Adrienne GodBold scored 17 of her team-high 21 points in the second half Sunday.
Jan. 20, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois led by as many as six in the second half and was up two with 3:04 left, but Northwestern scored the final six points to snag a 62-58 victory over the Illini in front of 2,495 fans at Assembly Hall on Sunday. Senior guard Adrienne GodBold scored 21 points, including 17 in the second half, but she fouled out with 2:00 left to join Karisma Penn and Alexis Smith on the bench as the Wildcats pulled out the win.
"It's a really disappointing loss," Illinois head coach Matt Bollant said. "I'm frustrated with our team, especially in the first half. To come out here and have (almost) 2,500 fans come support us, and after the way we played at Nebraska, to come out and have the lack of energy and excitement was shocking.
"When you're not on edge, you don't shoot the ball well, and we weren't on edge to start the game. We got going a little bit in the second half, but a lack of discipline and fouls hurt us, so we didn't have the right kids on the floor down the stretch."
GodBold made 12-of-12 free throws, the second-most without missing in a game in school history, and added nine rebounds and four steals. Penn put in 15 points with five boards and four steals, and Ivory Crawford scored 11 while grabbing five rebounds and four steals.
Illinois (10-8 overall, 3-3 in the Big Ten) didn't score in the final 3:04 of the game, going 0-for-7 from the field and 0-for-2 from the free-throw line, as Northwestern (9-9, 1-4) scored the game's final six points and 18 of the final 26. That was a stark contrast to the first 12 minutes of the second half, when the Illini scored 30 points on 8-of-16 field-goal shooting and 12-of-12 shooting from the line.
The Orange and Blue shot 26.2 percent (16-for-61) from the field in the game, compared to 45.7 percent (21-for-46) by the Wildcats. A 23-for-26 (88.5 percent) effort from the charity stripe kept the Illini in the game, but Illinois also shot 3-for-16 (18.8 percent) from beyond the arc.
In the first half, the Illini went without a field goal for 7:11 but hung within 11-7 of the Wildcats thanks to 5-of-6 shooting from the charity stripe, before hitting their second field goal of the game at the 11:22 mark to cut the deficit to two.
But Northwestern scored eight straight points as Illinois went another 5:46 without a field goal, pushing the margin to 19-9. The Illini pulled within 25-20 at halftime, making three of their last six shots after starting the game 4-of-23 from the field.
Illinois ratcheted up the intensity out of halftime, scoring 14 of the first 20 points after intermission to go ahead 34-31 at the 14:14 mark. With the score tied at 44 with 8:57 remaining, Northwestern head coach Joe McKeown was whistled for a technical foul and Amber Moore sank both free throws. Diamant then fouled GodBold on the succeeding possession and she sank both freebies and, a few possessions later, Penn drained two free throws for a 50-44 Illini lead.
The Wildcats scored six straight points to tie the game, but GodBold drilled four straight free throws to stake the Illini to a 54-50 advantage with 6:12 left. Penn fouled out with 5:25 left on a controversial call as she blocked a three-point attempt, but Northwestern's Kendall Hackney made only 1-of-3 shots, leaving Illinois up 54-51.
Hackney hit a jumper to pull within one, but GodBold nailed a 10-footer to push the Illini's lead to 56-53 with 4:06 left. But that is when things started to unravel for Illinois, as Hackney hit a pair of free throws then Diamant hit 1-of-2 to tie the game at 56.
GodBold made two from the free-throw line, giving Illinois a 58-56 lead at the 3:04 mark and the teams traded missed shots before GodBold fouled out on a controversial call with 2:00 remaining. Diamant hit both free throws, tying the game once more, then Northwestern's Maggie Lyon made a layup after an Illini miss.
Illinois had multiple chances in the final minute to tie or go ahead, missing three shots and two free throws with the Wildcats leading 60-58. Then Crawford had to foul after the second missed free throw and NU's Alex Cohen sank both freebies for the final 62-58 margin.
The Illini don't play during the middle of the week as they hit their first of two open dates in the conference schedule. Illinois returns to action next Monday, Jan. 28, in an 8 p.m. tip at Minnesota, which will be televised live by the Big Ten Network.