Jenna Smith had the 41st double-double of her career on Monday to become the Illinois all-time leader.
Dec. 28, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois opened Big Ten play Monday night with a 76-47 loss to No. 6 Ohio State at Assembly Hall. Illini senior Jenna Smith became the school's career double-doubles record holder with 10 points and 15 rebounds, but it wasn't enough as the Buckeyes dominated defensively to hand the Illini their first conference loss.
Illinois (8-3, 0-1 Big Ten) raced out to a 9-4 lead early on, but it was all Buckeyes after that as the five-time defending Big Ten champs went on a 22-0 run to take control of the game. OSU All-American Jantel Lavender dominated inside, scoring 21 of her game-high 31 points before halftime as the Buckeyes pulled away for a 42-18 lead at the break.
The UI guards had trouble with OSU's full-court pressure as the Illini committed 15 first-half turnovers and 26 for the game, leading to 29 OSU points off turnovers. Buckeyes guard Shavelle Little did most of the damage as the senior racked up eight steals in 19 minutes.
Smith was held to just two points on 1-of-7 shooting in the first 20 minutes, but bounced back to score eight points in the second half to claim her NCAA-leading ninth double-double of the season and the record-breaking 41st of her career. It was also her 50th straight game scoring in double-figures.
Senior Lacey Simpson was also in double-figures for the Orange and Blue, scoring 11 points and adding five steals, four assists and three blocks. Freshman Kersten Magrum tied her career-high with seven points and freshman Adrienne Godbold had a career-high three blocks.
For the game, Illinois shot 34 percent and was out-rebounded by a 46-34 margin. Ohio State (14-1, 2-0), meanwhile, shot 44.1 percent from the field and held a huge 46-16 edge in points in the paint. Lavender, the two-time defending Big Ten Player of the Year, dominated inside, hitting 12-of-20 from the field for her 31 points while also adding eight rebounds.
The Fighting Illini continue their five-game homestand by hosting Penn State (9-3, 1-1) on Thursday, Dec. 31, at 3 p.m. and follow that with another home Big Ten matchup on Sunday, Jan. 3, when the Wisconsin Badgers come to Assembly Hall for another 3 p.m. tip.