Brianna Jones had 10 points and nine rebounds and helped the Illini defense hold Lewis to 29 percent shooting.
Nov. 8, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Jolette Law's Fighting Illini took the Assembly Hall floor for the first time Sunday afternoon, cruising to a 75-40 exhibition win over Lewis University. All 13 Illini that dressed saw extensive playing time, including five freshmen who took the court for the first time in an Illinois uniform.
Senior Jenna Smith led the way with 13 points in 22 minutes and freshmen Karisma Penn (11 points, seven rebounds) and Brianna Jones (10 points, nine rebounds) nearly had double-doubles in their debuts. Senior Lacey Simpson had nine rebounds, four points and four steals for the Orange and Blue, who forced 23 Lewis turnovers.
Illinois was sloppy early, committing 12 first-half turnovers, but still led by 10 at halftime after a three-pointer by freshman Amber Moore at the first half buzzer made the score 33-23 in favor of the Illini. Moore hit three three-points in the first half for nine points, equaling Smith's nine first-half points.
The Orange and Blue pulled away in the second half, closing the game on a 34-7 run after Lewis got within 41-33 with 15 minutes to play. Illinois shot 45 percent from the field (33-of-73) and 38 percent from three-point range (6-of-16) while holding Lewis to 29 percent overall (14-of-49). The defense limited the Flyers to 2-14 from behind the arc in the final 30 minutes after they started out hitting five of their first seven threes.
Law tried several different lineup combinations in the game, as 12 of the 13 players saw at least nine minutes of action and no one saw more than 24. Sophomore Fabiola Josil was limited to just four minutes with a sprained knee and freshman Destiny Williams did not play due to illness. The other five freshmen from the famed recruiting class, however, were impressive, as Penn, Jones, Moore, Kersten Magrum and Adrienne Godbold combined for 38 points and 24 rebounds. In all, Law got 40 points and 30 rebounds from her bench, a big contrast from a year ago when only six players played a bulk of the minutes.
Illinois dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Flyers 52-26 and holding a 38-8 edge on points in the paint. The Orange and Blue turned the Lewis turnovers into 29 points in the other end and had a 21-6 edge in second chance points.
The Fighting Illini will now open their regular season on the road this Friday, Nov. 13, when they travel to Philadelphia to face Temple. Illinois begins the home schedule one week from today when Siena comes to Assembly Hall for a 4 p.m. tip.