 21-45 30-46 75.

        Halftime—Rutgers 34, Purdue 26. 3-Point goals—Rutgers 3-16 (Stewart 3-11, Young 0-4, Pointer 0-1), Purdue 3-10 (White-McCarty 2-4, Figgs 1-4, Douglas 0-1, Komara 0-1). Fouled out— Sutton-Brown, Miles. Rebounds—Rutgers 37 (Stewart 12), Purdue 26 (Douglas 6). Assists—Rutgers 10 (Pointes 5), Purdue 14 (White-McCarty, Figgs 4). Total fouls—Rutgers 32, Purdue 13. A— 8,844.

       



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