Jan. 5, 2009

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Purdue finally got one.

The Boilermakers had lost all three of their games against ranked teams this season, dropped out of the Top 25 last month and were in danger of ending their non-conference slate without a signature win. This time, freshman guard Brittany Rayburn scored 19 points, and Purdue beat No. 8 Texas 66-55 on Monday night.

Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said the victory over a top Big 12 team could improve her team's NCAA tournament hopes, assuming the Boilermakers carry the momentum into the rest of their Big Ten schedule.

"Obviously, this helps our resume," Versyp said. "This was one of the games that we needed to get to get back in the hunt for that. We've lost some games that we shouldn't have, so hopefully this one will help."

Danielle Campbell had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Lakisha Freeman scored 12 points and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Boilermakers (9-5).

Erika Arriaran scored 14 points and Brittainey Raven added 13 for Texas (12-2), which has lost two of three.

Purdue was coming off an overtime loss to Michigan State during which it lost starting point guard FahKara Malone for 4-to-6 weeks with a dislocated right ring finger. Rayburn and Lauren Mioton stepped in and committed just 15 turnovers against a team that had been forcing 20 per game.

Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said Purdue responded well.

"We talked about the fact that they had lost one of their soldiers," Goestenkors said. "When a team loses a soldier, if they're a good team and they've got a lot of pride, and I know Purdue is both, they're going to come out fighting and they're going to come out and play for their teammate."

In its previous three games against ranked teams, Purdue lost to Stanford in overtime and dropped significant leads against Notre Dame and Maryland. In Monday's game, Purdue never led by fewer than nine points in the second half.

"We knew it was important to come out and jump on them quick and get the game going," Campbell said. "Once we got them down, we didn't want them to come back. We knew we had to press on and not let them up for air."

Texas dropped four spots in the Top 25 on Monday following its loss at San Diego State on Dec. 30. They'll likely drop further next week after a lackluster performance against the Boilermakers.

"We haven't had a lot of intensity in practice, and we haven't been competing the way we should have, and it showed in the game today," Raven said.

Purdue jumped out to a quick 18-8 lead. Rayburn made back-to-back 3-pointers that increased the Boilermakers' lead to 24-8.

Purdue kept the pressure on. Rayburn got a steal, then drove to the basket with only Carla Cortijo in front of her. Rayburn spun nearly 360 degrees to avoid Cortijo, then banked a shot in to give Purdue a 30-10 lead. Rayburn had 10 points and three steals at halftime to help the Boilermakers take a 36-19 lead.

Texas climbed back into the game on back-to-back 3-pointers by Arriaran and Kathleen Nash which cut Purdue's lead to 45-34 with just under 12 minutes to play.

Another set of back-to-back threes, this time both from Raven, trimmed Purdue's lead to 51-42 with nine minutes left.

Neither team made a field goal for nearly four minutes until Rayburn made a 3-pointer with 5:24 left to put the Boilermakers up 56-42.

Goestenkors said Rayburn was a difference-maker.

"She's very versatile," she said. "She can shoot that three, and it's a quick release that she's got on the shot, but she can also take it to the basket. Brittany just does a good job of reading the defense very, very well. She didn't force any shots, took what the defense gave her, and her teammates found her."

Versyp was proud of her team.

"We were hoping we could step up after FahKara's injury and play very well," she said. "Win or lose, we just wanted build some confidence going into the Big Ten season. We had a great opportunity, nothing to lose tonight."