Women's Basketball
Game 19 WBB Notes: #25 Ohio State at Illinois

Alexis Burke and the Illini host #25 Ohio State Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Alexis Burke and the Illini host #25 Ohio State Thursday night at 7 p.m.

Jan. 19, 2011

Complete Illinois-Ohio State Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader

GAME 19 - #25/RV OHIO STATE (11-6, 2-3) AT ILLINOIS (7-11, 2-3)

Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011 // 7 p.m. CT // Assembly Hall (16,618) // Champaign, Ill.

TV/Internet: Live on BigTenNetwork.com Student U (Eric Steckling and Heather Pink)
Student U broadcast will be tape-delayed on the Big Ten Network at 9 a.m. CT on Jan. 21
Radio: Live on WDWS-AM 1400 and online at fightingillini.com (pay), Dave Loane and Mike Koon
Livestats: Gametracker and fightingillini.com/wbasketballstats

Ohio State leads 42-17 overall and 14-12 in Champaign
Last Meeting: OSU 66, Illinois 55 on March 5, 2010 in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals

Illinois: Jolette Law, 56-62 overall and at Illinois (fourth season)
Ohio State: Jim Foster, 727-283 overall (33rd season) and 223-58 at Ohio State (ninth season)


• Tip-off: The Fighting Illini return to Assembly Hall this Thursday to host the 25th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes at 7 p.m. CST. Illinois (7-11, 2-3) will try to climb back to .500 in Big Ten play after Sunday's 83-62 loss at Penn State, while the six-time defending Big Ten champion Buckeyes (11-6, 2-3) are looking to keep their momentum going after a win over No. 9 Michigan State on Sunday.

• Seeing Double: Sophomore forward Karisma Penn has posted 11 double-doubles so far this season to lead the Big Ten and rank third in the nation. She got back on track with 15 points and 13 rebounds Sunday at Penn State after two straight games without a double-double.

• All-Around Player: Illinois' Karisma Penn is the only player in the conference that ranks in the top-five in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals. Entering Thursday's game versus Ohio State, the Shaker Heights, Ohio, native is fifth in the conference in scoring (16.6 ppg), second in rebounding (10.5 rpg), second in blocks (2.6 bpg) and third in steals (2.3 spg). She also ranks 11th in the Big Ten in FG percentage, while her 10.5 boards per game is good for 19th in the nation.

• Moore's Swagger is Back: Redshirt freshman Amber Moore has been on fire as of late, prompting coach Jolette Law to say that Moore has her "swagger" back. Moore hit seven threes last Thursday at Indiana, equaling the second most in a game in school history behind only Katie Coleman's school-record of nine in 1997. Moore has hit 14-of-31 (.452) from behind the arc in the last three games and ranks second in the Big Ten in three-pointers made per game during conference play (3.2).

• Bench Production: The Fighting Illini bench has come up big all season, particularly as of late. In the last three games, the UI bench has outscored the opposing benches 124-55. Against Northwestern on Jan. 9, the Illinois bench outscored the NU reserves 46-5, then on Jan. 13 at Indiana, the UI bench scored a season-high 48 points, followed by 30 points at Penn State. Amber Moore (54 points) and Adrienne GodBold (34 points) have led the way during that three game stretch. For the season, Illinois' reserves are outscoring the opposing bench by an average of 23.9-15.1.

• Free Throw Turnaround: Illinois appears to have turned around its early season free throw shooting woes. Through 12 games, the Illini ranked last in the Big Ten at 61.4 percent. However, they've knocked down 87-of-119 (73.1 percent) from the line over the last six games to lift their season average to 65.7 percent. The Illini have also had their two highest totals of FT attempts in the last two games, getting to the line a season-high 27 times at Indiana and then 24 times at Penn State.

Ohio State enters Thursday's game 11-6 overall and 2-3 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes had lost five of their last seven prior to Sunday's 67-53 win over No. 9 Michigan State in Columbus. OSU is the six-time defending Big Ten champion and is currently ranked 25th by the Associated Press poll and 14th in the latest CollegeRPI.com ratings.

The Buckeyes are led by senior All-American post Jantel Lavender (23.5 ppg, 11.4 rpg), the three-time defending Big Ten Player of the Year. Junior guard Samantha Prahalis (14.5 ppg, 6.4 apg), sophomore guard Tayler Hill (12.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and senior guard Brittany Johnson (10.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg) are all experienced vets. Senior forward and regular starter Sarah Schulze is likely out with a knee injury suffered in Sunday's game versus Michigan State.

• The Illinois-OSU Series: Ohio State owns a 42-17 advantage in the all-time series and a slim 12-14 edge in Champaign. The Buckeyes have won six-straight against the Illini, including three wins last season. The last Illini victory over OSU was in the 2008 Big Ten Tournament, when the ninth-seeded Illini upset the top-seeded Buckeyes 64-58. The two teams have met in the Big Ten Tournament three straight seasons, with the Illini winning in 2008 and the Buckeyes winning in 2009 and 2010.

