As the Michigan women’s basketball team was battling Purdue, a more personal bout was transpiring on the court between the Wolverines’ freshman point guard, Amy Dilk, and the Boilermakers’ sophomore point guard, Karissa McLaughlin.
Both from Indiana, the two point guards are part of an elite class, both having won Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year and Indiana Miss Basketball honors — Dilk in 2018 and McLaughlin in 2017. Saturday night, the younger Dilk outdueled her counterpart registering more points (16 to 10), more assists (6 to 5) and a better shooting percentage (70 percent to 60 percent). In the end, though, it was McLaughlin who had the last laugh as Purdue (2-1 Big Ten, 11-5 overall) defeated Michigan (1-2 Big Ten, 10-5 overall), 71-70, in a nail bitter.
“I obviously wanted to come out aggressive,” Dilk said. “Being from Indiana, it was kind of, not a revenge game, but something to look forward to coming back here.”
After the Wolverines jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead, the Boilermakers battled back to cut the deficit to one by the end of the first quarter. The rest of the game, neither team was able to pull ahead and maintain the lead until the final buzzer.
In the second and third quarters, Dilk led the Wolverines as she scored all 16 of her points, including her second and third 3-pointers of the season.
“I think (Dilk) just had ice in her veins playing at home tonight and just wanted to make a statement,” said Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico in a postgame interview. “She was able to do that all night and (I am) just proud of her growth. She continues to develop and it was just a great night for her.”
After Dilk hit a jump shot with 38 seconds remaining in the third quarter to take a one-point lead, all hell broke loose.
With a three second differential between the shot clock and game clock, Purdue held the ball for the final shot of the quarter. They missed the shot and sophomore forward Hailey Brown collected the rebound. But as she grabbed the ball, the shot clock buzzer went off. Brown, thinking it was the game clock, threw the ball to the referee standing out of bounds; there were still three seconds on the clock.
Purdue was given the opportunity to run an extra play from underneath the Wolverines’ basket and capitalized by converting a mid-range jump shot at the buzzer to take the lead going into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter was no different than the rest of the game as the teams exchanged the lead throughout.
“I knew it was going to be close the whole time,” Dilk said. “It was a back and forth game. We just had to stay focused and just play Michigan basketball.”
With just under a minute remaining, Michigan senior center Hallie Thome scored a layup off of a Dilk assist to put Michigan up 70-69. Then, with 25 seconds left on the clock, Purdue guard Dominique Oden scored a layup of her own to put the Boilermakers back on top.
On the Wolverines’ final play, Brown received a handoff from Thome and took a shot from just inside the three-point line with three seconds remaining. The ball hit the backboard and then rolled off the rim, falling into the arms of the waiting Purdue player as time expired.
“(It was) a very somber mood in the locker room,” Barnes Arico said. “(We) really felt like we had it. We let one slip away and we had an opportunity (to win). … Just disappointed but that’s going to be the nature of our league and we have to bounce back quickly to face a team that’s coming off a win. So just gotta bounce back and try to be better and correct some of the things we didn’t do well and be ready to go on Tuesday.”