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    Women's Basketball Game Notes vs. Northwestern



    Feb. 18, 2012

    Game 28 - Illinois (10-17, 4-10) vs. Northwestern (14-12, 4-9)

    Monday, Feb. 20, 2012 // 6:30 p.m. CT // Assembly Hall (16,618) // Champaign, Ill.

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    On The Air

    Radio: Live on fightingillini.com and on WDWS AM-1400 (Dave Loane and Mike Koon) TV: Big Ten Network (Jenn Hildreth and Debbie Antonelli) Live Stats: Available on fightingillini.com

    The Series

    Illinois leads the all-time series, 34-31. Last meeting: Northwestern 59, Illinois 58; Jan.16, 2012

    The Coaches

    Illinois: Jolette Law, 68-91 overall and at Illinois (fifth season)
    Northwestern: Joe McKeown, 567-238 overall (26th season) and 58-64 at Northwestern (fourth season)

    ILLINI TO HONOR SENIORS MONDAY

    Monday's game with Northwestern is final for four seniors, Macie Blinn, Lydia McCully, Eboni Mitchell and Lana Rukavina.
    • Blinn has started 23 games in her Illini career and ranks 15th on the school's all-time three-point list. She hit five treys and scored a career best 22 points in a victory over Bradley on Nov. 19, 2010 and has been named Academic All-Big Ten. She is majoring in Recreation, Sport & Tourism.
    • McCully is a four-year starter, the majority of which has come at point guard, she has made her mark in setting up baskets, ranking fifth in the Big Ten in assists in 2011 and is fifth in career assists in school history. She also earned the Ralf Woods Free Throw Excellence Award at last year's banquet. She has finished a degree in communication and is pursing a second degree in human development.
    • Mitchell started the first 18 games of the 2010-11 season, scoring a career best 11 points at South Carolina and tallying six points in the upset of Michigan at last year's Big Ten Tournament. She is majoring in sport management.
    • Rukavina has started 34 games in her Illini career, including all 32 last year. She hit a three three-pointers in the upset of Wisconsin at last year's Big Ten Tournament and scored a career-best 22 points in a win at Northwestern last season. She was named the Most Improved Player by the coaching staff in 2011. Rukavina is majoring in psychology.

    PENN EARNS BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK

    Illinois forward Karisma Penn has been named co-Big Ten Player of the Week. Penn shares the honor with Samantha Logic from Iowa. Penn helped Illinois to wins over No. 10 Ohio State and Indiana, while averaging 17.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 blocks, 4.0 steals and 3.0 assists on the week. She poured in 23 points and chipped in seven rebounds, six blocks and six steals in the win over the Hoosiers, playing all 40 minutes and 11 points, five rebounds, two blocks and two steals in the upset of Ohio State. This is Penn's fourth career Big Ten Player of the Week honor.

    TOURNAMENT SEEDS AT STAKE

    Illinois and Northwestern are separated by just 1/2 game heading into Monday's game with just a week remaining in the regular season. The Illini will be either the 9, 10, or 11 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Wins over Northwestern and Wisconsin would likely mean the 9 seed for the Illini. Wisconsin is tied with Northwestern at 4-9 in the conference. Wisconsin plays at Nebraska and Indiana before hosting Illinois. Northwestern has home contests with Iowa and Michigan State left on the schedule.

    • Northwestern defeated Illinois, 59-58 in Evanston on Jan. 16 on two free throws by Karly Roser.

    MORE ON NORTHWESTERN

    The Wildcats are trying to secure at least an at-large bid into the post-season, entering Monday's game with a 14-12 overall record.
    • Northwestern is coming off a 63-51 victory at No. 15 Nebraska. The Wildcats were led by Danielle Diamant, who had 19 points and eight rebounds and Kendall Hackney, who tallied 17 points and five boards. Diamant had missed Northwestern's game against Penn State after suffering concussion symptoms. In that game, Northwestern held the Cornhuskers to 24.2 percent from the field in the second half and 12.5 percent (2-16) from three-point range.
    • Northwestern has not won two games in a row during the Big Ten season.

    PENN, ILLINI ClOSING IN ON SEASON BLOCKS MARK

    Karisma Penn's 59 blocks this season rank fourth on the single-season blocks in school history. her 78 blocks last year are the record. As a team, the Illini have 143 blocks on the year, which is the fifth most in school history.

    Illinois' Individual Single-Season Blocks List

     	Blocks	Player 	Year
    1.	78	Karisma Penn	2010-11
    2.	70	Jenna Smith	2009-10
    3.	63	Jenna Smith	2008-09
    4.	59	Karisma Penn	2011-12
    	59	Jenna Smith	2007-08
    6.	57	Karisma Penn	2009-10
    	57	Kendra Gantt	1982-83
    8.	51	Casey Leonhardt	1997-98
    9.	50	Jonelle Polk	1986-87
    10.	45	Jonelle Polk	1984-85
    

    Illinois' Single-Seson Team Blocks List

     	Blocks	Year	Games
    1,	206	2009-10	34 games
    2.	156	2007-08	35 games
    3.	151	2006-07	31 games
    4.	146	2010-11	32 games
    5.	143	2011-12	27 games
    

    QUICK HITS

    Alexis Burke is playing some of the best basketball of her career. Burke has scored in double figures in five of her last seven games with 12 points at Michigan State, 16 vs. Minnesota, 17 at Purdue, 15 vs. Ohio State and 10 vs. Indiana. She has raised her average from 5.7 to 7.1 points per game in the process.
    Karisma Penn played all 40 minutes victories over Ohio State and Indiana. In the previous four games, Penn had averaged 24.5 minutes per game dealing with foul issues. Then against Minnesota, Penn got two early fouls and played just 26 minutes.
    • In games Illinois wins, the Illini give up an average of 57.7 points and are shooting 44.4 percent from the field. In games they lose, they have given up 72.1 points on average and are shooting just 38.8 percent.

