Women's Basketball
Game 24 Notes & Links: Illinois vs. Wisconsin

 
Alexis Smith has been strong with the ball lately, totaling 35 assists and only 12 turnovers in the last five games.
Alexis Smith has been strong with the ball lately, totaling 35 assists and only 12 turnovers in the last five games.
 

Feb. 15, 2013

 Game 24: Illinois (14-9, 7-4) vs. Wisconsin (11-14, 3-9)
 When Monday, Feb. 18, 2013 | 6:30 p.m. CT
 Location Champaign, Ill. | Assembly Hall (16,618)
 Tickets $5 | Call 1-866-ILLINI-1 or purchase at the door
 TV Big Ten Network | BTN2Go.com (Lisa Byington, play-by-play; LaChina Robinson, analyst; Kara Lentz, sideline)
 Radio WDWS AM-1400 (Champaign-Urbana), WDAN AM-1490 (Danville) & WFMB AM-1450 (Springfield) | Listen
 Live Stats Gametracker | Mobile Stats
 Printable Game Notes Illinois | Wisconsin | Big Ten
 Season Stats Illinois | Wisconsin | Big Ten
 Series History Illinois leads 33-31
 Last Meeting Illinois 64, Wisconsin 56 (Feb. 3, 2013, in Madison, Wis.)
 Streak Won 1
 Social Media @IlliniWBB   |  #Illini   |  Facebook | YouTube

 Illinois Probable Starters
Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG Note
G 23 Alexis Smith 5-9 So. 7.3 2.6 3rd in B1G in assists per game (5.6)
G 42 Amber Moore 5-11 Jr. 13.2 4.4 Has made 17-of-37 (.459) 3-pointers in last 5 games
G 22 Ivory Crawford 5-10 So. 13.1 4.6 4th in B1G in steals per game
G 24 Adrienne Godbold 5-11 Sr. 18.3 8.0 3rd in scoring (19.0), 2nd in steals (3.5) in B1G games
F 00 Karisma Penn 6-2 Sr. 18.6 10.0 Leads B1G in steals (3.8) in conference games

Illinois is...
...7-4 in the Big Ten for the 1st time since 2000-01
...looking for its third-straight home win
...looking for its 2nd sweep of a Big Ten foe
...34 steals away from breaking the school record
...ranked No. 11 nationally in steals per game (12.4)
...ranked No. 27 nationally in points per game (72.1)
...ranked No. 30 nationally in turnover margin (+4.61)
...9-0 when opponent shoots under 40 percent FGs
...8-0 when out-rebounding its opponent
...11-2 when scoring 70+ points
...13-1 when leading at halftime
...11-2 when shooting more FTs than its opponent
...8-1 when Karisma Penn scores 20+ points
...10-1 when Amber Moore makes 3+ three-pointers

Quick Hits
• Illini Seek Sweep of Badgers:
For the third time this season, Illinois will face an opponent twice within 15 days as it hosts Wisconsin on Monday. The Illini beat the Badgers 64-56 at the Kohl Center on Feb. 3 in what was UI's third game in seven days. This time, the game against Wisconsin kicks off a brutal stretch of two games in three days and three in six days as Illinois travels to Penn State on Wednesday then hosts Indiana on Saturday. The Illini have won four of their last five games and are 7-3 in their last 10.

• Home Cooking Heats Up: The Illini opened the Big Ten season 0-3 at home but have won their last two home games with victories over No. 24 Iowa and Minnesota. It marks only the second time this season that Illinois has recorded back-to-back home wins.

• Big Ten Race Heats Up: With teams having four or five games left in the Big Ten season, Illinois stands tied for fourth place in the conference standings with Michigan and Michigan State, but only 1.5 games out of second. The Illini have a chance to make a late run, with three of their remaining five games at home and two of those against teams they have already beaten this season. Illinois is looking for its second season sweep of the year Monday, as they already have won both games against Minnesota. UI also holds tiebreakers over Nebraska and Iowa among its one-play opponents.

• Consistency Key for Illini: Illinois has used only three different starting lineups this season, as Karisma Penn, Ivory Crawford, Amber Moore and Alexis Smith have each started all 23 games. The swing spot has been the Illini's fourth guard or second forward position, where Adrienne Godbold has started the last 12 games. Kersten Magrum started seven games before being medically disqualified for her career after suffering her fourth concussion, and Mckenzie Piper started four games in place of Magrum early in the season.

• Illini Named espnW Team of the Week: The Orange and Blue were named espnW's national team of the week on Feb. 4 after winning three games in seven days the week prior. Illinois pulled out a 91-86 victory at Minnesota on Jan. 28, topped No. 24 Iowa at home on Jan. 31 and won at Wisconsin on Feb. 3.

