Game 21 - Illinois (6-14, 0-7) at Michigan State (12-8, 4-3)
Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012 // 5 p.m. CT // Breslin Center (14,797) // East Lansing, Mich.
On The Air
Live on WDWS-AM 1400 and online at fightingillini.com (Dave Loane and Mike Koon)
Big Ten Network (Dave Eanet, Lisa Stone and Megan Bower)
Available on fightingillini.com
Michigan State leads the all-time series, 26-35. Last meeting: Michigan State 69, Illinois 56; Feb. 20, 2011
Illinois: Jolette Law
, 64-88 overall and at Illinois (fifth season)
Suzy Merchent, 308-269 overall (17th season) and 99-44 at Michigan State (fifth season)
Watch | Listen | Gametracker | Complete Game 21 Notes |
Sunday's game with Nebraska is "Pack the Hall." Admission is free. Ticket giveaways for upcoming Kelly Clarkson and Monster Truck shows at Assembly Hall. Last autograph session of the year after the game.
The Illini are coming off a 96-84 loss to No. 10 Ohio State. Illinois came back from 12 points down to tie the Buckeyes at 76. Karisma Penn
had her second-best scoring game of the season with 23.
Illinois' 84 points against No. 10 Ohio State were the most against a Big Ten team in the Jolette Law
era. It is also the most points scored against the Buckeyes this season.
Illinois will be looking for its first win at Michigan State since downing the Spartans 75-65 on Feb. 24, 2003.
averaged 14.1 points per game during the non-conference season, but has raised that to 17.1 ppg during the Big Ten season.
scored a career-best 19 points and added eight rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal in the Illini's 71-65 loss to Penn State then followed that up with 18 points at Ohio State. On a team that struggled from the free-throw line, GodBold has been solid from the stripe, making 13 of 16 free-throw attempts in the last two games.
has missed the last three games after suffering a concussion against Wisconsin, leaving the game after scoring 20 points, including scoring 17 in the first half. Coach Law reports that the team hopes to have her back shortly.
The Illini are second in the Big Ten in blocked shots (5.1 bpg). Karisma Penn
is third in the league in blocks at 2.1 per game.
Illinois had two of its best turnover performances of the season recently, posting only 11 against Northwestern and 13 against Penn State. The Illini also only committed 13 turnovers at Illinois State.
posted her second-best three-point performance of the season against Penn State, making 5 of 8 from beyond the arc, including four in the first half. Moore has at least one three-pointer in 17 of the 20 games this season and multiple threes in 11 contests.
ILLINI FACE DEFENDING BIG TEN CHAMPIONS
Illinois takes on defending Big Ten champion Michigan State on Thursday night. The Spartans lost two of its three leading scorers from the 27-6 team, Kalisha Keane (16.1) and Brittney Thomas (8.9).
The Spartans are known for their pressure defense, giving up 57.9 points per game this year, which is third in the conference.
Michigan State has a balanced scoring attack, led by Porsche Poole's 10.7 points per game with its top five scorers averaging between 7.2 and 10.7 points per game.
The Spartans haven't led during the last two games against Minnesota and Purdue. MSU has lost three games in a row for the first time this season.
The Spartans won at Penn State 75-65 on Jan. 7. In that game, Michigan State held the Lady Lions to 35.9 percent shooting. Taylor Alton and Kiana Johnson scored 20 and 18 points, respectively.
Illinois has lost five of its Big Ten games by a combined 18 points, one of which needed overtime.
The Illini lost to preseason conference favorite Penn State in which the Illini led by as many as eight in the first half. Other close loses include games against Northwestern, Wisconsin, Iowa, Purdue, Oregon and Arizona State.
It has been amazing how close Illinois is to having five more wins, four of which would come in the Big Ten. In those four games, the Illini have lost either in the last possession or overtime. Had the contests swung in favor of the Orange and Blue, they would stand at 11-9 overall rather than the current record of 6-14.
Against Northwestern on Jan. 16, Illinois' Amber Moore hit a three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining to tie the score. During the ensuing play, the Illini were called for a foul on Northwestern's Karly Roser, who made the second of two free throws to give Northwestern a 59-58 victory.
On Jan. 8, Wisconsin earned a narrow 70-67 victory after the Illini led for most of the game, including at 57-51. Illinois missed a last-second three-pointer that would have tied the game.
Prior to that contest, the Illini were victimized by a pair of late three-pointers. On Jan. 5 against Iowa, the Hawkeyes hadn't made a three-pointer all game, but got a trey from Kamille Wahlin with 10.9 seconds left to tie the score and send it to overtime. The Illini, who didn't trail for the last 23 minutes of regulation, fell 69-62 in overtime.