The Fighting Illini's hopes for another run to the title game were dashed by top-seeded Ohio State in the 2010 Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. Illinois cut a 16-point second-half deficit to six late in the game, but could get no closer in a 66-55 loss to the Buckeyes.

Jenna Smith had 13 points and 11 rebounds to become both the Big Ten Tournament's career rebounding leader and the Illinois single-season rebounding record holder. The Illini cut a nine-point halftime deficit to four, 33-29, with five quick points to start the second half. However, the Buckeyes responded with a 20-8 run to push their lead out to 53-37 with 9:47 remaining.

The Illini wouldn't go quietly though, as they would go on a 12-2 run to close within 57-51 at the 5:03 mark. After a stop on the defensive end, the Illini had two great looks to cut the lead even more, but a three-pointer by Smith and a long jumper by Lacey Simpson were both off the mark. Ohio State's Jantel Lavender then hit a bucket on the other end to push it back to an eight point UI deficit and the Illini would get no closer from that point on.

The Fighting Illini are looking to end a string of 10 straight losses to teams ranked in the Associated Press top-25 when the 25th-ranked Buckeyes come to Assembly Hall on Thursday. Illinois' last win versus a ranked foe was against No. 22 Ohio State in the 2008 Big Ten Tournament. The last Illini win over a ranked team at home was also against the Buckeyes on Jan. 31, 2008, when Illinois topped 19th-ranked OSU 68-64.

Heading into the season, many wondered how the Illini would replace Jenna Smith, a three-time first team All-Big Ten selection and the school's all-time leader in points, rebounds and blocks. While Smith left some big shoes to fill, Illinois sophomore Karisma Penn has virtually matched Smith's numbers as a sophomore, when she was named an honorable mention All-American. Take a side-by-side look at their sophomore seasons:

Sophomore Stars: Karisma Penn vs. Jenna Smith

Stat	                Penn '10-11   Smith '07-08
Points per game	            16.6  	 18.3
Rebounds per game           10.5	  9.4
Blocks per game	             2.6	  1.7
Steals per game	             2.3	  1.1
Field Goal Percentage	    .485	 .503
Minutes per game	    33.2	 37.3
• Block Party: Penn is already climbing up the UI career blocks list. After breaking the UI freshman record with 57 swats last year, Penn has added 47 this season to bring her career total to 104. She currently sits sixth on the UI career blocks list and has already cracked the top-eight on the single season list.

• Penn POW: Penn picked up her second Big Ten Player of the Week accolade of the season on Jan. 3 after averaging 19.7 points, 12.0 rebounds, 4.3 steals and 2.7 blocks in three games from Dec. 27-Jan. 2. She also took home co-Player of the Week honors on Dec. 20 after going for 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks in Illinois' win over UIC at the United Center on Dec. 18.

It was announced on Jan. 19 that sophomore forward Kersten Magrum will miss the rest of the 2010-11 season due to a nagging foot injury. She had surgery on Nov. 10 in hopes of being healthy by the end of December, but had continued problems with the foot after coming back against Marquette on Dec. 21. Magrum saw action in three games during the first half of the 2010-11season. She will apply for a medical hardship waiver, which would leave her with three years of eligibility remaining starting next year.

...5-0 when allowing less than 60 points
...2-11 when allowing 60 or more points
...7-1 when leading at halftime
...0-10 when tied or trailing at halftime
...4-1 when having fewer turnovers than the opponent
...2-9 when having more turnovers than the opponent

Illinois is one of only seven Division I teams in the nation without a senior on its roster heading into the 2010-11 season, joining Maryland, Miami (Fla.), Murray State, Oral Roberts, Purdue and Rutgers. With the absence of senior leadership, Illini head coach Jolette Law has singled out redshirt junior Lydia McCully and sophomores Karisma Penn and Kersten Magrum as players who have stepped up as leaders this season.

Hot shooting by Penn State was too much for Illinois to overcome in an 83-62 loss to the Lady Lions in University Park, Pa. on Sunday. PSU hit 12-of-20 from three-point range (60 percent), including eight in the first half, to turn a game that was tight early into a blow out.

PSU hit 8-of-16 from behind the arc in the first half, equaling the season high against the Illini for a full game entering the day. The hosts would get even hotter in the second half, hitting all four of their threes to finish with 12 for the game, tied for the third-most against the Illini in school history.

Karisma Penn had her Big Ten-leading 11th double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and also added three steals and a block. Amber Moore, who was coming off a seven three, 27-point performance at Indiana, finished with 10 points and five assists, but was just 3-of-13 from the field and 2-of-10 from downtown