Review: Illinois defeated Central Michigan in the first round and Marquette in the second round to advance to this weekend's NCAA Regionals.
A night after out-blocking Central Michigan 12-2 in the first round, the Illini had a 13.5-3 advantage in blocks against Marquette. Both middle blockers, Erin Johnson (6 blocks) and Anna Dorn (5 blocks) were also strong on the offensive end. Johnson hit .500 with six kills while Dorn hit .375 with four kills.
Senior Michelle Bartsch (9 kills) started Saturday's match the way she ended it on Friday. After amassing seven kills in nine attacks to help Illinois pull away from CMU, she led the team with five kills in
eight attacks in helping the Illini jump to leads of 10-5 and 18-8 in the first set vs. Marquette. Colleen Ward was efficient, pacing Illinois with 10 kills and hitting .360. Sophomore Jennifer Beltran (13 digs) and Bartsch helped stabilize a strong passing night.
Illinois hit .360 against the Chippewas, including a .467 clip in the third set to pull away from a Central Michigan team that challenged the Illini in the second and third sets. The Illini had just two hitting errors in each set with just four of the six total errors unforced.
Junior Erin Johnson was in on seven of Illinois' 12 blocks on the night and junior Annie Luhrsen (30 assists) helped direct a balanced offense.
Preview: The Illini, who are making their fourth-consecutive trip to the Sweet 16, will play Ohio State in Gainesville, Fla., on Friday at 4 p.m. CT. The semifinal match will be aired live on ESPN3.com.
Women's Basketball (3-5)
Review: Sophomore Alexis Burke sparked the Illini off the bench, scoring a career-high 26 points to help Illinois end a four-game skid with a 61-50 victory over Clemson. The win earned the Big Ten a split in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, as it was the sixth victory for the conference. Junior Karisma Penn finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds, marking her fourth double-double of the season.
Illinois closed the contest on a 21-7 run, which included a 10-0 stretch where they held the Tigers scoreless for nearly eight minutes late in the game. The Illini defense forced 20 or more turnovers for the third time this year and held Clemson to just 33.3 percent shooting.
Preview: The Illini will head to Normal, Ill., next week to take on in-state foe Illinois State on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.
Review: No. 15 Jesse Delgado upset No. 1 Matt McDonough with a takedown in overtime, but Illinois' three other weight class victories weren't enough as the Orange and Blue fell to No. 1 Iowa, 20-13 in front of 7,330 fans at Carver Hawkeye Arena.
Delgado gave McDonough his first dual loss of his career on Friday night. Delgado earned the first points of the match with a takedown before McDonough scored a quick escape to make the match 2-1. McDonough got a takedown to get a takedown to gain the lead 3-2 to close out the first period. McDonough opened the second with an escape followed by a takedown to take a 6-2 lead. Delgado recorded a reversal to cut the lead to 6-4 through two periods. After choosing down to start the third, Delgado notched a quick escape and takedown to go up 7-6. A stalling point allowed McDonough to force overtime with the match at 7-7. A takedown in overtime gave Delgado the win.
Preview: The Fighting Illini will have two weeks off before hosting UT-Chattanooga at Huff Hall on Sunday, Dec. 18 with the dual beginning at 1 p.m. CT.