Game 15 Notes: RV/-- Illinois at Northwestern
Jan. 8, 2013
Illini Receive Votes in AP Poll: Illinois collected four points in this week's Associated Press poll, marking the first time since Dec. 7, 2009, that the Illini have appeared in the "others receiving votes" portion of the AP poll. Illinois was last ranked by AP (No. 24) on Nov. 27, 2000.
Penn Keeps Awards Coming: A week after she was named national player of the week by espnW and the USBWA, and Big Ten player of the week, senior forward Karisma Penn was named Big Ten player of the week on Jan. 7. She posted a career-high 34 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in Illinois' 79-73 win at Ohio State, and added 15 and 9, respectively, in a one-point overtime defeat to No. 14 Purdue on Jan. 2. She broke the Illinois record with 16 made free throws in 17 attempts against OSU and for the week, she shot 60 percent (15-of-25) from the floor. The week before, Penn scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed a career-best 19 rebounds to key Illinois' win over No. 6 Georgia. She also blocked two shots, becoming the Illini's career blocks record-holder.
Penn Dominates Late in Games: Karisma Penn has become a dominant force late in games recently, scoring 11 of Illinois' last 18 points against No. 6 Georgia and 18 of the last 26 Illini points in the 79-73 win at Ohio State. She also scored five of Illinois' last eight points in regulation before fouling out halfway through the overtime period in the 67-66 loss to No. 14 Purdue on Jan. 2.
Illinois Gets It Done Down Low: The Illini have controlled games in the paint lately, outscoring their last three foes 106-80 in the post. Illinois out-paced No. 6 Georgia 32-18 and outscored No. 14 Purdue 38-28.
Illini Relish Underdog Role: Illinois has won two of its last three games against ranked opponents after beating AP-ranked No. 6 Georgia on Dec. 28 and Ohio State, who was No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, on Jan. 6. 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 AP-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 the official NCAA report released this week for the first time, jumped 10 spots from 82 to 72 as a result of Illinois' win at Ohio State on Jan. 6. That comes after the Illini made a significant RPI jump following the victory over Georgia on Dec. 28. According to RealTimeRPI.com, the Orange and Blue have faced one of the top schedules in the country, as Illinois' slate is rated No. 19 and third-best among Big Ten squads. Six of the Illini's Big Ten foes have RPI figures of 60 or better in the NCAA report.
Offense Thrives Under Bollant: The Illini rank second in the Big Ten in scoring (through games of Jan. 6), averaging 73.2 points per game, and also rank 29th nationally. Through 14 games, the Orange and Blue are averaging 9.9 ppg more than last season's first 14 games scoring average of 63.3.
Stealing Attention: Illinois also ranks among the Big Ten leaders in steals, as its 11.0 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 14 games of last season. That also has helped the Illini in turnover margin as they stand second in the Big Ten at plus-3.2 per game.
Penn Does It All: Senior forward Karisma Penn leads the Big Ten in rebounding and blocked shots, ranks third 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 20.0 points per game, 10.0 rebounds per game and 2.5 blocks per game. A career 13.9 ppg scorer, Penn is up to 20.5 ppg so far this year. For more on Penn's strong start to her final season, see page 5.
Moore is Better: Junior guard Amber Moore also has increased her productivity under first-year head coach Matt Bollant, averaging 12.8 points per game after entering the season with a career average of 9.2 ppg. Moore is averaging 2.8 three-point field goals per game, fourth-best in the Big Ten, ranks second in the league in free-throw percentage (.903) and minutes played (37.0 mpg), and is eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4:1). She also is among conference leaders (top 15) in scoring, assists and three-point field-goal percentage (.358). 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 three 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), notching 14 points at Ohio State and scoring 11 points in 22 minutes in her debut against the Lady Bulldogs.
Scouting The Wildcats
Northwestern is ranked 108 in the latest RPI rankings released by the NCAA on Monday, with a schedule strength of 80 according to RealTimeRPI.com. Northwestern has two top-100 RPI wins, beating then-No. 51 Central Michigan on Nov. 11 and then-No. 81 Boston College on Nov. 28.
The Wildcats rank eighth in the Big Ten in scoring offense, 11th in scoring defense and 12th in scoring margin. They lead the league in blocked shots (6.3 bpg) and rank fifth in field-goal percentage defense (.355), but rank 12th in turnover margin (-2.3 per game) and three-point defense (.330).
Senior Dannielle Diamant ranks fourth in the league in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and is sixth in blocked shots (1.5 bpg). Sophomore Karly Roser stands second in assists (6.5 apg) and ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4:1).
Northwestern senior forward Kendall Hackney leads the way in scoring, averaging 14.6 ppg, which ranks 11th in the Big Ten. She also ranks 10th in three-point field-goal percentage (.373) and 12th in rebounding (6.7 rpg).
Northwestern Series History
Last Meeting with the Wildcats
Last Time Out: RV/#24 Ohio State
It marked Illinois' first win at Ohio State in 12 years, since a 75-73 victory on Jan. 9, 2001, and snapped the Buckeyes' 31-game home winning streak, which was the second-longest in the nation. Illinois' 79 points were the most OSU has allowed this season. Illinois scored 11 of the game's final 17 points, including a 7-of-8 effort from the line in the game's final 2:00. The Orange and Blue also came up with key rebounds late, snaring seven of the game's final eight rebounds in the game's final four minutes and 10 of the last 13 over the final 7:25.
Illini in NCAA Stats
Junior Amber Moore is 29th nationally in three-point field goals made per game (2.79). Senior Karisma Penn ranks 12th nationally in double-doubles (8), 16th in scoring (20.5 ppg) and blocked shots per game (2.64), 24th in rebounding (10.8 rpg) and 27th in field-goal percentage (54.5 percent). Also, her 16-of-17 free-throw performance against Ohio State on Jan. 6 is the top non-perfect outing in the nation by percentage this year and ranks 15th overall.
Sophomore Alexis Smith is 28th in the nation in assists per game (5.6). In addition, her 14 assists against Wake Forest (Nov. 29), are tied for the most in a game in the nation this year, and her 13 dimes against Cleveland State on Nov. 18 are tied for the second-most in the country.