Despite playing without the services of starting guard Melissa Parker, Illinois (12-7, 6-3) routed Michigan State (10-9, 4-5) on the road thanks to a team-effort that saw five Illini score in double-figures.
The Illini jumped out to an early lead thanks to the stellar play of Kylie Martin off the bench, as the reserve guard scored five points in a 9-3 run to give Illinois a 27-15 lead at the 8:10 mark. Martin ended the half with a layup and a three-pointer, her first of the season, with 1.6 seconds on the clock to give the visitors a 45-29 lead at the half.
Illinois opened the second half by scoring 12 of the first 16 points, including seven straight points from freshman Allison Curtin, to build a 57-33 advantage. The lead would never drop below 20 points the remainder of the game, as the Orange and Blue coasted to an 82-60 victory.
Five Illini players tallied double-figures in points, led by Alicia Sheeler's 21 points. In just her third start of the season, Curtin replaced Parker and poured in 17 points including three treys. Two Illini came off the bench to set career-highs in scoring, as Martin tallied 14 points and Dawn Vana added 12 points. Susan Blauser rounded out the double-figure scoring for UI with 10 points. Michigan State was led by Maxann Reese with 16 points, including four three-pointers.
Illinois forced 24 MSU turnovers in the game and took advantage, outscoring the Spartans 29-15 in points off turnovers. The Illinois reserves were also key, as the UI bench outscored its MSU counterparts 29-9 in the game.
Illinois improves to 3-5 on the road, after dropping five straight games away from home earlier in the season. The Illini will next travel to Minnesota to face the Golden Gophers on Friday, January 29 at 7 p.m.