Game 25 Notes & Links: Illinois at Penn State
Feb. 20, 2013
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. For more on Illinois' road success, see page 5.
Home Cooking Heats Up: The Illini opened the Big Ten season 0-3 at home but have won their last three home games over No. 24 Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. It marks the first time this season that Illinois has recorded three straight home wins.
Big Ten Race Heats Up: With teams having three or four games left in the Big Ten season, Illinois stands tied for third place in the conference standings with Michigan and Purdue, and only one game behind second-place Nebraska, whom the Illini beat in Lincoln on Jan. 17. The Orange and Blue can continue to make a late-season run, with two of their remaining four games at home and one of those against Ohio State, which UI beat in Columbus on Jan. 6. UI also holds tiebreakers over Iowa and Minnesota.
Illini Virtually Clinch Postseason Berth: With its win over Wisconsin on Monday, Illinois secured its 15th win of the season and all but locked up a postseason bid as it is guaranteed to finish the season at .500 or better. The Illini also have clinched at least a .500 record in Big Ten play for the first time since 2006-07 (8-8, fourth place). Illinois last finished over .500 overall in 2009-10 when it went 19-15 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the WNIT. Illinois' last appearance in the NCAA Tournament came in the 2002-03 season.
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.
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 24 games. The swing spot has been the Illini's fourth guard or second forward position, where Adrienne Godbold has started the last 13 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. This week marks Illinois' second with three games in seven or fewer days as the Illini play three times in six days from Feb. 18-23.
Turnaround in Progress: With 15 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 24 games last season, the Illini were 8-16 overall, 2-9 in the Big Ten. Two years ago, Illinois was 7-17 overall, 2-9 in the Big Ten.
Scouting The Nittany Lions
Penn State Series History