Game 14 Notes: Illinois at RV/#24 Ohio State
Jan. 4, 2013
Penn Hauls in Awards: Senior forward Karisma Penn was named national player of the week by espnW and the USBWA, and Big Ten player of the week after her standout performance against No. 6 Georgia on Dec. 28. Penn scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed a career-best 19 rebounds to key Illinois' win. She also blocked two shots, becoming the Illini's career blocks record-holder. Penn scored 13 of Illinois' first 31 points in the game and 11 of the last 18.
Illini Relish Underdog Role: Illinois has won two of its last three games against AP-ranked opponents after beating No. 6 Georgia on Dec. 28. Prior to that, the Illini's most recent test against a ranked foe was when Illinois topped No. 10 Ohio State, 66-65, on Feb. 9, 2012, in Champaign. That win snapped a 20-game losing streak to ranked foes that dated back to 2008. Illinois is 42-168 all-time against ranked opponents and 29-68 at home.
Reliving the Win Over #6 Georgia: The Illini jumped out to a 31-13 lead against the Lady Bulldogs and used a 13-5 run in the second half that turned a tie game into a 65-52 Illinois advantage with 3:20 remaining. The Orange and Blue forced 26 turnovers and outscored Georgia 32-18 in the paint while out-rebounding the Lady Bulldogs 42-41. The key was Illinois' defense in the second half, holding Georgia to 30 points on 29 percent shooting after halftime.
RPI Jumps After Upset: The Illini's RPI, according to RealTimeRPI.com, jumped nearly 30 spots from 113 to 85 as a result of Illinois' win over Georgia on Dec. 28. The Orange and Blue also have faced one of the top schedules in the country, as Illinois' slate is rated No. 22, a number that jumped 11 spots after the Illini's loss to Purdue. Both of those figures likely will continue to rise, as seven of the Illini's Big Ten foes have RPI figures of 60 or better.
Offense Thrives Under Bollant: The Illini rank third in the Big Ten in scoring (through games of Jan. 3), averaging 72.8 points per game, and also rank 33rd nationally (as of Dec. 31). Through 13 games, the Orange and Blue are averaging 8.5 ppg more than last season's first 13 games scoring average of 64.3.
Stealing Attention: Illinois also ranks among the Big Ten leaders in steals, as its 10.9 thefts per game stand second in the conference. That is reflective of head coach Matt Bollant's emphasis on defense, as the Illini are averaging 2.4 spg more per game than through the first 13 games of last season. That also has helped the Illini in turnover margin as they stand second in the Big Ten at plus-3.4 per game.
Penn Does It All: Senior forward Karisma Penn leads the Big Ten in rebounding and blocked shots, ranks fourth in scoring and field-goal percentage, and seventh in steals, making her the only player in the conference to rank in the top 10 in all five categories. Penn also is the only player in the country to average 19.5 points per game, 10.5 rebounds per game and 2.5 blocks per game. A career 13.9 ppg scorer, Penn is up to 19.5 ppg so far this year. For more on Penn's strong start to her final season, see page 4.
Moore is Better: Junior guard Amber Moore also has increased her productivity under first-year head coach Matt Bollant, averaging 13.0 points per game after entering the season with a career average of 9.2 ppg. Moore is averaging 2.9 three-point field goals per game, fourth-best in the Big Ten, leads the league in minutes played (37.0 mpg) and ranks seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5:1). She also is among conference leaders (top 15) in scoring and assists. For more on her strong play this season, see page 6.
GodBold Returns to Action: Senior guard Adrienne GodBold made her season debut against No. 6 Georgia on Dec. 28 after missing the first half of the season for academic reasons. In two games this year, GodBold has shown why she earned Illinois' team MVP honors last year, recording her first career double-double against No. 14 Purdue (20 points, 11 rebounds) and scoring 11 points in 22 minutes in her debut against the Lady Bulldogs.
Scouting The Buckeyes
The Buckeyes have won a school-record 31 consecutive home games, dating back to the 2010-11 season, the second-longest active streak in the nation behind Baylor's 46 straight home wins. OSU's last loss in Columbus was to Northwestern on Feb. 6, 2011.
Ohio State stands No. 59 in the latest RPI rankings from RealTimeRPI.com, with a schedule strength of 109. The Buckeyes have beaten only one team with an RPI better than 100 in then-No. 68 Gonzaga, which OSU defeated 65-60 in Spokane, Wash.
OSU is a force defensively, ranking third in the Big Ten and 23rd nationally in scoring defense at 51.4 points per game allowed and outscoring opponents by an average of 18.2 points per game. Only two teams (Gonzaga, 60; Washington State, 62) have topped 60 points against the Buckeyes this year, and the Zags' 45.5 percent field-goal shooting is the best shooting performance by an OSU opponent this season.
On the other end, the Bucks rank fourth in the nation in field-goal percentage at .481, leading the Big Ten by 12 percentage points over second-place Michigan. OSU has six regulars who are shooting better than 45 percent on the season.
OSU guard Tayler Hill leads the way offensively for the Buckeyes, averaging 20.4 points per game, third-best in the Big Ten. She is coming off a career night at Iowa on Thursday, where she scored a career-high 34 points, including four three-pointers.
Ohio State Series History
Last Meeting with the Buckeyes
Last Time Out: #14 Purdue
Illinois outscored the Boilers 38-28 in the paint and held a 28-8 advantage scoring off turnovers, forcing a season-high 34 miscues by Purdue. The Illini led by as many as eight, 49-41 at the 11:14 mark of the second half, after hitting nine of their first 12 shots after halftime. But Purdue used a 13-0 run over 5:09 to grab a 56-50 lead. Illinois clamped down defensively, though, holding the Boilers to only one field goal and forcing two turnovers over the final three minutes of regulation.