Women's Basketball
Game 25 Notes & Links: Illinois at Penn State

Ivory Crawford and the Illini will try to knock off No. 7 Penn State on Wednesday.
Ivory Crawford and the Illini will try to knock off No. 7 Penn State on Wednesday.

Feb. 20, 2013

 Game 25: Illinois (15-9, 8-4) at #7/9 Penn State (21-3, 11-1)
 When Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 | 6 p.m. CT
 Location State College, Pa. | Bryce Jordan Center (15,261)
 Tickets Purchase
 Streaming Video BTDN on Fighting Illini All-Access | All-Access Sign-up
 Radio WDWS AM-1400 Champaign-Urbana & WDAN-AM 1490 Danville) | Listen
 Live Stats GameTracker
 Printable Game Notes Illinois | Penn State | Big Ten
 Season Stats Illinois | Penn State | Big Ten
 Series History Penn State leads 28-14
 Last Meeting Penn State 71, Illinois 65 (Jan. 19, 2012, Champaign, Ill.)
 Streak Lost 5
 Social Media @IlliniWBB   |  #Illini   |  Facebook | YouTube

 Illinois Probable Starters
Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG Note
G 23 Alexis Smith 5-9 So. 7.2 2.6 4th in B1G in assists per game (5.4)
G 42 Amber Moore 5-11 Jr. 12.8 4.5 3rd in B1G in 3FGs per game (2.6) & FT% (91.7)
G 22 Ivory Crawford 5-10 So. 12.7 4.6 T-4th in B1G in steals per game (2.5)
G 24 Adrienne Godbold 5-11 Sr. 18.2 7.9 3rd in scoring (18.8), 2nd in steals (3.5) in B1G games
F 00 Karisma Penn 6-2 Sr. 18.9 10.1 Leads B1G in steals in conference games (3.8 spg)

Illinois is...
...8-4 in the Big Ten for the 1st time since 1999-2000
...looking for its school-record 6th Big Ten road win
...looking for its 1st win in State College since 1998
...17 steals away from breaking the school record
...ranked No. 9 nationally in steals per game (12.6)
...ranked No. 25 nationally in turnover margin (+4.91)
...ranked No. 30 nationally in points per game (71.6)
...10-0 when opponent shoots under 40 percent FGs
...8-0 when out-rebounding its opponent
...11-2 when scoring 70+ points
...14-1 when leading at halftime
...12-2 when shooting more FTs than its opponent
...9-1 when Karisma Penn scores 20+ points
...10-1 when Amber Moore makes 3+ three-pointers

Quick Hits
• Quick Turnaround for Illini:
After beating Wisconsin 60-53 on Monday, Illinois faces its shortest turnaround of the season with a trip to Penn State for a Wednesday night game against the No. 7/9 Nittany Lions. It is the middle game in a stretch where the Illini play three times in six days, as they host Indiana on Saturday. Illinois has won five of its last six games and is 8-3 in its last 11.

• 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 has proved to be one of the top teams in the nation, having won four straight games and 15 of its last 16. The Nittany Lions' only loss was a 63-61 defeat at Wisconsin on Jan. 31. • PSU is outscoring its opponents by an average of 16.2 points per game, averaging a Big Ten-best 73.2 points per game and holding foes to 57.0 points per game, which ranks third. • Penn State is ranked seventh in the most recent Associated Press poll, up from No. 8 last week. The Lions' season-high rank was No. 6 in the third and fourth weeks of the season. • PSU leads the Big Ten in three-point field-goal percentage and is sixth in field-goal percentage. The Lions are second in field-goal defense and are sixth in three-point defense. Penn State leads the league in turnover margin, ranks second in rebounding margin and second in steals. • Junior Maggie Lucas is third in the conference in scoring (19.8 ppg) and senior Alex Bentley is ranked 12th (13.7 ppg). Senior Nikki Greene is fourth in rebounding (8.6 rpg) and Bentley leads the conference in steals (3.7 spg), while Lucas is second in three-pointers per game (2.9).

Penn State Series History
Illinois trails the all-time series with Penn State 28-14 and the Lions hold a 15-2 advantage in games played in State College. Penn State has won five straight in the series and nine of the last 12 meetings. The Nittany Lions also have won the last 10 meetings in their home arena, with Illinois' last win in Happy Valley coming on Feb. 1, 1998.