Lydia McCully had 13 points and 7 rebounds vs. the Tar Heels
Nov. 27, 2010
HONOLULU - The Fighting Illini women's basketball team faced its toughest test of the season so far on Saturday in the semifinals of the Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown, hanging with No. 14 North Carolina for most of the first half before eventually falling 87-58 to the up-tempo Tar Heels. Illinois falls to 3-3 on the season, and will face either host Hawaii or Mississippi in Sunday's third place game.
Illinois came out of the gates fired up and went toe to toe with North Carolina (6-0) early on. The Illini led 23-19 after freshman Alexis Burke hit a three at the 9:57 mark, however, the fast-paced Tar Heels went on a decisive 16-0 run to take control of the game after that. They closed the half on a 26-6 run to take a 45-29 lead at the break.
UNC would extend the lead to 26 early in the second half, 58-32, with 14:38 left, but the Orange and Blue charged back with a 16-5 run to cut the deficit to 63-48 after a three-pointer by junior Lydia McCully. Illinois would get no closer, however, as UNC pulled away for the 29-point win to remain undefeated.
Burke continued her strong play, hitting a career-high 4-of-6 from three-point range to finish with a team-high 18 points for the second straight night. McCully also had a big game with 13 points, including 3-of-4 from downtown, to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Sophomore post Karisma Penn scored six points in the first three minutes of play, but was again plagued by foul trouble, playing only 20 minutes for the game. She finished with 11 points and eight rebounds on the night against the tall UNC front line.
With Penn in foul trouble, Illinois struggled on the boards as North Carolina boasts three players 6-3 or taller on its front line. They used the size advantage for a 34-15 rebounding edge in the first 20 minutes, including 14 offensive rebounds. The Illini made some adjustments at the break and held a +8 rebounding edge in the second half. For the game, the Tar Heels led 51-40 on the glass and converted that into a 19-4 edge in second chance points.
For the game, Illinois shot 34 percent overall and hit 7-of-13 from three-point range (.538), while UNC shot 44 percent overall and 33 percent from downtown.
Freshman Centrese McGee had three steals for the Illini to go along with four points and six boards, while sophomore Adrienne GodBold returned to action for the first time this season after serving a five game suspension. She contributed two points and five rebounds in 17 minutes.
Illinois' Sunday opponent depends on the outcome of Saturday's final game between Hawaii and Mississippi. If Hawaii wins, Illinois will face Ole Miss on Sunday at 3:45 pm HT/7:45 CT in the third place game. If Mississippi tops Hawaii, the Illini will face the hosts at 6 pm HT/10 CT on Sunday.