WBB Game 20 Notes: Illini Host Michigan Thursday Night
Jan. 27, 2010
Game 20 - Michigan (11-8, 3-6) at Illinois (11-8, 3-6)Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 // 7 p.m. // Assembly Hall (16,618) // Champaign, Ill.
On The Air
Double-Dipping: Senior All-American Jenna Smith leads the Big Ten and ranks second nationally with 13 double-doubles this season. She is already Illinois' career double-doubles record holder with 45.
Rare Company: Smith is one of just three players in the nation to rank in the top-20 in both scoring and rebounding. Smith is 13th nationally in rebounding (10.9 rpg) and 19th in scoring (19.3 ppg) to join Middle Tennessee State's Alysha Clark and Ohio State's Jantel Lavender in the top-20 of both rankings.
Queen of the Boards: Smith became Illinois' career rebounding leader Jan. 17 at Wisconsin. With a career total of 1,037 boards entering Thursday's game, Smith ranks as the eighth-best rebounder in Big Ten women's history and is the top male or female rebounder in Illinois history, ahead of both Cindy Dallas' women's record of 1,014 and James Augustine's men's record of 1,023.
Simpson Goes Over 1,000: Senior Lacey Simpson went over the 1,000 career point milestone last Thursday against Iowa, becoming the 23rd player in Illinois history to reach the 1,000-point barrier. She enters this Thursday's game with 1,015 points, which is good for 22nd on the UI all-time scoring list.
Illini Have Strong RPI: Illinois ranks 35th in the Jan. 26 CollegeRPI.com rankings and has the 13th toughest schedule in the nation according to the site. Thursday's opponent, Penn State, is 48th in the CollegeRPI.com list. In the most recent NCAA RPI ratings (Jan. 25), the Illini also came in at No. 35.
Block Party in the USA: Led by the frontcourt trio of Jenna Smith (1.6 bpg), Karisma Penn (1.7 bpg) and Lacey Simpson (1.4 bpg), Illinois ranks second in the Big Ten and 12th nationally in blocked shots at 5.8 per game. Smith is already the school's career blocks leader with 191 and Simpson ranks third with 145, while Penn is on pace to shatter the UI freshman blocks record of 39 that Smith and Simpson currently share. The Illini have swatted away 110 shots on the season compared to just 45 for their opponents.
Scouting the Wolverines
Michigan features a balanced offensive attack, with four starters averaging 9.2 points or more per game, led by Hicks' 13.1 ppg. Guard Dayeesha Hollins is one of the top freshmen in the Big Ten, averaging 12.6 points per game, while sophomore Carmen Reynolds is shooting 42 percent (39-92) for the year on three-pointers. As a team, the Wolverines average 6.63 three-pointers per game, ranking second in the Big Ten. They are led by Kevin Borseth, who is in third season at Michigan and his 28th season overall as a head coach.
The Illinois-Michigan Series: Illinois owns a 39-22 advantage over Michigan in the all-time series, including a 20-7 record in games played in Champaign. The Wolverines have won two consecutive games against the Illini, however, including a 55-52 victory at Assembly Hall on Feb. 24, 2008. Prior to the last two meetings, the Illini had won seven straight against UM. Illinois last beat Michigan in Champaign on Feb. 1, 2007.
Watch Out for Jenna
Join the Club: Smith is one of just four players nationally to average over 19 points and 10 rebounds per game. With averages of 19.3 ppg and 10.9 rpg, Smith joins Middle Tennessee State's Alysha Clark, Nebraska's Kelsey Griffin and Ohio State's Jantel Lavender as the only members of the 19-10 club.
Smith Among All-Time Big Ten Elite: With 1,912 career points and 1,037 career rebounds, Smith is just the fifth player in Big Ten history to reach both the 1,900-point and 1,000-rebound milestones. Only Laura Coenen (Minnesota), Jessica Davenport (Ohio State), Tracey Hall (Ohio State) and Denise Jackson (Indiana) have accomplished the feat since the official inception of Big Ten women's basketball in 1982-83.
Making Her Point: Smith's 24 points Sunday against Penn State moved her up to third on the UI career scoring list, passing Lisa Robinson (1,906 points from 1978-82). With 1,912 points, she is now 178 points shy of breaking Ashley Berggren's Illinois career scoring record of 2,089 points. With a minimum of 10 games left, Smith needs to average 17.8 points per game the rest of the way to become the school's all-time scoring leader.
Record Breaker: Smith is already the Illinois career leader in rebounds (1,037), blocked shots (191) and double-doubles (45), and has a good chance to top the scoring and field goals made list as well. Take a look at Illinois all-time records Smith has a chance to break this season:
Smith in the Illini Record Book Stat Total Rank Record Needs Rebounds 1,037 1 1,037 - Blocks 191 1 191 - Double-Doubles 45 1 45 - Points 1,912 3 2,089 178 FG Made 723 4 815 93 Extending Her Range: Smith has always had a soft touch from outside the paint, but this year she has stepped outside more than ever before with much success. The 6-3 center has made a career-high 15 three-pointers so far this season and is hitting a respectable 36.6 percent of her treys. In Big Ten play she has been even better, hitting threes at a 40.9 percent clip, which ranks fourth in the league.
Toe-ing the Line: One of the most overlooked parts of Smith's game has been her free throw shooting. Smith currently ranks second on the Illinois career free throws made list as she is now 435-for-546 (.797) for her career. Ashley Berggren is Illinois' all-time leader with 562 makes. Smith currently sits in sixth place on the UI all-time FT percentage list with her 79.7 clip.
Simpson Steals the Show
Simpson Does It All: Simpson one of just three players in Illinois history to amass over 1,000 points, 700 rebounds and 200 steals in a career. She joints Illini greats Tauja Catchings and Cindy Dallas on the elite list.
Assault on the Record Book: More evidence of Simpson's all-around prowess can be found in the Illinois record book. She already cracks the career top-3 in three different categories and is in the top-10 in four. She currently is the program's all-time steals leader (315), ranks third in blocked shots (145) and assists (399) and eighth in rebounds (792). She's also climbing up both the three point field goals list (12th) and scoring list (22).
Outside Improvement: Known primarily for her defense, Simpson worked hard on her offensive game in the offseason, particularly her outside shot. That work has paid off during her senior campaign, as she's shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from downtown. Simpson made just eight threes all of last season (she has 21 this year) and shot 39 percent overall and 22 percent from behind the arc in 2008-09.
Karisma Penn and Adrienne GodBold have made the biggest impact thus far. Penn, a 6-2 forward, is averaging 11.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game and has already picked-up three Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards, most recently on Jan. 4 after hitting the game-winning lay-up to top Wisconsin at the buzzer. She had her first career double-double on Dec. 31 against Penn State with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and has scored a career-high 21 points twice thus far, first on Nov. 22 over Bradley and most recently on Jan. 14 at Ohio State.
Godbold, meanwhile, is a 5-11 guard averaging 6.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. She had a game-winning three point play with 10 seconds left in the win over Minnesota on Jan. 10. Earlier in the season, she scored a career-high 15 points and had three steals in the Illini's win over Oakland on Dec. 19 and recently she had a solid game at Indiana with 11 points and five boards. She has also been key defensively for the Orange and Blue, taking some of the defensive load off of Lacey Simpson.
Illinois in the NCAA Rankings
Team Category Rank Stat Blocked Shots 12 5.8