Amber Moore hit 7 three-pointers against the Hoosiers Thursday night.
Jan. 13, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Illinois redshirt freshman Amber Moore was on fire Thursday night, sinking seven three-pointers and scoring a career-high 27 points as the Fighting Illini picked up a 74-67 road win at Indiana. Moore's seven threes tie her for the second most in a game in school history, behind only Katie Coleman's nine treys vs. Providence on Nov. 29, 1997.
Illinois looked like it was in trouble late, trailing 63-61 with 3:10 remaining and sophomore star Karisma Penn heading to the bench after fouling out. However, the Fighting Illini finished the game on a 13-4 run to improve to 7-10 overall and evened their Big Ten record at 2-2. Junior Macie Blinn hit a huge three-pointer with 1:52 left, giving the Illini a 66-63 lead, and then Moore provided the dagger, hitting a leaning baseline 12-footer with 54 second left to make the lead 69-63. From there, the Illini salted the game away with free throws.
"I'm really proud of my kids tonight," Illinois head coach Jolette Law said. "There were times when, in the past, we would have folded, but tonight we fought hard, took care of the ball and got the stops we needed to down the stretch to get a big road win."
Sophomore Adrienne GodBold came up big in those final three minutes with Penn on the bench, providing two key blocks and hitting five free throws to help seal the win.
"Adrienne came up big in those last few minutes after Karisma came out," Law said. "I'm happy with how the girls picked each other up and played as a total team. On any given night I'm confident that anyone on this team can step up. Tonight several players did."
Illinois led 29-27 at the half behind a solid defensive effort and hot shooting from Moore and Blinn. The Illini trailed by has many as six early, but went on a 20-7 run, capped by three Moore three-pointers in a two minute span, to take a 29-22 lead with 2:23 left. The Hoosiers scored the last five points of the half, however, to go into the break down only two. Only three Illini scored in the first half - Moore (12), Penn (10) and Blinn (7) - as the team shot 28.6 percent from the field.
Moore's hot shooting continued in the second half as the Illini opened up a nine-point lead, 46-37, with 11:34 remaining. Indiana (8-9, 2-3) came charging back, going on an 11-2 run to tie the game at 48-48 with 8:40 left. The game was tight from that point on until the Illini pulled away in the final minute.
Moore finished the game 9-of-17 overall and 7-of-12 from behind the arc for her 27 points, which shattered her previous career-high of 17, set last Sunday vs. Northwestern. She also pulled down seven rebounds and added career-highs in assists (4) and steals (2) in 34 minutes, all without committing a turnover.
"I was definitely in a rhythm tonight," Moore said of her performance. "I just found the open spots in their zone and my teammates did a great job of getting me the ball in a position to shoot. Then at the end of the game they were over-playing me behind the three-point line so I made some cuts and got open that way."
"Amber is a shooter, and tonight she was dialed in," Law said. "She also played well defensively and had some key rebounds and assists in addition to the threes. The big thing for Amber is she's playing with confidence right now, she's got her swagger back."
Blinn was also dialed in for the Illini, scoring 12 points and pulling down three rebounds, while Penn nearly had her 11th double-double of the season, finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds before fouling out. GodBold had nine points, all in the second half, as the Illini shot 36.5 percent for the game (23-of-63) and 39.1 percent from behind the arc (9-of-23). Illinois got to the line a season-high 27 times, making 19 (70.4 percent) and out-rebounded the Hoosiers 49-37.
Led by Moore and Blinn, the Illini bench came up big for the second straight game, outscoring the Hoosier bench 48-27. The 48 bench points are a new season-high, eclipsing the 46 it scored against Northwestern on Sunday.
Defensively, Illinois held Indiana star Jori Davis to just three first-half points. She would finish with 16, but shot just 5-of-21 from the field. Champaign native Hope Elam led the Hoosiers with 19 points. Overall, the Illini held the hosts to 37.3 percent shooting (25-of-67) and 22.2 percent from behind the arc (6-of-27).
Tonight's game will air tape-delayed on the Big Ten Network Friday morning at 9 a.m. CT.
The Illini will now travel to Penn State on Sunday for a 4 p.m. ET/3 CT game that will be televised by ESPN2. Illinois returns to Champaign next Thursday, Jan. 20, when they host Ohio State at Assembly Hall at 7 p.m.