Game 24 Notes & Links: Illinois vs. Wisconsin
Feb. 15, 2013
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
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
Last Meeting With the Badgers