Illini look for fifth straight win over the Gophers.
Feb. 1, 2012
Champaign, Ill. -
Game 23 - Illinois (7-15, 1-8) vs. Minnesota (12-11, 4-5)
Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012 // 7:30 CT // Assembly Hall (16,618) // Champaign, Ill.
Watch | Listen | Live Stats | Complete Game 23 Notes |
On The Air
Live on WDWS-AM 1400 and online at fightingillini.com (Dave Loane and Mike Koon)
Big Ten Network (Andrew Catalon & Debbie Antonelli)
Live Stats: Available on fightingillini.com
Illinois leads the all-time series, 32-23. Last meeting: Illinois 64, Minnesota 50; Dec. 30, 2010
Illinois: Jolette Law
, 65-89 overall and at Illinois (fifth season)
Minnesota: Pam Borton, 258-165 overall (14th season) and 189-119 at Minnesota (10th season)
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 seventh-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 Green Bay (10), Ohio State (11) Purdue (15), Nebraska (16), Penn State (19) and Texas Tech (25) with South Carolina, California and Michigan St. 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. The Orange and Blue are the only Big Ten team in the nation ranking in the top-10 in terms of 2011-12 strength of schedule (7), while the next-highest league squad stands at No. 16 (Iowa). Minnesota follows in third at 47 with Purdue (48) and Penn State (49) right behind.
Rank Team Strength of Sched.
1. Tennessee .6863
2. Kansas State .6429
3. Texas A&M .6378
4. Baylor .6368
5. Connecticut .6317
6. Villanova .6193
7. Illinois .6166
8. UCLA .6161
9. Rutgers .6159
10. Washington State .6135
11. St. John's .6090
12. USC .6084
13. Florida .6073
14 Stanford .6058
15. Notre Dame .6055
NOTES ON GAME TIMES
Note that Thursday's game is a 7:30 start and will be shown on the Big Ten Network. The Feb. 20 game with Northwestern is 6:30 also on the BTN while the Feb. 26 game with Wisconsin will be at 2 p.m.
BALANCE KEYS FIRST BIG TEN WIN
After being in all but one Big Ten game down the stretch, the Illini finally got a breakthrough conference win on Jan. 26 at Michigan State. The big difference was free throw shooting where the Illini made 7-of-8 attempts in the second half and 6-of-8 in overtime en route to a 71-62 overtime victory over the Spartans.
Six players took turns making big plays for the Illini.
--In the first half, the Illini were 5-of-7 from 3-point land as Amber Moore
and Ivory Crawford
each had two treys and Lana Rukavina
connected on one from the corner in the team's final possession.
--Crawford scored eight points and had an assist in a two-minute span keying a 12-2 first-half run.
-- Alexis Burke
scored seven straight points midway through the second half to bring the Fighting Illini back to even after a 21-2 Michigan State run.
-- Karisma Penn
, who had been struggling from the line, hit all four of her free throws down the stretch.
-- Adrienne GodBold
had the game-tying rebound and put-back at the end of regulation and the go-ahead score in the first possesion of overtime as part of a nine-point, 11-rebound night.
-- Lydia McCully
, who had been held scoreless all night, came through with five straight points in overtime, including perhaps the game's biggest basket, a three-pointer from the corner.
Illinois won at Michigan State for the first time since a 75-65 victory in East Lansing on Feb. 24, 2003.
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 plays two of the next three games against ranked opponents. The Illini have not defeated a ranked team since defeating No. 22 Ohio State, 64-58 in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on March 7, 2008.
Illinois began the second half of the Big Ten season on Sunday. The Illini have traditionally had better second halves to the conference season under Jolette Law
. In 2008, after going 3-6 in the first half of the conference season, the Illini went 5-4 in the second half and then won 3-of-4 games in the Big Ten Tournament. In 2009, Illinois followed up an 0-for-9 first half by going 5-4 in the second half and 2-1 in the Big Ten Tournament. In 2010, Illinois went 3-6 in the first half and 4-5 in the second half, going 1-1 in the conference tournament. Last season, the Illini went 0-8 in the second half, but advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament with a pair of upset victories.
returned to the line-up against Michigan State after missing three games with concussion symptoms. Magrum scored 20 points against Wisconsin on Jan. 8, including 17 in the first half, before leaving the contest with 11 minutes to play.
