Women's Basketball
Illini Suffer 72-69 Road Loss to Michigan

Ivory Crawford led the team with 25 points tonight on 9-16 shooting from the field.
Ivory Crawford led the team with 25 points tonight on 9-16 shooting from the field.

Feb. 7, 2013

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A pair of good looks from three-point range by Ivory Crawford rimmed out and the Illini couldn't overcome a late deficit as Michigan took a 72-69 win at the Crisler Center on Thursday. Crawford led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting as Illinois' six-game road winning streak went by the boards.

The Orange and Blue fall to 13-9 overall, 6-4 in the Big Ten. The loss was Illinois' first road defeat since Dec. 5 at Texas Tech. Illinois lost a three-game overall winning streak.

"I'm just really disappointed," Illinois head coach Matt Bollant said. "I'm not sure how we can go play with the energy and fight that we did the last three games and come here and wait until the last four minutes before we had that energy and fight.

"For whatever reason, we weren't ourselves and we kept ourselves from winning a basketball game. Give Michigan credit. Sheffler played great, Thompson made some big threes when they had to have them, but we waited until the four-minute mark before we really played with great energy."

Illinois shot 14-of-44 (31.8 percent) in the second half, compared to 11-of-19 (57.9 percent) by the Wolverines. Karisma Penn added 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, grabbed six boards and had five steals. Adrienne Godbold chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds. For the game, Illinois shot 39.7 percent (29-of-73) but only 17.4 percent (4-of-23) from three-point range. Michigan was 24-of-47 (51.1 percent) from the field and 7-of-21 (33.3 percent) from beyond the arc.

The Illini opened the game with intense defensive pressure but hot shooting late in shot clock by Michigan's Rachel Sheffer kept the Wolverines in it. Illinois led 13-9 with 13:03 left, but Michigan scored the next six points to go up 15-13.

The teams traded the lead over the next few minutes but Michigan scored eight straight points over a three-minute span, pushing ahead 28-23 with 4:57 left in the half. The Wolverines pushed the lead to six twice late in the half, but a coast-to-coast layup by Taylor Tuck cut the margin to 36-32 at halftime, Illinois' first deficit at the intermission since trailing Northwestern 25-20 on Jan. 20.

The Illini tied it at 40 with 16:47 remaining, but Michigan scored the next five points to go up 45-40. A three by GodBold brought the Illini within two, but the Wolverines inched ahead. A Crawford once again cut the margin to two at 48-46, but Michigan scored the next six points to pull out to a 54-46 lead with 7:30 left.

Trailing 57-48, the Illini rattled off a 13-3 run that gave them a 61-60 lead, their first of the second half. But Michigan's Kate Thompson banked in a corner three and nailed another from the opposite wing to give the lead back to the Wolverines, 66-61, with 2:42 left. Crawford scored nine of Illinois' 13 points during the flurry.

After a media timeout, Sheffer missed the front end of a one-and-one and Penn laid it in on the other end. She then stole the inbounds pass and laid it in, cutting the margin to 66-65 with 1:56 left. But Penn was whistled for a controversial foul on the next play, fouling out. Jenny Ryan drained both free throws, but GodBold got an offensive rebound and put it back in to bring the Illini back within one.

Ryan was fouled again and hit two more freebies, making the Michigan lead 70-67 with 1:17 left, then Nya Jordan collected her own miss and put it back for a five-point advantage. Still, the Illini kept pushing, with Taylor Tuck grabbing GodBold's miss, passing it to Crawford and she laid it in, bringing Illinois within 72-69 with 18 seconds remaining.

The Illini forced a turnover in the back court and Crawford missed a good look at a three-pointer, but got her own long rebound. She spotted up from the opposite wing and got another good chance at an open three, but it bounced off the front rim and the Wolverines pulled out the 72-69 win.

The Illini are back in action Sunday at 1 p.m. against Minnesota at the Assembly Hall in their annual Play 4Kay pink game. Cancer survivors and warriors receive free admission by registering ahead of time with assistant marketing director Kali Hofer.