On Jan. 2, No. 20 Purdue needed a buzzer-beating Courtney Moses three-point shot to down the Illini, 64-63 at the Assembly Hall. Freshman Ivory Crawford hit two free throws with 25 seconds left to give the Illini a 62-61 lead and senior Lydia McCully made 1 of 2 from the charity stripe to make it a 63-61 lead with seven seconds remaining and force the desperation three.
After playing back-and-forth basketball over an 11-minute stretch in the second half, Illinois last led the game at Oregon, 72-71, before the Ducks scored a pair of free-throws for a one-point lead with 1:51 left. Oregon never led by more than three over the last two minutes, while Illinois got within one on a tip-in by Karisma Penn with 28 seconds remaining.
In the final contest of the San Juan Shootout, the Illini and Sun Devils competed in a back-and-forth contest throughout the majority of the game. With Illinois leading by one and time winding down, Arizona State needed a turn-around jumper with the defense in its face to secure the win, 51-50.
Last season, Illinois had five losses in which the opponent made a shot in the final 10 seconds with the game tied for Illinois leading -- at Oakland (62-61), vs. Northwestern (69-66), vs. Penn State (67-65), at Northwestern (79-78) and vs. Michigan (58-55).
Moore Clutch From 3-Point Land
has connected from behind the three-point arc throughout her career with the Illini and is currently alone in sixth place in program history for made three-pointers with 107. Moore needs seven more to tie Allison Curtin
(1998-2001) for fifth all-time.
Illinois' Career 3-Point Field Goals Made List
Made 3PT FG Player Years
1. 214 Lori Bjork 2005-08
2. 194 Krista Reinking 1994-98
3. 168 Mandy Cunningham 1990-94
4. 133 Melissa Parker 1996-00
5. 114 Allison Curtin 1998-01
6. 107 Amber Moore 2009-
Your Newest 1,000-Point Club Member
Junior Karisma Penn
is quickly climbing up several career charts, including becoming the 24th player in Illinois women's basketball history with 1,000 or more career points with 20-point performance on Nov. 24 against RV/#18 Green Bay. The Shaker Heights, Ohio, native enters the Penn State contest with 1,233 career points, the 15th-most all-time, and also ranks 12th in Illini history in rebounds (665) and second in blocks (177).
Illinois' Career Scoring List
Points Player Years
1. 2,160 Jenna Smith 2006-10
2. 2,089 Ashley Berggren 1994-98
3. 1,984 Jonelle Polk 1983-87
4. 1,906 Lisa Robinson 1978-82
5. 1,639 Angelina Williams 2001-05
14. 1,322 Lynette Robinson 1978-82
15. 1,233 Karisma Penn 2009-
Illinois' Career Rebounding List
Rebs. Player Years
1. 1,217 Jenna Smith 2006-10
2. 1,014 Cindy Dallas 1998-04
3. 933 Jonelle Polk 1983-87
4. 900 Lacey Simpson 2005-10
5. 896 Lynnette Robinson 1978-82
11. 680 Alicia Sheeler 1996-99
12. 665 Karisma Penn 2009-
Illinois' Career Blocked Shots List
Blocks Player Years
1. 231 Jenna Smith 2006-10
2. 177 Karisma Penn 2009-
3. 163 Lacey Simpson 2005-10
McCully Moving Up Career Assists List
has been able to find an open teammate in a position to shoot throughout her time with the Orange and Blue and took over sole possession of fifth all-time in assists as a result, with a pair against No. 21/22 Penn State on Jan. 19, breaking a tie with Tajua Catchings in the process. McCully has since added four more at No. 10/12 Ohio State, improving to 348 for her career.
Illinois' Career Assists List
Assists Player Years
1. 550 Jill Estey 1989-93
2. 507 Jenny Johnson 1984-88
3. 451 Lacey Simpson 2005-10
4. 391 Michelle Vossen 1980-84
5. 348 Lydia McCully 2008-
Ivory Crawford Shining During Freshman Year
has started all but six games this season and has emerged as a force at the No. 2 guard spot. Against Purdue, Crawford made some big shots to keep the Illini right at the heels of the Boilermakers. Crawford made a pair of free throws to tie the score at 33, another two shots from the line to tie it at 37 and a big three from the corner to tie it at 42. After Purdue knotted it at 50-50, Crawford nailed another three to give the Illini the lead yet again. Crawford has scored in double-figures on six occassions this season, including a career-best 16 points against Illinois State and 14 more vs. Purdue. Against Northwestern, Crawford accounted for a team-high 10 rebounds, the first time eclipsing double-figures in boards on the year.