• Illini Cool Off After Hot Streak: After making 29 three-pointers in its previous three games - including two 11-trey efforts, the school record for a single game - Illinois came back to earth with 4-of-23 and 5-of-18 efforts from long range in its last two games. The Illini broke that school record on Jan. 28 at Minnesota before tying it against No. 24 Iowa on Jan. 31. Illinois also totaled 23 assists against the Gophers in Minneapolis, UI's most since tallying 28 against Cal Poly on Nov. 22, 2010.

• Turnaround in Progress: With 14 wins so far this season, the Illini have surpassed the squad's win totals from the past two seasons (11, 2011-12; 9, 2010-11). Through 23 games last season, the Illini were 8-15 overall, 2-8 in the Big Ten. Two years ago, Illinois was 7-16 overall, 2-8 in the Big Ten.

• Road Warriors: Illinois lost its first Big Ten road game of the season on Feb. 7, snapping a five-game road winning streak in conference play. That marked the first time an Illinois team has ever won five straight Big Ten games in one season and tied the school record for road wins in a conference campaign. The last time the Orange and Blue had won five straight Big Ten road games was across the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons. Overall, the Orange and Blue are 6-2 this season in true road games.

• Illini Put Foes Under Pressure: Illinois has racheted up the defensive pressure since Adrienne Godbold's return, forcing six more turnovers this season than in all of last year (542-536). The Illini have forced 301 turnovers in their last 12 games (25.1 per game), and 275 in 11 Big Ten games (25.0 pg). The Illini lead the Big Ten and rank 11th nationally in steals per game (12.4) and also lead the league with 14.6 steals per game during conference play. The Illini recorded 24 steals, the most in a Big Ten game in school history, at Northwestern on Jan 10 and had 19 at Wisconsin on Feb. 3. Illinois has recorded double-digit steals in 16 of 23 games and nine of the last 11.

• Stealing the Spotlight: Three Illini players rank in the top six in steals per game in conference play, and four are in the top 12. Karisma Penn leads the Big Ten in league games (3.8 spg), Adrienne Godbold is second (3.5 spg), Ivory Crawford is sixth (2.6 spg) and Alexis Smith is 12th (2.1 spg).

• Illini `Trey-mendous' from Deep: Illinois radio play-by-play man Dave Loane has been using his signature "trey-mendous" call quite a bit this season, as the Fighting Illini rank third in the Big Ten in three-pointers made per game (6.1) and have made 10 or more treys four times this season, including 11 in consecutive games on Jan. 28 and 31. The Orange and Blue drained 11 threes in the season-opener against Evansville, tying the second-most in a game in school history and the most by an Illinois team in nearly nine years. The Illini broke the school record for threes in a Big Ten game with 11 at Minnesota on Jan. 28 and followed that up with 11 against No. 24 Iowa on Jan. 31. Illinois also hit 10 treys against Illinois State on Dec. 21.

• Illini Relish Underdog Role: Illinois has won three of its last four games against ranked opponents after beating AP-ranked No. 6 Georgia on Dec. 28, Ohio State, which was No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, on Jan. 6 and No. 24 Iowa on Jan. 31. The loss was a 67-66 overtime thriller to No. 14 Purdue on Jan. 2. Illinois is 43-168 all-time against AP-ranked opponents and 30-68 at home.

• Illinois Gets It Done Down Low: Despite usually being out-sized, the Illini have held their own in the paint lately, outscoring their last 12 foes 358-327 in the post, an average of 29.8-27.3 per game. Illinois out-paced No. 6 Georgia 32-18, outscored No. 14 Purdue 38-28, bested Michigan 44-32 and topped Minnesota 34-28 (Feb. 10).

• RPI On Solid Footing: The Illini's RPI, according to WarrenNolan.com, stands at No. 54 and the Orange and Blue have faced one of the top schedules in the country, as Illinois' slate is rated No. 28. Six of the Illini's Big Ten foes have RPI figures in the top 40, while Minnesota is No. 60 and Ohio State is No. 77. Illinois is 7-7 against teams ranked in the top 100 of the RPI, including wins over No. 17 Georgia and No. 20 Nebraska.

• Offense Thrives Under Bollant: The Illini rank second in the Big Ten and 27th nationally in scoring, averaging 72.1 points per game. Illinois also ranks second in scoring in conference games (70.8 ppg), 3.1 points ahead of third-place Minnesota. Illinois has topped 90 points twice this year, marking the first season with two games over 90 since 2002-03. Through 23 games, the Orange and Blue are averaging 8.0 ppg more than last season's first 23 games scoring average of 64.1. Illinois has picked it up eve more lately, with its 374 points in the last five games marking the Illini's most in five straight Big Ten games since scoring 397 against Ohio State, Minnesota, Purdue, Iowa and Penn State in 2003.

