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Purdue Students Cheer NCAA Title

March 29, 1999

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) _ Thousands of cheering Purdue students crowded the streets of this university town early today after their women’s team won the school’s first NCAA basketball title.

Austin Shadle, a cheerleader who couldn’t make the trip to San Jose, Calif., because of an exam, didn’t mind being left behind.

``If I was there, I wouldn’t get to experience this,″ he shouted over the sound of car horns and screaming fans.

Purdue defeated Duke 62-45 Sunday night, triggering the celebration.

University police, Indiana State Police troopers and law officers from West Lafayette and Tippecanoe County stood by as about 2,000 people took to the streets. Officers moved in with tear gas about 3 a.m. to disperse a crowd that had built a bonfire in the middle of a major campus street, Purdue spokesman Joe Bennett said.

Three minor injuries but no arrests were reported, although several traffic lights were vandalized and a police vehicle was damaged, Bennett said. A Tippecanoe County sheriff’s cruiser and a small sports utility vehicle also were damaged.

Heavy fog shrouded the university’s airport today, forcing the team’s plane to be rerouted to Indianapolis International Airport. A pep rally was scheduled for Mackey Arena Wednesday night.

When the game ended, fans poured out of bars and into the West Lafayette streets. Every car in sight blew its horn as hundreds of students screamed and hollered.

Some waved Purdue flags, others wrapped themselves in the flags and ran through the streets.

Although this was their 10th tournament appearance, it was the first time the Lady Boilermakers made it to the national title game.

The men’s team never has won a championship in 18 tournament appearances.

``The last time we were a national contender for anything was the mid-90s and we never did it,″ student Darryl Grant said. ``The women made it for the first time and they did it.″