Lindsay Whalen Scores 41 in Golden Gopher Victory over Purdue
Sophomore guard Lindsay Whalen scored a career high 41 points in leading the No. 15 Golden Gophers to a 73-64 victory over No. 7 Purdue in Big Ten action Thursday night at Williams Arena. Minnesota is now a half game out of first place in the Big Ten standings at 10-3, 20-4 overall. The Boilermakers, who had their nine-game winning streak broken with the loss, falls to 20-4 overall and 11-3 in conference play.
Whalen hit 15-of-20 field goals and 8-of-9 free throws in collecting the fifth 40-plus point total in Minnesota women's basketball history. Carol Ann Shudlick holds the record with 44 points in 1991 and again in 1993.
"Lindsay put the team on her back," said Minnesota head coach Brenda Oldfield. "If there was any doubt of who the MVP of the league is, I think she ended that tonight. She willed us to win."
Minnesota led the entire game as the Gophers went ahead 7-2 in the first four minutes and never looked back. Whalen finished the first half with 22 of her 41 points to put her team up 37-27 at the half.
A Whalen three-point play gave Minnesota its biggest lead in the second half at 46-32 with 13:06 left. Purdue clawed its way back into the game and chipped the Gophers' lead down to six points at 60-54 on a three-pointer by Kelly Komara with 4:11 on the clock.
Whalen answered with the next five points, a three-point field goal and a reverse lay-up, to quiet the Boilermaker rally. Purdue never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.
"I felt the difference between this meeting and out last (a 84-61 loss at Purdue on Jan. 10) was that I was more aggressive," said Whalen. "Tonight I had times where I was feeling in the rhythm and had a couple of threes drop for me. It was just a good all-around team effort."
Corrin Von Wald joined Whalen in double figures with 13 points, and added 11 rebounds for her first collegiate double-double. Janel McCarville led the Gophers with 12 rebounds.
"She's simply outstanding," said Purdue head coach Kristy Curry of Whalen. "She's so versatile and the thing I like about her most is how she makes every better. She is able to pick up her team's intensity with her performance."
The Gophers' 20 wins on the season matches their best total in the NCAA era, equaling that of the 20-7 team in 1982-83. The school record all-time for wins in a season is 28 by the 1980-81 squad.
The crowd of 8,639 is second in Gopher history behind only the record-breaking crowd of 11,389 that watched Minnesota defeat Indiana earlier this season.