Block Party One Of The Best In School History
Illinois had 12 blocked shots in its victory over Memphis on Nov. 15 - tied for the second most in a game in school history. Adrienne GodBold
and Karisma Penn
each recorded four rejections during the contest while Kersten Magrum
and Taylor Tuck
added a pair of blocks each as well. The record is 13, set on Jan. 27, 2011 vs. Penn State.
REJECTIONS KEY DEFENSIVE SUCCESS
The Illini are second in the Big Ten in blocked shots at 5.1 per game with 101 through 20 contests, one of only two teams with more than 100 in the season already. Individually within the conference, Karisma Penn
is third in rejections as the junior averages 2.1 per contest - only 0.3 blocks a game behind conference leader Ashley Adams from Ohio State.
Magrum Fills Scoring Role
has been a force on the offensive end for the Illini this year. The redshirt sophomore is coming off a monster game in which she scored 17 points in the first half and made her first seven shots, including three 3-pointers. Magrum scored in double figures in seven straight games, raising her season scoring average from 11.0 to 12.2. That includes a 19-point output against Alabama A&M and an 18-point game against Purdue.
After starting 15 games and averaging 4.3 points per contest as a freshman in 2009, Magrum missed all but three games last season suffering from a stress fracture in her right foot. She has returned strong, scoring in double-figures in 11 games, including a career-best 24-point, 12-rebound performance against the Ducks on Nov. 18. Magrum also has a pair of double-doubles through the first 13 games, tallying 10 points and 10 rebounds against Memphis in additon to her numbers vs. Oregon. Magrum is also an 82.4 percent free-throw shooter.
Facing A Challenging Slate
Illini head coach Jolette Law
compiled one of the toughest schedules in the country according to the combined strength of Illinois' opponents. The Orange and Blue battle eight opponents appearing in or receiving votes for the current Associated Press top-25 weekly ranking. Illinois has the ninth-highest strength of schedule according to Real Time RPI, the most treacherous schedule of all 12 Big Ten teams. Among the top 25 are Illinois opponents Ohio State (9), Green Bay (12), Purdue (13), Penn State (18) and Nebraska (19) with South Carolina, Michigan, and California also receiving votes.
REAl-TIME RPI National Strength of Schedule
Here is a look at the toughest schedules in the nation according to Real-Time RPI
1. Tennessee .6952
2. Kansas State .6506
3. Texas A&M .6488
4. Villanova .6347
5. Connecticut .6332
6. Baylor .6298
7. USC .6283
8. UCLA .6188
9. Illinois .6146
10. Washington State .6144
BAREFOOT FOR A PURPOSE
Illinois head coach Jolette Law
coached in her bare feet during the Jan. 19 game with Penn State. She joined over 1,000 coaches from across the country going barefoot to raise awareness and funding to help put one million pairs of shoes on the feet of children through Samaritan's Feet.
Samaritan's Feet, based in Charlotte, N.C., is a humanitarian non-profit relief organization dedicated to taking a life-changing message of hope and equipping the feet of impoverished children in the United States and around the world with shoes. The focus is on children from Africa, South America, the Caribbean and the U.S.
The concept of asking coaches to coach barefoot began in 2007 when IUPUI coach Ron Hunter was asked to do so. Over 140,000 pairs of shoes and $30,000 were donated in just six weeks. This year, Law will be joining more than 1,000 coaches by going barefoot during a game to use her platform as coaches to help Samaritan's Feet reach the goal of distributing 10 million pairs of shoes to 10 million people in 10 years.
McGee Suffers Season-Ending Injury
Sophomore guard Centrese McGee
will miss the 2011-12 season after suffering an ACL tear in her right knee just prior to the start of the school year. The Calumet City native had surgery on Oct. 6 to correct the injury and will use the current season as a redshirt year as she recovers.
McGee started all 32 games for the Fighting Illini during her freshman campaign, averaging 5.7 points per game and ranking second on the team in rebounding at 5.3 per contest. She led all Big Ten freshmen in rebounding while ranking second among those first-year players in steals (1.2 per game). Following the season, she received the Coaches' Award at the team's annual banquet and was Illinois' representative on the Big Ten Sportsmanship Team.
Big Ten Tournament Tickets On Sale Now
All-session tickets for the 2012 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at the Illinois Athletics ticket office, Bankers Life Fieldhouse box office, Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis is the site of the tournament from March 1-4. All-session tickets are $50 if purchased on or before Jan. 31.