Game 16 Notes: RV/-- Illinois vs. RV/-- Michigan State
Jan. 11, 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.
Illini Put Foes Under Pressure: Illinois has racheted up the defensive pressure lately, forcing 114 turnovers in its last four games (28.5 per game), and 88 in three Big Ten games (29.3 pg). The Illini lead the league with 17.7 steals per game during conference play and rank fourth in scoring defense (62.3 ppg) in Big Ten games, a marked improvement over their 12th-place standing in scoring defense in all games (67.3 ppg). Illinois leads the league and ranks 38th nationally in steals (11.9 per game) overall. The Illini recorded 24 steals, the most in a Big Ten game in school history, and forced 34 turnovers against Northwestern (1/10), caused 20 miscues at Ohio State (1/6), 34 against No. 14 Purdue (1/2) and 26 against No. 6 Georgia (12/28).
Stealing the Spotlight: Four Illini players rank in the top 10 in steals per game in conference play, as Karisma Penn's 5.0 spg are tied for the Big Ten lead, Adrienne GodBold ranks third (4.0 spg), Alexis Smith is tied for sixth (3.3 spg) and Ivory Crawford is tied for ninth (3.0 spg).
Turnaround in Progress: Illinois is 9-6 after winning just just 11 games last season and only nine games in 2010-11. Through 15 games last season, the Illini were 6-9 overall, 0-2 in the Big Ten. Illinois also started the conference season 0-7 before beating Michigan State on Jan. 26, 2012. The Orange and Blue are looking for their first 3-1 start to Big Ten play since 2005-06, when Illinois started 3-0 before losing eight straight games.
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 four foes 132-98 in the post, an average of 33.0-24.5 per game. 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. Between that pair of games, the Illini dropped a 67-66 overtime thriller to No. 14 Purdue on Jan. 2. Prior to the Georgia game, 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.
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 third in the Big Ten and 30th nationally in scoring, averaging 72.7 points per game. Through 15 games, the Orange and Blue are averaging 9.4 ppg more than last season's first 15 games scoring average of 63.3.
Penn Does It All: Senior forward Karisma Penn leads the Big Ten in rebounding and blocked shots, ranks third in steals and fourth in scoring and field-goal percentage, making her the only player in the conference to rank in the top five 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 20.0 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 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, and ranks second in the league in free-throw percentage (.909) and minutes played (37.1 mpg). She also is among conference leaders (top 15) in scoring (17th) and three-point field-goal percentage (10th, .364). 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 four games this year, GodBold has shown why she earned Illinois' team MVP honors last year, scoring a game-high 20 points at Northwestern, 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 Spartans
Michigan State currently stands No. 35 in RealTimeRPI's rankings with a schedule strength of 86. The Spartans' two losses have come to No. 19 Dayton and No. 9 Penn State, and they have five top-100 wins (Minnesota, N.C. State, Temple, Texas Tech and Virginia Tech).
MSU started the season with eight straight wins before falling to Dayton, 60-53, on Dec. 8. The Spartans then won five in a row before losing to Penn State last Sunday.
Michigan State ranks second in the nation in scoring defense (45.6 ppg) and third in field-goal percentage defense (.314). MSU also is No. 10 in turnovers per game (13.5), No. 14 in three-point defense (.243) and No. 19 in rebounding margin (+9.4 per game).
The Spartans may be one of the most well-rounded teams in the nation as well, with Klarissa Bell leading the way at 11.9 points per game and five other players scoring at least 8.7 ppg. MSU also has six players averaging 4.6 rebounds per game or more, led by Courtney Schiffauer's 6.9 rpg.
Michigan State appears to be quite disciplined, averaging only 13.5 turnovers per game, and commits only 12.8 fouls per game.
Michigan State Series History
Last Meeting with the Spartans
Bollant Against the Spartans
Last Time Out: Northwestern