Adrienne GodBold scored a career-high 28 points against Michigan State.
Jan. 13, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Senior guard Adrienne GodBold poured in a career-high 28 points but Illinois missed eight of its last nine free throws, allowing Michigan State to escape with a 79-75 win in front of a season-high 4,175 fans who braved sub-freezing temperatures and sleet on "Pack the Hall" day at Assembly Hall. GodBold scored 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting in 36 minutes, and the Illini shot 50 percent from the floor (29-of-58) for the game, as they fell to 9-7 overall, 2-2 in the Big Ten.
"It was a hard-fought game," Illinois head coach Matt Bollant said. "I was really happy to have that kind of fan turn-out and they saw a really good basketball game. Credit Michigan State for coming ready to play, just being so big and physical and making a lot of plays. I thought we did the right things to fight, then we just had a couple minutes where we weren't very good in the second half.
"But I'm proud of our team. They're learning how to fight and how to stay with it against a really good team. Michigan State's only two losses are to Top-25 teams. In the end, we just didn't get enough stops. Our man-to-man defense wasn't where it needed to be."
The crowd was the largest at Illinois in three years, since 4,800 were estimated to have seen the Illini beat Marquette in a second-round WNIT game on March 22, 2010, in the opener of a men's and women's postseason doubleheader. It was Illinois' largest regular-season crowd since 4,571 fans came to the 2010 Pack the Hall event against Purdue on Feb. 21, 2010.
GodBold did a little bit of everything, adding eight rebounds - five on the offensive glass - four steals and three blocks to her 28-point afternoon. Sophomore guard Ivory Crawford added 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the floor, grabbing four rebounds and making three steals. And Amber Moore put in 13 points and dished a game-high four assists.
The story of the game was Illinois' tenacity, as the Orange and Blue came back repeatedly, fighting back from deficits of 13 in the first half and 11 in the second half. The Illini fell behind 8-0 early, with the Spartans' lead ballooning to as many as 13 at 24-11 and 26-13.
After MSU (14-2, 2-1) hit 1-of-2 from the line with 1:45 left, Ivory Crawford hit an 18-footer after a shot fake that tied the game 36-36 and brought the crowd to its feet. But MSU snuffed out Illinois' 16-6 run by scoring the half's final four points, taking a 40-36 lead at intermission.
The teams played back-and-forth basketball to start the second half before Taylor Tuck hit a pair of free throws, MSU's Jasmine Hines made 1-of-2 from the line and Moore sank a jumper to cut the Spartans' lead to 47-45 with 14:46 remaining. But Michigan State scored the next five points to inflate the lead to seven.
Again, Illinois made a run, this time using a 9-0 run to take its first lead of the game, 55-54, on a free throw by GodBold. Karisma Penn added another freebie to put the Illini ahead 56-54 with 9:09 left, what would be its only lead of the game.
From there, the Orange and Blue stumbled, missing three free throws, two field goals and committing four turnovers as MSU pulled out to a 67-56 margin with a 13-0 spurt. But the Illini wouldn't give in, scoring 13 of the game's next 19 points to get within 73-69 with 1:05 remaining on Crawford's layup after a steal.
The Spartans simply were too much, though, as Klarissa Bell made a layup to push the margin to six. GodBold missed a jumper on the other end, but Crawford snagged the offensive board and put it back in. The teams traded turnovers before Alexis Smith fouled Jasmine Thomas and she made both free throws, pushing MSU's lead to 77-71 with 32 seconds remaining.
The nail in the coffin was when both of Crawford's free-throw attempts rimmed out and Bell made 1-of-2 on the other end. Smith made a layup with 15 seconds left and Crawford drained a jumper just before the buzzer, but it wasn't enough as MSU took the 79-75 victory.
The Illini return to action on Thursday when they hit the road again, this time heading to Nebraska for the first time since 1992 and the first with the Huskers a member of the Big Ten. The game will tip at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on the Big Ten Digital Network on Fighting Illini All-Access.