Karisma Penn poured in a team-high 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting against Indiana on Saturday.
Feb. 23, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois sprinted out to a 10-3 lead just over three minutes into the game and ran away from Indiana for a 73-60 win in front of 3,088 fans at the Assembly Hall Saturday, the largest paid attendance of the season and second-best overall. Senior Karisma Penn posted 25 points, six rebounds and three steals, and four other Illini scored at least eight points as Illinois won its fourth-straight home game and improved to 16-10 overall and 9-5 in the Big Ten. That marks the Illini's most Big Ten wins and clinched their first winning record in conference play in 10 years.
"We told the team afterward that you learn a lot about a team in the game after a loss, and we've been really good throughout the year after games that we've lost," Illinois head coach Matt Bollant said. "I was really proud of the start. I thought our change of pace at the beginning, doing a little full-court pressure, really helped us. We came out with great energy and great confidence. I'm proud of our team. It's hard to play three games in a week, and we've done it twice. To go 5-1 in that stretch, I'm just really proud of our team."
The Illini improve to 12-2 on the season when breaking the 70-point mark and 10-1 when Penn tops 20 points. Illinois forced 25 Hoosier turnovers, which tied IU's season high, and limited their leading scorer, Aulani Sinclair, to 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting after she entered the game averaging 15.8 ppg. The Orange and Blue also totaled 18 assists on 26 field goals (69 percent).
In addition to Penn's 25 points, Ivory Crawford scored 13 on 5-of-10 shooting, including 2-of-3 three-pointers. Adrienne Godbold added nine and Taylor Tuck also chipped in nine points, including a key three-pointer after Indiana had cut the margin to six early in the second half. Amber Moore had eight points and six assists, and Alexis Smith contributed six points, seven assists and a game-high four steals.
The Illini tore out to a 7-0 lead just 1:35 into the game, forcing a timeout by IU coach Curt Miller. Illinois expanded the lead to 22-11 at the 12:29 mark on a pair of free throws by Adrienne Godbold, but Indiana pulled within six after a Jasmine McGhee three-pointer and two freebies by Sasha Chaplin.
The teams traded baskets for the next three trips down the court before Illinois put the clamps on the Hoosiers defensively, forcing four turnovers and five missed shots on six consecutive possessions to extend the lead to 38-25. Indiana went scoreless for 4:48 near the end of the half before McGhee drained a jumper with 1:58 left. But the Illini scored four of the last five points of the half to lead 42-28 at the break.
Indiana started the second half with a 10-2 run, pulling within 44-38, and a McGhee jumper made the score 49-42 at the 14:00 mark. But Illinois used a 6-2 spurt, including a three-pointer by Nia Oden, to push the lead back to 11 at 55-44.
The Illini led by double-digits for the better part of the rest of the game, with Indiana cutting the margin to 64-55 on a Sinclair three-pointer with 4:34 left. But Amber Moore answered with a triple of her own and the Hoosiers never got closer than 10 the rest of the way as Illinois made four of its last seven field goals to seal the 73-60 win.