    Real-Time RPI National Strength of Schedule

    Here 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-15 in terms of 2011-12 strength of schedule (14), while the next-highest league squad stands at No. 18 (Wisconsin) followed by Iowa (31), Purdue (32) and Michigan (38).
    Rank	Team		Strength of Sched.
    1.	Tennessee		0.6701
    2.	Kansas State	0.6392
    3.	Texas A&M		0.6351
    4.	Connecticut	0.6328
    5.	Baylor		0.6278
    6.	UCLA		0.6161
    7.	Rutgers		0.6151
    8.	Oklahoma		0.6120
    9.	Villanova		0.6116
    10.	USC		0.6069
    11.	Stanford		0.6023
    12.	St. John's		0.6003
    13.	Georgia Tech	0.5986
    14.	Illinois		0.5977
    15.	Florida		0.5976
    

    ILLINOIS HAVE TURNED CLOSE GAMES INTO WINS

    Eight of the 14 Illinois games in conference play have come down to the final minute. The Illini lost the first four, but have won the last four.

    The wins...
    Illinois' last two games have been won by shots in the final seconds. The Illini battled back from 12 points down in the second half to defeat No. 10 Ohio State. Alexis Burke drove in for the game-winning basket with 3.2 seconds remaining.

    Against Indiana, the Illini led by eight points with nine minutes to play only to see the Hoosiers go ahead by four points. Illinois needed scores on the final two possessions to win, 61-60. First Adrienne GodBold put in a rebound basket, was fouled and converted a free throw with 43 seconds remaining, then Lydia McCully scored on a rebound basket with 0.6 seconds remaning for the win.

    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.

    The losses...
    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).

    More on the Ohio State Victory

    • The Illini posted its first victory against a top-10 team since Jan. 26, 2003, a 94-80 victory over No. 10 Minnesota. It was also Illinois' first win vs. a ranked opponent since March 7, 2008, a 64-58 victory over Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.
    Alexis Burke drove in for the game-winning shot with 3.2 seconds remaining.
    • The Illini trailed by as many as 12 points at 56-44 with just under nine minutes remaining in the game.
    • Illinois allowed just six free-throw attempts by Ohio State and out-rebounded the Buckeyes 36-28, including a 16-7 advantage in offensive rebounds.
    • The Illini trailed 63-58 late, but scored six straight points to take a one-point advantage at the end.

    GodBold On A heavenly Roll

    One of the major stories in the recent games has been the emergence of junior Adrienne GodBold as an offensive force.

    In the last nine games, GodBold has scored 129 points points and has raised her season average from 5.9 points to 8.8 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 and an 8-for-12 out put against No. 10 Ohio State gave GodBold a 76.6 perent field-goal percentage in thos three games.

    She has scored at least 16 points in five of the last eight 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.

    NOTES ON GAME TIMES

    The 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.

    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.
    • Illinois defeated Ohio State, 66-65 on Feb. 9. It marked the first Illinois win against a top-10 team since Jan. 26, 2003, a 94-80 victory over No. 10 Minnesota. It was also Illinois' first win against a ranked opponent since March 7, 2008, a 64-58 win over Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.
    • With wins over Ohio State and Indiana, the Illini won back-to-back conference games for the first time since defeating Penn State and Wisconsin on Dec. 31 and Jan. 3, 2009-10.

    Building momentum

    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. This year, Illinois went 1-7 in the first half of the season and are 3-3 in the second half.

    MAGRUM IN AND OUT OF THE LINE-UP

    Kersten 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. Magrum has missed the last five contests as her symptoms returned, but a return to the floor against Northwestern is hopeful.

    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.

    McCully Moving Up Career Assists List

    Lydia McCully has been able to find an open teammate in a position to shoot throughout her time with the Illini 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 five at Minnesota on Feb. 16 to reach 372 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.	372	Lydia McCully	2008-
    

    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 Ohio State contest with 1,305 career points, the 15th-most all-time, and also ranks 10th in Illini history in rebounds (705) and second in blocks (194).

    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.	1,305	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.	705	Karisma Penn	2009-
    

    Illinois' Career Blocked Shots List

    	Blocks	Player 	Years
    1.	231	Jenna Smith	2006-10
    2.	194	Karisma Penn	2009-
    3.	163	Lacey Simpson	2005-10
    

    Moore Clutch From 3-Point Land

    Amber Moore moved into fifth place all-time with a pair of threes at Minnesota, surpassing Allison Curtin's mark of 114 in the process. She has at least one three-pointer in 22 of the 27 games this season and multiple threes in 14 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.	115	Amber Moore	2009-
    

    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.

    REJECTIONS KEY DEFENSIVE SUCCESS

    The Illini are third in the Big Ten in blocked shots at 5.3 per game with 143 through 27 contests. Individually within the conference, Karisma Penn is third in rejections as the junior averages 2.2 per contest.

    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.

    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.

    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.

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