Balanced Effort Leads Illini Over #24 Iowa, 74-62
Jan. 31, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Four Illini players scored 14 or more points and Illinois closed the game with a 14-2 run to beat No. 24 Iowa 74-62 at the Assembly Hall on Thursday. The win is the Illini's fifth in their last seven games and snapped an eight-game losing streak to Iowa dating back to 2007. Illinois also broke a seven-game skid against the Hawkeyes in Champaign that stretched to 2003. The Illini held Iowa scoreless for 5:18 near the end of the game before giving up a jumper with 13 seconds left, Iowa's only basket in the final 5:31 of the game.
The victory improved the Illini's record to 12-8 overall - 5-3 in the Big Ten and in a five-team tie for third place - marking Illinois' most wins since the 2009-10 season. It also was the Orange and Blue's second win over an AP-ranked team this season and third over a team ranked in either the Associated Press or USA Today Coaches Poll. The two wins over AP-ranked foes are Illinois' most since also recording two wins over ranked opponents in 2007-08.
"It was great to get this one after we had lost three close games at home," Illinois head coach Matt Bollant said. "We showed a lot of grit and a lot of toughness. That's what we talked about before the game: this had to be a game of toughness. They're so highly skilled; they pass and shoot so well that if you let them do that, they're just really hard to stop. We had to force some turnovers and play with toughness and, fortunately, we did."
Karisma Penn scored a game-high 18 points, adding eight rebounds and four steals, while Adrienne Godbold scored 17 on 7-of-12 shooting with a game-high five steals. Amber Moore added 17 on 5-of-8 shooting from three-point range, and Ivory Crawford scored 14 points, including 4-of-6 from downtown.
The Illini forced Iowa into a season-high 27 turnovers, the fifth time Illinois has caused a foe to commit its most miscues of the year, and the Orange and Blue drained 11 three-pointers for the second-straight game. It also marked the fourth time this season that Illinois had hit 10 or more treys in a game.
Illinois scored 30 points off Iowa's 27 turnovers and made 11-of-15 free throws in the second half, including 7-of-8 from the line in the game's final 3:58, while not sending the Hawkeyes to the foul line at all in the second half and only twice in the game.
Illinois started hot from three-point range, hitting six of its first 11, but Iowa took advantage of six early turnovers to grab a 20-14 lead. The Illini turned up the defensive intensity, though, taking advantage of four missed shots and seven Hawkeye miscues as part of a 17-1 run that put the Orange and Blue up 31-21 at the 3:52 mark.
But Iowa turned the tables, as Illinois missed three straight shots and committed three turnovers as the Gold and Black scored eight straight points to get back in it. The teams played even the rest of the half and Illinois had a 34-31 lead at intermission.
The Illini scored six of the first eight points in the second half but Iowa rattled off a 10-1 run after that to grab a 43-41 lead. The teams battled back and forth for the next eight minutes before Illinois caught fire.
After Iowa's Jaime Printy made a layup to tie the score at 60 with 5:31, Moore drained a trey and Bollant called a timeout. The Illini forced a turnover and Iowa's 6-5 center Morgan Johnson fouled out after coughing up the ball. Penn scored the next four points around another Iowa turnover and foul, then Moore drew another foul on Iowa's Samantha Logic, fouling her out.
Moore drained both free throws and GodBold made a layup on a run-out after a long rebound, pushing the Illini lead to 71-60. Alexis Smith made 1-of-2 from the line before forcing another turnover and making a pair from the stripe for a 74-60 advantage with 1:41 left. With only 13 seconds left, Iowa's Kayla Timmerman sank a baseline jumper for the final 74-62 score.
The Illini head back out on the road, where they are 4-0 in the Big Ten, for a Sunday tilt at Wisconsin at 2 p.m. The Badgers knocked off No. 7 Penn State, 63-61, at the Kohl Center on Thursday.