Illinois Falls at Minnesota, 60-53
Feb. 16, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Illinois saw a five-game winning streak against Minnesota snapped Thursday night in Minneapolis. The Gophers got 19 points from freshman Rachel Banham in a 60-53 victory over the Illini.
Illinois (10-17, 4-10 Big Ten), who entered the contest with four wins in its last six games, forced 27 turnovers and held the Gophers to just 36 percent shooting in the first half. Minnesota, however, forced 20 turnovers and shot 50 percent in the second half to pull out the win.
Lydia McCully and Adrienne GodBold led four players in double figures for Illinois with 13 points apiece. Amber Moore and Karisma Penn added 10 points for the Illini. McCully, Moore and Ivory Crawford each had big three-point shots in the second half. The three by Crawford put Illinois in front 43-42 with 7:30 left to play.
Although Illinois got several steals down the stretch, they weren't able to turn them into points, missing shots on the other end. Banham, meanwhile, scored eight points in the final seven minutes and Minnesota went on a 13-4 run to put the game out of reach.
Minnesota finishes the year 11-4 at Williams Arena and moves to 6-8 in the Big Ten and 14-14 overall. Kiara Buford followed Banham's effort with 12 points and the Gophers out-rebounded the Illini 38-31.
The first half was one of runs. The Illini jumped to a 6-2 lead before seeing Minnesota go on a 9-0 run to take an 11-6 lead. The Illini then played through their defense getting 12 points off 11 early Minnesota turnovers to jump to a 23-13 lead. However, the Gophers used an 8-0 run in the final 3:36 of the half to spring to a 26-25 lead at the break.
Illinois made 9 of 11 of its free throws in the first half and forced 11 turnovers overall in the first 20 minutes. Penn picked up her second foul at the 6:45 mark with her team up 23-15 and the Illini were only able to score two points the rest of the half.
"We have to continue to stay positive," Illinois head coach Jolette Law said. "We were able to dictate on the defensive end, but ultimately we weren't able to finish on offense. That was the difference in the game."
Illinois takes on Northwestern on Monday at the Assembly Hall with tip-off slated for 6:30 p.m. The Illini will honor their four seniors before the contest.