Notre Dame junior forward Brianna Turner left Sunday's NCAA 2nd round game late in the 2nd quarter with a left knee injury.
According to a Notre Dame spokesman, a definitive word on the immediate future of the Irish women's basketball standout won't be announced until Tuesday. Ohio State (28-6) eliminated Kentucky from the NCAA Tournament with an 82-68 victory in Memorial Coliseum on Sunday in which former United Kingdom player Linnae Harper posted a near triple-double of 12 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
So, if Notre Dame wants to have avoid a repeat of last season, it will need to go back to the drawing board before Friday. With 48 seconds left in the half, Turner was wide open under the basket, jumped to catch and buckled to the ground holding her knee.
The Irish clearly missed Turner on the defensive end as well, as the ninth-seeded Boilermakers (23-13, 10-6 Big Ten) had no problem driving to the basket, drawing fouls and scoring inside. She walked off the court to the locker room, but didn't play in the second half as Lexington Regional top seed Notre Dame won 88-82.
Let's start with the obvious: Notre Dame really missed having Brianna Turner on the floor in the second half.
An MRI was scheduled for Monday to assess what damage was done and whether she will be sidelined for the remainder of the NCAA Tournament.
Bridget Perry hit two free throws with 32.5 seconds to play, but the Boilermakers were forced to foul.
Minus Turner, the Irish offense began to stagnate in the fourth quarter without the high ball screens from Turner, but her absence was even more conspicuous on defense as Purdue became much effective inside and on drives without Turner cutting them off in rotation. Marina Mabrey made her two free throws and the Irish had an 84-80 lead. But the Boilermakers couldn't get a shot off before the clock expired.
"I thought we showed great resilience down the stretch and our youngsters really stepped up", said Irish head coach Muffet McGraw.
Despite Turner being out for the rest of the game and Westbeld picking up her third foul with 8:05 left in the third period, the Irish still had a 66-55 lead heading into the final 10 minutes. Mabrey then made two free throws for the Irish with 13 seconds left.
"This team just has so much fight and so much heart", she said.
Ashley Morrissette finished with 23 points and Perry added 22 points and nine rebounds.
Minus Turner, Purdue sensed opportunity to rally and threatened several times before ending regulation time with a 10-0 run in the final 5:12 to knot the game at 74-74 and force the overtime.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 92, DEPAUL 71: Blair Schaefer scored 18 points, Jazzmun Holmes added 14 and second-seeded Mississippi State (31-4) used a 14-0 run in the third quarter to pull away from seventh-seeded DePaul (27-8) in Starkville, Mississippi.
The Irish offense was in a play-not-to-lose mode while trying to milk the clock, twice getting called for shot-clock violations and several other times forcing hurried shots with the shot clock winding down. Notre Dame scored only eight points in the fourth quarter while making 3-of-12 (25 percent) from the field and missing their last seven.
"We completely fell apart offensively", said McGraw of the fourth quarter.
With Turner on the bench it was up to some of the younger players on the Notre Dame roster to step up.