Centrese McGee pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds against the Badgers.
Jan. 23, 2011
MADISON, WIS. - Illinois led second-place Wisconsin at halftime on Sunday, but the Illini went ice cold in the second half in a 60-47 defeat to the Badgers at the Kohl Center. Sophomore Karisma Penn led the Illini with 18 points despite sitting most of the second half in foul trouble.
The first half was back and forth with Illinois taking a slim 29-28 lead to the lockerroom after five ties and five lead changes. The Illini shot a sizzling 59 percent (13-of-22) in the opening twenty minutes, but weren't able to pull away from the hosts.
Penn had no fouls in the first half, but the Illini star picked up three in the first 3:30 of the second half and went to the bench with the game tied at 33. With Penn on the bench, Wisconsin promptly went on a 10-0 run to open up a 43-33 lead.
Illinois sophomore Adrienne GodBold hit back-to-back threes to pull the Illini within four, 43-39, with 11:30 remaining, but that would be as close as they would get. The Orange and Blue went on an eight minute scoring drought from 9:39 to 1:37 of the second half while the Badgers built a 15-point lead. In all, Penn played just seven minutes in the second half as the Illini scored just 18 points, the lowest Illinois point total in a half this season.
Penn hit 8-of-9 from the field for her 18 points, but pulled down a season-low three rebounds. UI Freshman Centrese McGee had a career-high 11 boards to go along with six points, while redshirt freshman Amber Moore hit a pair of threes and finished with 10 points. GodBold had eight points and two blocks, and junior Lana Rukavina had a career-high three blocks on the night.
After the hot-shooting in the first 20 minutes, Illinois (7-13, 2-5) hit just 6-of-24 from the field (25 percent) in the second half as the Badgers pulled away and finished the game at 41 percent. Wisconsin (11-9, 6-2) shot 38 percent from the field, but knocked down 16-of-17 from the charity stripe and turned the ball over just six times.
It was the Illini's second loss this season when leading at the half and their third straight overall.
The Fighting Illini will now return home for a pair of games this week when they host Penn State on Thursday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. and Iowa for "Pack the Hall" on Sunday, Jan. 30, at 2 p.m.