Illinois Routs Wagner in Home Opener
The University of Illinois womenıs basketball team opened the home season today at Assembly Hall, as the No. 24 Illini ran away from Wagner for a 76-51 victory to improve to 2-0 on the young season. Illinoisı perfect start marks the first time under Head Coach Theresa Grentz that UI has won its first two games.
Wagner jumped out of the gate strong, claiming a 10-4 lead in the first five minutes of the game. The Illini responded with an 18-4 run to claim a 22-14 advantage they would never relinquish. The Seahawks cut the lead to 25-20 before the Orange and Blue scored 17 of the final 23 points of the half to take a 42-26 lead into the break. In the second half, Illinois would build its lead to as large as 32 points before cruising to a 76-51 victory.
Four Illini scored in doubles figures in the win, as two freshman led the charge. In her first game in Orange and Blue, Cindy Dallas (Pittsburgh, Pa./Schenley) scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds in only 18 minutes of play. Allison Curtin (Taylorville, Ill./Taylorville) continued her strong start with 14 points, seven rebounds and five steals. Alicia Sheeler (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford-Mendon) added 13 points and Tauja Catchings (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson) earned a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while nabbing five steals.
The Illini defense forced 27 Wagner turnovers and earned 20 steals, while holding the Seahawks to only 28 percent from the floor. Illinois shot only .394 from the floor and hit only 19 of 38 free throws, but out-rebounded the visitors 53-49, with 22 offensive rebounds.
Illinois hits the road again, as the squad travels to face No. 11 Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 6 p.m. before heading back to California to play in the San Diego Tournament from Nov. 27-28. The Illini will not play another home game until Dec. 19, when they host Florida in the Big Ten-SEC Challenge at Assembly Hall.