STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- After trading nudges, hand-checks and scoring spurts all night with Penn State, No. 13 Purdue came up one run too short.
Courtney Moses scored 21 points, but the Boilermakers stumbled in their chance to claim the top spot in the Big Ten after falling to the eight-ranked Lady Lions 69-61 on Monday night.
Maggie Lucas scored 17 points, Alex Bentley added 13 and Penn State (18-3, 8-1) finished off Purdue (18-4, 7-2) with a 12-6 run over the final 6:39.
"I knew it was going to be a great basketball game tonight," Boilermakers coach Sharon Versyp said. "The key to this game was at the end. They made shots and we didn't."
Purdue had narrowed a 12-point deficit to 57-55 before going the next five-plus minutes without a field goal.
Lucas and backcourt Bentley took advantage in a chippy game to get the lead back to double digits in the final minutes. Moses scored six points in a 13-second span to get within 67-61 with 1:05 left, but Bentley helped Penn State hold on with a bucket with 51 seconds left with the shot clock winding down.
She dribbled out the final few seconds after capping Penn State's defensive effort with a steal at midcourt.
Drew Mingo added 13 points for Purdue, while Sam Ostarello had 13 rebounds including 12 on the defensive end. Purdue missed out on its only chance this year to beat the Lady Lions.
"This was a huge game for first place in the standings, and we only (have) Penn State once on the schedule," Ostarello said, "so this was a big game for us."
The Lady Lions rebounded nicely from a 63-61 upset loss on the road last week to Wisconsin, one of the worst teams in the Big Ten.
This one almost got away too after Penn State went cold from the field midway through the second half.
The Boilermakers beat Penn State at its own game and outraced their opponents for easy shots down the floor in a 7-0 run over a three-minute span to get within 50-48 with 9:23 left.
The Big Ten contenders traded buckets until the Lady Lions pulled away late. Purdue missed nine shots and committed three turnovers during a five-minute stretch without a field goal until Moses ended Purdue's scoreless stretch with a 3 with 1:28 left.
Too little, too late. The Boilermakers couldn't recover from a 32-31 halftime deficit after committing 12 first-half turnovers.
Penn State relied on pressure defense and interior play, with Mia Nickson (11 points) and reserve Talia East (nine points, six rebounds) giving the Lady Lions energy in the lane before halftime.