Women's Basketball
Illini Hold Off Late Gopher Rally for 91-86 Win

Karisma Penn led the Illini with 21 points and 12 rebounds in a 91-86 win at Minnesota
Karisma Penn led the Illini with 21 points and 12 rebounds in a 91-86 win at Minnesota

Jan. 28, 2013

Box Score

MINNEAPOLIS - Illinois finished on a 10-4 run to pull out a 91-86 victory over Minnesota in front of 2,476 fans at Williams Arena on Monday night. Karisma Penn led the Illini with 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Adrienne Godbold had 18 points and 11 boards as Illinois improved to 4-0 in Big Ten road games, 11-8 overall and 4-3 in the conference. Amber Moore added 20 points, including 5-of-10 from three-point range, and Taylor Tuck also added a career-high 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor.

"Big win for our program to go on the road and win our first four says a lot about our resiliency, especially with them making a late run and Adrienne (GodBold) fouling out (with 4:29 left in the game)," Illinois head coach Matt Bollant said. "Our kids stepped up and made plays. We're growing as a team; we had a lot of different players step up. For us to have 23 assists and 15 turnovers, that's a change from a lot of games as well."

It equaled Illinois' 4-0 start in Big Ten road games in 2001 and marked the first time since Nov. 18, 2011, that the Illini had two players with double-doubles. The Orange and Blue shot 53.8 percent from the field in the second half (14-of-26) and finished at 47.8 percent (32-of-67) for the game. Illinois scored 52 first-half points, the Illini's most points in a first half since scoring 52 against Central Michigan on Dec. 28, 2004.

Illinois jumped out to a 5-0 lead but scored the next two buckets to cut the margin to one. The Illini responded with the next two scores to lead 9-4 at the first media timeout. A three-pointer by Minnesota's Rachel Banham tied the game at 11 at 13:44, but Illinois scored the next five points to go up 16-11 at the 11:55 mark.

A quick 6-0 spurt gave the Gophers their first lead of the game, 17-16, but Taylor Tuck nailed a three-pointer from the corner to quickly put the Illini back on top. That ignited a 15-2 Illinois run, pushing the Orange and Blue up 31-19 at the 7:42 mark.

But Minnesota battled back, pulling within 42-41 with 2:03 left in the first half as foul trouble hamstrung the Illini. Illinois kept hitting three-pointers, though, with the Orange and Blue scoring the final 10 points of the half to pull out to a 52-41 lead at the break.

Minnesota cut the margin to 58-53 with 16:08 left, but Illinois kept the margin around that for much of the second half before pushing out to an 81-71 advantage with 6:28 remaining as Tuck hit a 15-footer to give her a career-high 13 points.

With 4:29 remaining and the Illini leading 81-77, GodBold was whistled for her fifth foul on a controversial call as Banham made a runner in the lane and converted the free throw to pull within a point. On the next possession, Moore's shot was blocked and Banham took it coast-to-coast, finishing with an eight-footer off one foot to give the Gophers their first lead since 10:49 in the first half at 82-81.

But Tuck nailed both ends of a 1-and-1 to put the Illini back in front and Penn made a contested layup for an 85-82 advantage. Minnesota made 1-of-2 on the other end, but Crawford gathered in a blocked shot and drained a 17-footer along the baseline as the shot clock expired for an 87-83 advantage.

Minnesota continued to battle, though, with Sari Noga draining a three-pointer and cutting Illinois' margin to 87-86 with 1:30 left. After a timeout, Noga fouled Tuck, who made the second of two free throws for an 88-86 margin.

The Illini forced a missed three by Banham on the next possession then Riché turned it over and Leah Cotton fouled Amber Moore as she was bringing it up the court. She missed the first free throw but hit the second for a three-point Illini lead.

On the Gophers' next possession, they had three looks at the basket but couldn't get one to fall and Tuck finally corralled the board. She found Smith, who was fouled and hit both freebies for the final 91-86 margin.

The Illini return to action on Thursday when they host Iowa at 7 p.m. at Assembly Hall.