Illini Fall to Buckeyes on Senior Night
Feb. 28, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois pulled within four early in the second half, but Ohio State scored the next six points and never trailed by less than eight the rest of the way as the Buckeyes won 64-53 in front of 2,537 fans on the Illini's senior night at Assembly Hall Thursday. Senior Karisma Penn went out with a bang, notching her 13th double-double of the season with 24 points and 14 rebounds, and senior Adrienne Godbold added 14 points as the Illini fell to 16-11 overall, 9-6 in the Big Ten and into a four-team tie for third place in the conference standings.
"It wasn't our night tonight," Illinois head coach Matt Bollant said. "We didn't play with energy in the first half. I thought we did in the second half. We had 17 offensive rebounds, got way more shots than they did, turned them over in the second half, but we just struggled to get finishes. And it's hard to turn it on. When you're not the most aggressive team in the first half, it's hard to turn it on offensively. We shoot the ball best when we're aggressive and playing with great energy, and we didn't do that in the first half.
"I felt like that carried over: even though we tried to do the right things defensively in the second half and played with a lot more energy, we just didn't knock down shots. But we'll grow from it and learn, and try to finish the season the right way."
The Illini shot just 23.5 percent (8-of-34) in the second half, compared to 57.9 percent (11-of-19) by the Buckeyes. For the game, Ohio State out-shot the Orange and Blue 47.8 percent to 29.5 percent. Illinois also made only 2-of-15 three-pointers, tying its season low. The Illini forced 22 OSU turnovers and out-rebounded the Buckeyes 35-34, but the shooting disparity was too much to overcome.
After a choppy start to the game, the Illini used a 10-3 run to go ahead 16-11 with 8:24 left in the half. OSU scored six straight points to go up 17-16, then the teams traded the lead over the next two possessions. Darryce Moore's layup put the Buckeyes up 23-20, but Adrienne Godbold knocked down a jumper to pull within one. OSU scored eight of the final 12 points of the half, though, giving OSU a 31-26 halftime lead.
The Buckeyes came out of the locker room on fire, scoring the first five points of the half to cap the run at 13-4. Penn knocked down a pair of free throws and Taylor Tuck hit a freebie and drained a three-pointer, cutting the deficit to 36-32. But OSU scored the next six points, pushing the lead back to 10 at 42-32.
The teams traded buckets, with Illinois pulling within 45-37 on a Penn free throw with 10:21 left. But Tayler Hill drained a pair of free throws to push the lead back to double-digits at the 9:56 mark and the Illini never got closer the rest of the way. OSU expanded the lead to 55-39 with 7:35 left and Penn's layup with 39 seconds left provided the final margin of 64-53.
Illinois travels to Purdue Sunday at 3 p.m. CT, looking to grab a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament. The game will be televised nationally on the Big Ten Network, with Eric Collins and Stephanie White on the call.