Magrum had eight points and three blocked shots in her first game back, and although she didn't start played 28 of a possible 45 minutes.
Magrum scored in double figures in seven straight games, raising her season scoring average from 10.9 to 11.8. 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 with a stress fracture in her right foot. She had 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 81.6 percent free-throw shooter.
PLAYERS ON THE RISE
recorded her first double-double of her young career with 12 points and 10 rebounds vs. Nebraska on Sunday. Crawford had a successful week as a whole with seven assists, four steals, four blocks and 16 rebounds in games against the Cornhuskers and Michigan State.
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 has struggled from the free-throw line, GodBold has been solid from the stripe, making 13-of-16 free-throw attempts in those two games. GodBold nearly recorded her first career double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds against Michigan 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 18 of the 22 games this season and multiple threes in 12 contests.
MORE ON MINNESOTA
Illinois has four straight victories against Minnesota and has won six of its last eight with the Gophers overall.
Illinois led wire-to-wire the last time these teams met -- on Dec. 30, 2010. The Illini won the game 64-50 behind 20 points and 16 rebounds from Karisma Penn and 18 points from Lydia McCully. The Gophers were 0-for-10 from the 3-point arc.
Minnesota is coming off a 76-65 victory over ninth-ranked Ohio State. The Gophers victory was one of three suprises on the weekend with Iowa all over Purdue 59-42 in Iowa City and Michigan State edging Penn State in East Lansing 83-77.
The Gophers have perhaps the top freshmen in the conference in Rachel Banham, who has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Year five times and has scored in double figures in 19 of team's 23 games.
Illinois has lost five of its Big Ten games by a combined 18 points, one of which needed overtime. Most recently, the Illini lost to preseason conference favorite Penn State, 71-65, in a game where the Illini led by as many as eight in the first half.
It has been amazing how close Illinois is to having five more wins, four of which would come in the Big Ten. In those five 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 12-10 overall rather than the current record of 7-15.
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 or Illinois leading - at Oakland (62-61), vs. Northwestern (69-66), vs. Penn State (67-65), at Northwestern (79-78) and vs. Michigan (58-55).
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.
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. 350 Lydia McCully 2008-
Moore Clutch From 3-Point Land
Amber Moore 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 109. Moore needs five 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. 109 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 Minnesota contest with 1,242 career points, the 15th-most all-time, and also ranks 12th in Illini history in rebounds (676) and second in blocks (181).
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. 1,242 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. 676 Karisma Penn 2009-
Illinois' Career Blocked Shots List
Blocks Player Years
1. 231 Jenna Smith 2006-10
2. 181 Karisma Penn 2009-
3. 163 Lacey Simpson 2005-10
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 eight 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. She had her first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds vs. Nebraska.
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 5.3 per game with 116 through 22 contests. Individually within the conference, Karisma Penn
is third in rejections as the junior averages 2.1 per contest.
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.
Law Locks Up Two For 2012-13
Illinois head coach Jolette Law
has announced the signing of 6-0 guard Mckenzie Piper (Iowa City, Iowa/Iowa City West H.S.) and 6-3 forward Nia Moore (Bolingbrook, Ill./H.S.) as members of the 2012-13 Illini class.
Piper committed to Illinois in June following Elite Camp after considering Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa State and Iowa among others. Piper averaged 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and shot 41 percent from the field in helping Iowa City West to the championship game of the Class 4A state tournament last season. The three-star recruit also played for All Iowa Attack and is ranked as the 59th best guard in the class by HoopGurlz.
Moore committed to Illinois in October after also considering Notre Dame, Auburn and Wisconsin. She is the second player from the highly successful Bolingbrook High School program to join the Illini, along with current freshmen Taylor Tuck. Moore was the starting center for the 2011 IHSA Class 4A champions, who won the last three state titles in the largest class in Illinois. Moore is a three-star recruit according to HoopGurlz and transferred to Bolingbrook after playing her first two years at Morgan Park High School. HoopGurlz ranks her as the 82nd best forward in the class nationally and evaluates her as a "shot blocker/changer."