Game 28 Notes/Links: Illinois at #25/22 Purdue
March 1, 2013
Penn Named to Naismith List: Senior Karisma Penn was named to the list of top 30 candidates for the Naismith Women's College Player of the Year award on Wednesday, one of six Big Ten players on the list. Her inclusion means both an Illini men's player and women's player made the Naismith Top 30 lists, as Brandon Paul was included on the men's Top 30 list. That makes Illinois one of seven schools with at least one men's and one women's player on each list along with California, Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Big Ten Race Heats Up: Thanks to a pair of upsets by road teams on Thursday, Illinois stands tied for third place in the conference standings with Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State in the race for the final two first-round byes in the Big Ten Tournament. Penn State and Nebraska have clinched the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively, but the fight for the last two byes has come down to the wire. In order to secure a bye, the Illini must beat Purdue and at least one of Michigan or Michigan State must lose because both the Wolverines and Spartans hold tiebreakers over Illinois.
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 6-3 this season in true road games, 5-2 in Big Ten play.
Illini Relish Underdog Role: Illinois has won three of its last five 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 losses were a 67-66 overtime thriller to No. 14 Purdue on Jan. 2 and a 95-62 defeat at No. 7 Penn State on Feb. 20. Illinois is 43-169 all-time against AP-ranked opponents but just 9-77 on the road. The Illini haven't beaten an AP-ranked team on the road since topping No. 21 Louisiana Tech on Dec. 4, 2004 - a 12-game losing streak - and haven't beaten an AP-ranked Big Ten foe since Dec. 28, 2001, when they beat No. 12 Michigan, 85-81. Illinois has lost 21 consecutive games at AP-ranked Big Ten opponents.
Illini Clinch Postseason Berth: With its win over Wisconsin on Feb. 18, Illinois secured its 15th win of the season and locked up a postseason bid as it is guaranteed to finish the season with a winning record. It marks the first time in the last three years that Illinois will play beyond the Big Ten Tournament. 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 was in 2002-03.
Illinois Ensures Strong Big Ten Record: The Illini also have clinched a winning record in Big Ten play for the first time since 2002-03 (9-7, sixth place) and are looking for their first opening-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament since 2007. Illinois must beat Purdue and have at least one of Michigan and Michigan State to lose on Sunday in order to finish in the top four in the conference standings.
Illinois Strong Down the Stretch: The Orange and Blue have played well of late, winning three of their last five games and six of their last nine. That makes the Illini the third-hottest team in the Big Ten behind Nebraska (10-game winning streak) and Penn State (7-2 in last nine games).
Turnaround in Progress: With 16 wins so far this season, the Illini have surpassed the squad's win totals from each of the past two seasons (11, 2011-12; 9, 2010-11). Through 27 games last season, the Illini were 10-17 overall, 4-10 in the Big Ten. Two years ago, Illinois was 7-20 overall, 2-12 in the Big Ten.
Illini Put Foes Under Pressure: Illinois has racheted up the defensive pressure since Adrienne Godbold's return, forcing 109 more turnovers this season than in all of last year (645-536) in four fewer games. The Illini have forced 404 turnovers in their last 16 games (25.3 per game), and 378 in 15 Big Ten games (25.2 pg). The Orange and Blue could go without forcing a turnover at Purdue on Sunday and still break the record for turnovers forced per game in a conference season (23.5, Ohio State, 1988). Illinois has forced or equaled an opponent's season high in turnovers in eight games this year, including the last three (No. 7 Penn State, Indiana and Ohio State).
Illini Taking What Isn't Theirs: The Illini lead the Big Ten and rank sixth nationally in steals per game (12.8) and also lead the league with 14.7 steals per game during conference play, 2.7 steals per game more than second-place Penn State (12.0). Illinois broke the school record for steals with 18 at No. 7 PSU on Feb. 20, and needs 59 more to break the Big Ten record for steals in a season. With 220 steals and one conference game remaining, the Illini have a chance to break the record for steals and steals per game in a Big Ten season, as those marks are 232 by the 1985 Ohio State team and 12.9 by the 1996 Wisconsin squad, respectively. The Illini broke the school record for most steals in a Big Ten game with 24 at Northwestern on Jan 10. Illinois has recorded double-digit steals in 20 of 27 games and 13 of the last 15.
