Women's Basketball Game Notes vs. #10/10 Ohio State
Game 25 - Illinois (8-16, 2-9) vs. #10/10 Ohio State (21-2, 8-2)Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 // 7 p.m. CT // Assembly Hall (16,618) // Champaign, Ill.
On The AirRadio: Live on WDWS-AM 1400 and online at fightingillini.com (Dave Loane and Mike Koon)
TV: BTN.com (Heather Pink, Christine Gluckleder and Pete Rizzo) Live Stats: Available on fightingillini.com
The SeriesOhio State leads the all-time series, 44-17. Last meeting: #10/12 Ohio State 96, Illinois 84; Jan. 22, 2012
The CoachesIllinois: Jolette Law, 66-90 overall and at Illinois (fifth season)
Ohio State: Jim Foster, 761-289 overall (34th season) and 257-64 at Ohio State (10th season)
ILLINOIS HOSTING "PLAY 4KAY PINK GAME"The University of Illinois joins the women's basketball family across the country in hosting the annual "Play 4Kay Pink Game" on Thursday, Feb. 9. Known as the WBCA Pink Zone game since its inception in 2007, the initiative is being rebranded this year to keep the story and legacy of Kay Yow at the forefront. The mission of the event is "a nation of coaches raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond."
Illinois will wear pink uniforms for the 7 p.m. game with 10th-ranked Ohio State. Fans who wear pink will be admitted for free and will have the chance to win one of five pairs of pink game shorts or a Jolette Law autographed basketball. In addition, breast cancer warriors and their families are invited to participate in the Tunnel of Hope prior to the game when the Illini take to the floor. Anyone wishing to participate should call Shanna Diller in the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics marketing office at 217-244-0062.
The Kay Yow Cancer Fund honors the memory of the legendary North Carolina State coach who won more than 700 games and waged a public battle against breast cancer for the final 22 years of her life before passing away on Jan. 24, 2009. For more information on the Play 4Kay initiative visit www.kayyow.com/Play4Kay
PENN SHINES AT LAST YEAR'S "PINK GAME" Last year, Illinois hosted Michigan State for its Pink Game and Karisma Penn came up big in the contest. Penn scored 21 of her career-high 33 points in the second half. Penn hit 14-of-21 from the field (67 percent) and 5-for-7 from the free-throw line.
ILLINI HOPE FOR REPEAT OF OFFENSIVE OUTPUT In the first meeting between the Illini and Buckeyes, the Illini scored 84 points, the most in the Jolette Law era against a Big Ten team. The game was tied at 76-76 with 5:12 left as Illinois rallied from a 12-point second half deficit. Karisma Penn scored 23 points, pacing four Illinois players in double figures.
GodBold On A Heavenly RollOne of the major stories in the recent games has been the emergence of junior Adrienne GodBold as an offensive force.
In the last six games, GodBold has scored 95 of her season's 195 points and has raised her season average from 5.9 points to 8.5 points per game. GodBold had a career-best 25 points vs. Purdue on Feb. 5, making 7 of 10 field goals, including 5 of 6 from the three-point arc. Adding an 8 for 9 performance against Minnesota on Feb. 2 gives GodBold a 78.9 perent field-goal percentage in her last two games.
She has scored at least 18 points in four of the last six games with 19 vs. Penn State, 18 points against Ohio State and Minnesota and 25 vs. Purdue. In one of the games in between, GodBold had nine points and 11 rebounds in the victory at Michigan State.
GodBold's numbers in the last six games are a 61.1 percent field-goal percentage (33-54), 58.3 percent from the three-point arc (7-12), 75.8 percent from the free-throw line (22-29), 95 points (15.8 pg), 40 rebounds (6.7 pg), 11 assists, 6 blocks, and 11 steals.
QUICK HITS In addition to Adrienne GodBold, Alexis Burke is playing some her best basketball of her career. Burke has scored in double figures in three of her last four games with 12 points at Michigan State, 16 vs. Minnesota and 17 at Purdue.
Illinois continued its recent dominance of Minnesota with a 72-67 victory over the Gophers on Feb. 2. The Illini have now won five straight against Minnesota and seven of its last nine against the Gophers.
Illinois has had its troubles from the line this year, but that has turned around in recent games. In the last four contests, the Illini are shooting 72.4 percent from the free-throw line (50-69), including 78.6 (22-28) in the last five minutes of games. Karisma Penn has also come through down the stretch. In the last five minutes of the last four games, Penn is 7-for-9 from the free-throw line.
Following the game against Ohio State, the Illini have four games remaining in the regular season. Those teams (Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern and Wisconsin) are a combined 38-57 overall and 11-32 in the Big Ten.
After an array of last-second heartbreaks, the Illini have come out on the positive end of two straight down-to-the-wire games. Both victories over Michigan State and Minnesota followed a similar formula, build a big lead and then make big plays at the end.