• GodBold Shows She Was UI's Missing Piece: After missing the first semester for academic reasons, senior guard Adrienne Godbold has been a force. She poured in a career-high 28 points against Michigan State on Jan. 13, scored 21 against Northwestern on Jan. 20, added 18 at Minnesota on Jan. 28 and had 17 against No. 24 Iowa on Jan. 31. She has scored in double digits in all 12 games she has played, including five 20-point efforts. Prior to this season, GodBold had only three 20-point games in her career. In Big Ten play, GodBold ranks fourth in the league with 19.0 points per game.

• Penn Does It All: Senior forward Karisma Penn leads the Big Ten in blocked shots, ranks second in rebounding, third in steals, and fifth in scoring and field-goal percentage, making her the only player in the conference to rank in the top five in all five categories. A career 13.9 ppg scorer, Penn is up to 18.6 ppg so far this year.

• Moore is Better: Junior guard Amber Moore also has increased her productivity under first-year head coach Matt Bollant, averaging 13.2 points per game after entering the season with a career average of 9.2 ppg. Moore is averaging 2.7 three-point field goals per game, third-best in the Big Ten, and Illinois is 10-1 when she makes three or more triples in a game. Moore also ranks third in the league in free-throw percentage (.914) and second in minutes played (36.8 mpg), and is among conference leaders in scoring (15th) and three-point field-goal percentage (11th, .368).

Scouting The Badgers
Illinois appears to have snuffed out a midseason rally by the Badgers with its 64-56 win at the Kohl Center on Feb. 3 as that loss started a stretch where Wisconsin has lost three of its last four with the only win against last-place Indiana. The Badgers enter Monday's game 11-14 overall, 3-9 in Big Ten play.

• Wisconsin shocked the world of women's basketball with a 63-61 win over Penn State on Jan. 31 but has had little else to celebrate during Big Ten play, with only home victories over Ohio State and Indiana in the win column. The Badgers are 1-9 on the road this season and 0-5 in Big Ten road games.

• Wisconsin has seen its RPI figure tumble in recent weeks, dropping 22 spots from where it stood before the first meeting with the Illini to No. 96. UW has the 31st-best schedule in the nation.

• In Big Ten games, Wisconsin ranks 11th in scoring offense (55.4 ppg) but stays in games with its defense, ranking fifth in the league in scoring D (62.8 ppg). The Badgers rank ninth in turnover margin, 10th in three-point field goal percentage, 11th in rebounding margin, and 12th in three-point defense.

• Junior Morgan Paige ranks seventh in the Big Ten in scoring (16.4 ppg) in conference games, while junior Cassie Rochel is fourth in rebounding (9.1 rpg). Sophomore Jackie Gulczynski is eighth in scoring (15.3 ppg), but there isn't another Badger in the top 30. Rochel leads the league in field-goal percentage (.553), senior Tiera Stephen is fifth in steals (2.9 spg) and seventh in assists (4.9 apg).

Wisconsin Series History
Illinois leads the all-time series with the Badgers by a 33-31 margin and holds a 19-9 advantage in games played in Champaign. Illinois snapped a two-game skid against the Badgers with its win in Madison on Feb. 3, but Wisconsin has won four of the last six and six of the last nine meetings. The teams have split the last 10 meetings in Champaign dating back to 2000.

Last Meeting With the Badgers
Illinois hit 6-of-7 free throws down the stretch and held Wisconsin without a field goal in the game's final 5:49 to pull out a 64-56 win at the Kohl Center on Feb. 3. The win marked the first time the Illini have ever won five consecutive Big Ten road games in the same season, was Illinois' third straight victory - all in the last seven days - and its sixth in the last eight games. The Illini improve their record to 13-8 overall, 6-3 in the Big Ten and tied for third place. The victory tied the school record for Big Ten road wins (five) and marked Illinois' first win in Madison since 2007. Adrienne Godbold led the Illini with 18 points - 14 in the first half - and grabbed 13 rebounds, including six on the offensive end. She also had six steals, one more than the entire Wisconsin team. Karisma Penn added 15 points - 10 in the second half - six rebounds and five steals, and Amber Moore put in 14. Wisconsin's Morgan Paige scored a game-high 23 but Illinois held her to only five points on 0-of-3 shooting in the second half.

HEADLINES