Hot Illini Offense Produces 93-70 Win
Nov. 14, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois women's basketball team (2-1) scored the second highest point total under head coach Matt Bollant on Thursday night en route to a 93-70 victory over Mississippi Valley State (0-4). Amber Moore recorded a double-double with a season best 27 points and a career high 19 rebounds. Freshman Jacqui Grant also recorded a 20+ scoring game with a career high 22 points.
The Illinois offense has now scored above 90 points twice in three games. In fact, their current three game total of 272 points scored is the best three game stretch at Illinois since the 1998-99 season, when they hit that same mark Dec. 28-Jan. 3.
"I'm excited for our team. They continue to grow and get better and do a lot of really good things on the offensive end," said Bollant. "I thought these two (Grant, Moore) really started the game well and got us going on offense. We've got to grow defensively and that's our challenge. How good we are going to be as a basketball team will depend a lot on how we defend. Right now we're really good on the offensive end and we're exciting to watch but we need to grow defensively."
The newly crowned career three-point record holder Amber Moore naturally kicked off the game with a trey to get the Illini on the board. Then Jacqui Grant, who came into the game 0-6 from beyond the arc, hit back-to-back three's to jumpstart her team and get the Illinois offense rolling.
In fact, Grant and Moore became quite the strong Illini duo in the first half. By halftime, Moore already had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Grant already boasted a career best 15 points. In addition, both players were a perfect 5-5 from the free-throw line, all resulting in a 50-35 lead when both teams went to the locker rooms.
The Orange and Blue kept their foot on the accelerator in the second half and never looked back, building a lead of 27 points when the starters were subbed out with three and a half minutes remaining. When the final buzzer sounded, Moore and Grant scored over half the team's points with a combined total of 49. Furthermore, Grant shot 50 percent from the field (7-14), 3-4 from beyond the arc, and finished with seven rebounds and four steals.
Moore has now scored 20+ points in the first three games of the season. Her 71 total points so far marks the best three best span of her carer. In addition, her 27 points tonight were just four points shy of her career high of 31 set back in February of 2012.
Even more impressive was Moore's 19 rebounds, which tied the eighth highest single game total in Illinois history. The last Illini to accomplish 19 rebounds in a game was Karisma Penn vs. Georgia on Dec. 28 of last year.
Ivory Crawford and Sarah Hartwell also got in on the offensive action this evening with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Both Crawford and Hartwell earned their third straight double-digit scoring games of the season. Crawford shot a solid 7-11 from the field, while collecting seven rebounds. Meanwhile, Hartwell shot 4-10 from the floor and 2-4 from beyond the arc. Each girl finished with five assists each.
"The way we shot the basketball tonight was exciting and we've got a lot better," continued Bollant. "We're a much more skilled basketball team. I thought our point guards did a good job - both Sarah and Ivory had five assists and those guys taking care of the ball really helped us as well."
Illinois converted 39 points off of 23 total turnovers this evening. The Illini also out rebounded the Devilettes 48-45 while stealing the ball 17 times. Finally, the Orange and Blue shot above 40 percent from both the field and from three-point range, while finishing 16-23 from the free-throw line.
Up next, the Illini continue their home stand on Sunday, Nov. 17, when they host Alcorn State at 1 p.m. CT.