Illini Blowout Flames Behind Another Smith Double-Double
Dec. 2, 2007
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A balanced scoring attack and hot shooting hands led the Illinois women's basketball team to a 69-57 win over sister school Illinois-Chicago on Sunday at Assembly Hall. Sophomore Jenna Smith had another double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds to help the Illini improve to 6-2 on the season.
The Illini shot 51 percent in the game, put three players in double figures and had six players score at least seven points. Smith continued her outstanding start to the season with her sixth double-double of the year, hitting 7-of-11 from the field for her 16 points, while also adding four assists and three blocks.
The Illini jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead in the game's opening minutes, including two free throws by junior Lori Bjork before the game started after UIC was charged with a technical foul for an incorrect number in the official scorebook. Illinois would never trail the rest of the way and led by as many as 14 points in the first half, scoring 17 off of Flames turnovers, and Smith hit a nifty lay-up at the halftime buzzer to push it to a 34-23 lead at the break.
Illinois shot 62 percent from the field in the second half, led by junior guard Chelsea Gordon hitting three three-pointers, two of which came on assists from Smith down in the post. After the Flames cut the lead to eight, 40-32, on a jumper by Ashley Hluska with 16:16 to play, Illinois caught fire. The Orange and Blue went on a 21-7 run that pushed the lead to 22 points, 61-39, with 6:41 to play and put the game out of reach.
Gordon scored 13 points, all in the second half, while senior guard Rebecca Harris contributed 10, all in the first half. Junior Lori Bjork had nine points, while senior forward Audrey Tabon had her best game of the season with eight points and six rebounds. Sophomore Lacey Simpson had four steals and two blocks to lead the defensive attack.
Illinois-Chicago (3-4) guard Jessica Miller led all scorers with 18 points, while teammate Briana Hinkle had 14.
The Illini have a showdown with #9/9 Oklahoma (4-2) at Assembly Hall on Wednesday, Dec. 5. The Illinois-OU game, which is set to tip-off at 8 p.m. CT, will be Illinois' first televised women's basketball game on the Big Ten Network.