Jenna Smith had her 23rd career double-double Sunday night with 17 points and 12 rebounds
Nov. 23, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini women's basketball team fell with 3-1 on the season with a 66-47 loss to Temple Sunday night at Assembly Hall. Junior center Jenna Smith led Illinois with 17 points and 12 rebounds, but it wasn't enough. The Orange and Blue will now head to Cancun, Mexico, for the Caribbean Challenge beginning Nov. 26.
Illinois started off sluggish for the third straight game, hitting just one of its 12 shots, but the defense kept the game close early. The Owls led just 8-3 when Smith hit a three-pointer at the top of the key to spark an 11-4 run that gave the Illini a 14-12 lead at the 11:34 mark. The Illini still led 23-19 after a jumper by junior Whitney Toone with 3:26 left, but Temple closed the half on a 10-0 run to take a 29-23 lead into halftime. The Orange and Blue shot 29 percent in the first half (9-of-31) and were out-rebounded 26-14.
Temple (2-1) continued the run in the second half, scoring 11 of the first 13 points to open up a 40-25 lead. When all was said and done, the Owls used a 21-2 run that spanned the final 3:26 of the first half and the first 2:27 of the second half to break the game open. They would stretch the lead to as many as 23 thanks to hot second-half shooting (56 percent) and a strong transition game (14-2 edge in fast break points).
While Smith tallied her 23rd career double-double and also added three blocks, she struggled from the field, hitting 7-of-21 shots. Smith wasn't alone, however, as the Illini shot 30 percent for the game (18-of-60) and 28 percent from three-point range (5-of-18). Redshirt freshman Lydia McCully (13 points) and freshman Fabiola Josil (10 points) were also in double figures for the Orange and Blue, while junior guard LaKeisha Eaddy led Temple's attack with 17 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Illinois was without senior forward Chelsea Gordon, who missed tonight's game after injuring her ankle in Wednesday's victory against Missouri.
The Fighting Illini now head to sunny Cancun, Mexico, where they'll play three games in three days at the Caribbean Challenge, which takes place Nov. 26-28 at the Moon Palace Resort. They'll start with Montana (2-0) on Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. CT, then will face South Dakota State (4-0) on Thanksgiving Day at 8:30 p.m. CT and will close out the tournament by facing 11th-ranked Maryland (3-1) on Friday, Nov. 28 at 8:30 p.m. CT.