Illini's WNIT Run Ends at Kansas State
March 30, 2013
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Senior forward Karisma Penn scored 20 points but Illinois never recovered from a 10-point halftime deficit and saw its season end in the WNIT quarterfinals with a 66-48 loss at Kansas State. Penn recorded her 37th career game with 20-plus points and the Illini broke the school record for three-pointers in a season by hitting three treys in the game.
The Orange and Blue finish 19-14, their best winning percentage since going 19-12 in 2006-07, and the run to the WNIT quarterfinals equals the deepest postseason advancement in school history. The 19 wins fall one shy of matching the win totals from Illinois' last two seasons. The Illini broke the Big Ten records for steals in all games (417) and Big Ten play (234), and steals per game in Big Ten play (14.6). They also broke school records for turnovers forced (773) and three-pointers attempted (634).
"I thought our turnovers hurt us in the first half," Illinois head coach Matt Bollant said. "They did a good job of capitalizing off the turnovers. Then, in the second half, I think they had six shots that they made with one or two seconds on the shot clock. We would play really good defense for 25 or 28 seconds and then we couldn't quite get a stop."
K-State shot 54.2 percent in the second half (13-of-24) and out-scored the Illini 22-12 off turnovers. Illinois shot 10-of-26 (38.5 percent) in the second half and only shot five free throws in the game, a season low. For the game, the Wildcats shot 46.3 percent (25-of-54) from the floor compared to Illinois' 40.8 percent (20-of-49) and made eight treys compared to the Illini's three.
"I think the Toledo game took a lot out of us; we didn't seem to have the same legs or the same energy the we had two nights ago," Bollant added. "But give Kansas State a lot of credit. They made the shots and made the plays they had to.
"I'm really proud of this team. It was a great first year and I'm really proud of Adrienne (GodBold) and KP for what they gave to us."
Penn finishes her career as the school record-holder and seventh in Big Ten history in career blocked shots (271), and the UI record-holder in career free throw attempts (747). She is second on the Illinois career rebounding list and 11th in Big Ten history with 1,043. She ends up second in UI history in career double-doubles (42), fourth in school history in scoring (1,965), steals (242) and tied for fourth in offensive rebounds (364). She was second in career field-goal attempts (1,530), third in career free throws made (471), third in games played (129) and fifth in career field goals (736).
Penn is the single-season record-holder in blocks, and owns the top two and three of the top four blocked shots seasons in school history. She also holds single-season records for offensive rebounds, and both made and attempted free throws. Her 96 steals rank fourth in a season in school history, her 317 rebounds are fifth and her 14 double-doubles are sixth.
Kansas State led 11-8 at the 13:13 mark, when the first media timeout came, after a fast-paced start to the contest. The Illini made four turnovers in that span, while KSU committed only one, with the Wildcats scoring four points off Illinois miscues.
KSU compiled a 15-0 run over 4:53, but the Illini responded with a 9-0 run of their own over 1:53, forcing three missed shots and two turnovers in that span. K-State snapped the run with a three-pointer, then added two free throws and a runner down the middle of the lane for a 7-0 run to expand the margin to 29-17. The teams played even to halftime, with the Wildcats taking a 34-24 lead to the locker room.
K-State scored the first five points after halftime, but Illinois countered with a 5-1 spurt to pull within 40-31. But the Wildcats got consecutive buckets to push the lead to 13. The Orange and Blue struggled to find a rhythm offensively, committing three turnovers and missing their next two shots before Penn scored a layup off a spin move on the low block.
Wildcat forward Chantay Caron made a driving layup but Crawford countered with a five-foot jumper to bring the Illini within 53-39. Then GodBold forced a steal but Alexis Smith missed a layup. The Illini forced a missed three-pointer on the other end, but GodBold missed a jumper down low.
Illinois forced a K-State shot-clock violation but Moore's three-pointer was short. After nearly forcing another shot-clock violation, GodBold was whistled for her second foul and Haley Texada ended up loose for a layup after an offensive rebound that made KSU's lead 55-39 with 8:03 left.
The Illini got within 57-44 at the 4:53 mark and called timeout, but K-State's Brianna Craig drained a trey on the Wildcats' next possession and Illinois never got the lead below 15 again as KSU cruised to the 66-48 win.