Illinois led Michigan State 35-21 at halftime, withstood a 21-2 Spartan run at the start of the second half, and made big plays down the stretch and in overtime to post a 71-62 victory. Against Minnesota, the Illini scored the first five points of the second half to take a 38-23 lead only to see Minnesota come back to take the lead. After exchanging leads down the stretch, Illinois broke a 67-67 tie by scoring the final five points of the game.
MORE ON OHIO STATE Ohio State once again finds itself inside the top 10 for a game against Illinois. The Illini will be looking for its first victory against a top-10 team since Jan. 26, 2003, a 94-80 victory over No. 10 Minnesota. It would also be Illinois first win against a ranked opponent since March 7, 2008, a 64-58 win over Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.
After winning the Big Ten for six straight years from 2005-10, Ohio State is trying to regain its grip atop the conference. Four teams are within one game of first with just three weeks remaining in the season and the Buckeyes just 1/2 game out at 8-2. A tilt against first-place Purdue looms on Sunday in Columbus.
Ohio State boasts the first and third leading scorers in the conference in Tayler Hill (21.5) and Samantha Prahalis (19.6). The duo had huge games against Illinois in the first meeting with Prahalis scoring 28 points and Hill 26. With the game tied 76, Hill hit a three-pointer and Prahalis two straight treys in the next two possesions to extend the lead to 85-77.
OPPONENTS IN THE RANKINGSA total of eight Illinois opponents appear in or are receiving votes in the current Associated Press top 25. Among the top 25 are Illinois opponents Green Bay (9), Ohio State (10), Nebraska (15), Purdue (19), Penn State (21) and South Carolina (24) with California and Texas Tech also receiving votes. Illinois also has the seventh-highest strength of schedule according to Real Time RPI, tops of all 12 Big Ten teams.
REAl-TIME RPI National Strength of ScheduleHere is a look at the toughest schedules in the nation according to Real-Time RPI. The Illini are the only Big Ten team in the nation ranking in the top-10 in terms of 2011-12 strength of schedule (9), while the next-highest league squad stands at No. 19 (Wisconsin) followed by Iowa (20) and Purdue (43).
Rank Team Strength of Sched. 1. Tennessee 0.6769 2. Kansas State 0.6432 3. Texas A&M 0.6369 4. Baylor 0.6362 5. Connecticut 0.6252 6. Rutgers 0.6195 7. Illinois 0.6147 8. Villanova 0.6131 9. Oklahoma 0.6106 10. Georgia Tech 0.6053 11. UCLA 0.6046 12. Notre Dame 0.6044 13. Stanford 0.6041 14. Washington State 0.6035 15. Florida 0.6030
NOTES ON GAME TIMESThe Feb. 20 game with Northwestern is a 6:30 p.m. contest, on the BTN, while the Feb. 26 match-up with Wisconsin will begin at 2 p.m.
BALANCE KEYS FIRST BIG TEN WINAfter 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.
BENCHMARK NUMBERS 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.
Building momentumThe 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. This year, Illinois went 1-7 in the first half of the season and are 1-2 in the second half.
MAGRUM IN AND OUT OF THE LINE-UPKersten Magrum 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.
She missed the Minnesota and Purdue games after symptoms returned and is hopeful to return against Ohio State.
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.
CRAWFORD PROVIDES SCORING PUNCH Ivory Crawford recorded her first double-double of her young career with 12 points and 10 rebounds vs. Nebraska on Jan. 29. 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.
McCully Moving Up Career Assists ListLydia McCully 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 added six more during the recent win over Minnesota to reach 358 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. 358 Lydia McCully 2008-
Your Newest 1,000-Point Club MemberJunior 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 Ohio State contest with 1,261 career points, the 15th-most all-time, and also ranks 10th in Illini history in rebounds (687) and second in blocks (186).
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. 1,261 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 -- 9. 779 Ashley Berggren 1994-98 10. 687 Karisma Penn 2009-
Illinois' Career Blocked Shots List
Blocks Player Years 1. 231 Jenna Smith 2006-10 2. 186 Karisma Penn 2009- 3. 163 Lacey Simpson 2005-10
Moore Clutch From 3-Point LandAmber Moore is currently alone in sixth place in program history for made three-pointers with 110. Moore needs 4 more to tie Allison Curtin (1998-2001) for fifth all-time. She has at least one three-pointer in 19 of the 24 games this season and multiple threes in 12 contests.
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. 110 Amber Moore 2009-
Close But...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).
Block Party One Of The Best In School HistoryIllinois 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 SUCCESSThe Illini are second in the Big Ten in blocked shots at 5.3 per game with 126 through 24 contests. Individually within the conference, Karisma Penn is third in rejections as the junior averages 2.1 per contest.
Barefoot For A PurposeIllinois 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.