Career game from Magrum propels Illini to win over Cleveland State
Nov. 13, 2011
Cleveland, Ohio - Kersten Magrum had a career-high 23 points and a career-best seven rebounds to help lift Illinois to a 72-42 victory at Cleveland State Sunday afternoon. Magrum made 8 of 11 field goals and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line in the victory. Both teams are now 1-1 on the season.
"Today Kersten played extremely well," Illinois head coach Jolette Law said. "She was aggressive. She was knocking down shots. She was the spark plug, the energy. It was great to see her get back in the groove. She has been working extremely hard, and I'm just glad to have her on my team."
Magrum was one of three players in double figures for the Illini. Sophomore Amber Moore added 12 points and five assists on 5 of 10 shooting. Freshman Ivory Crawford tallied 11 points, making all three of her three-point attempts.
As a team, Illinois used hot shooting to pull away. The Illini shot 50 percent from the field (28 of 56), but shot 56.3 percent in the second half in outscoring the host Vikings 43-25 in the second half. Illinois was also 6 of 13 from the three-point arc.
The game was a homecoming for a pair of Illini, who hail from the Cleveland suburbs. Both had key contributions to the victory. Junior Karisma Penn, a pre-season All-Big Ten selection, had nine points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. Senior point guard Lydia McCulley led a strong defensive attack with a team-leading three steals to go along with four assists.
"This is the team I was hoping would show up against South Carolina," Law said alluding to her team's opening game 19-point loss to the Gamecocks. "I'm glad South Carolina gave us a wake-up call early. Now we know what it takes. My kids responded today. It just takes the load off our backs and let's us know that if we do the little things together, great things can happen.
The Illini defensive effort limited Cleveland State to just 24 percent from the field and forced 22 turnovers. They also held the Vikings leading scorer, Destinee Blue, to just 3 of 9 from the floor and a team-best 11 points.
Three-pointers from Moore and Penn helped Illinois jump to an 8-0 lead. Half of Illinois' first 14 points came off turnovers, including a fast break basket by Magrum off a steal from Adrienne GodBold. The lead reached 29-17 at the break.
Illinois set the tone early in the second half with a 12-2 run to take a 41-23 advantage with 15 minutes to play. Five different players scored in the run. The Illini led by as many as 31 points at 70-39 late in the game.
Illinois is in the middle of playing three games in five days. The Illini host Memphis at 7 pm Tuesday night at the Assembly Hall.