Stealing the Spotlight: A pair of Illini players occupy two of the top three spots in steals per game in conference play, and four are in the top seven. Karisma Penn leads the league in Big Ten games (3.6 spg), while Adrienne Godbold is third (3.4 spg), Ivory Crawford is sixth (2.5 spg) and Alexis Smith is tied for seventh (2.3 spg).
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 has scored in double digits in 15 of the 16 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 fifth in the league with 17.7 points per game, second in steals (3.4 per game) and is 10th in rebounding (7.4 rpg), the only guard in the top 10 in rebounding.
Penn Does It All: Senior forward Karisma Penn ranks second in the Big Ten in rebounding and steals, third in blocked shots, fourth in scoring and fifth in field-goal percentage, making her the only player in the conference to rank in the top five in all five categories. She also is the only post player in the top 15 in the league in steals and top 10 in minutes played (eighth, 35.5 mpg). A career 13.9 ppg scorer entering the season, Penn is scoring at a 19.3 ppg rate this year.
Moore is Better: Junior guard Amber Moore also has increased her productivity under first-year head coach Matt Bollant, averaging 12.0 points per game after entering the season with a career average of 9.2 ppg. Moore is averaging 2.5 three-point field goals per game, fourth-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 (.917), fourth in minutes played (36.8 mpg), and is among conference leaders in scoring (22nd) and three-point field-goal percentage (13th, .358).
Scouting The Boilermakers
The Boilermakers rank 13th nationally in free-throw percentage (76.5 percent), 18th in three-point percentage (36.0 percent), but is only 119th in three-pointers made per game at 5.4. Purdue also ranks second in the Big Ten in assists (15.6 per game) and third in steals (7.8 per game), but is ninth in turnover margin (-2.2 per game).
Purdue is a lock for the NCAA Tournament with a 20-8 overall record, and has a slightly better chance at a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament than Illinois. The Boilers have a tiebreaker over Michigan State, should those teams finish the season with the same conference record, by virtue of having beaten second-place Nebraska, while MSU lost to the Huskers. However, Purdue lost to Michigan in those teams' only meeting, so the Wolverines would win that tie.
Purdue is near the middle of the pack in most statistical categories in Big Ten play, except for field-goal defense (fourth, 38.5 percent), three-point field-goal defense (12th, 35.1 percent), rebounding margin (third, +3.6), assists (1st, 15.0), turnover margin (ninth, -3.5) and three-pointers per game (fourth, 5.7).
Courtney Moses is the Boilers' leading scorer at 13.0 ppg, which ranks 15th in the Big Ten. Drey Mingo adds 12.2 ppg and KK Houser is at 11.1. Sam Ostarello leads the league with 9.9 rebounds per game, slightly edging Karisma Penn, and Taylor Manuel ranks third in field-goal percentage (52.8 percent). Houser also ranks seventh in the league in assists (4.6 per game) and Moses leads the Big Ten in free-throw percentage (93.2 percent).
Last Meeting With the Boilers
Illinois outscored the Boilers 38-28 in the paint and held a 28-8 advantage scoring off turnovers, forcing a season-high 34 miscues by Purdue, including nine by point guard KK Houser. The Illini led by as many as eight, 49-41 at the 11:14 mark of the second half, after hitting nine of their first 12 shots after halftime. But Purdue used a 13-0 run over 5:09 to grab a 56-50 lead. Illinois clamped down defensively, though, holding the Boilers to only one field goal and forcing two turnovers over the final three minutes of regulation.
Purdue Series History
The Boilers have won 13 of the last 15 meetings, 25 of 28, 32 of 36 and 43 of the last 48 meetings dating back to 1987. Illinois has only won once in West Lafayette since 1984, and that came by a 66-56 margin on Feb. 3, 2005. But Purdue has won the last six meetings at Mackey Arena by an average of 14.5 points per game.
Last Time Out: Ohio State
The Illini shot just 23.5 percent (8-of-34) in the second half, compared to 57.9 percent (11-of-19) by the Buckeyes. For the game, Ohio State out-shot the Orange and Blue 47.8 percent to 29.5 percent. Illinois also made only 2-of-15 three-pointers, tying its season low. The Illini forced 22 OSU turnovers and out-rebounded the Buckeyes 35-34, but the shooting disparity was too much to overcome.