WNIT Round 1 Notes & Links: Illinois vs Miami (Ohio)
March 19, 2013
Setting the Scene
Illinois Against Postseason Squads: The Illini are 3-1 against teams in the WNIT field and 3-7 against NCAA Tournament squads. Illinois was 2-0 this season against fellow WNIT team Minnesota, beat Memphis and lost to Illinois State. Among NCAA Tournament teams, the Illini beat Georgia, Nebraska and Iowa, and lost to Penn State, Purdue (twice), Texas Tech, Michigan, Michigan State and Colorado.
Looking Ahead: The winner of the Illinois-Miami contest will advance to the second round to face the winner of Wednesday's Missouri/Eastern Illinois game in Columbia, Mo. The second round matchup will be played March 23-25 at a site and time to be determined.
Illini Notch Best Big Ten Record in 10 Years: The Illini went 9-7 in Big Ten play, marking their first winning record in conference action since 2002-03 (9-7, sixth place). The 2002-03 season also is the last time Illinois reached the NCAA Tournament.
The House of 'Paign: The Illini won four of their last five home games after opening the Big Ten season 0-3 at Assembly Hall. Illinois finished the regular-season 9-7 at home, 4-4 in home Big Ten games. A big factor in that was Illinois' improved attendance. The Illini averaged 2,026 per game on the season, nearly doubling last year's average of 1,070. It was even clearer in Big Ten play, as Illinois averaged 2,530 compared to 1,198 in 2011-12, a 111 percent increase.
Illini Shatter Steals Records: The Illini lead the Big Ten and rank fifth nationally in steals per game (12.8) and also led the league with 14.6 steals per game during conference play, 2.8 steals per game more than second-place Penn State (11.8). Illinois broke the school record for steals with 18 at No. 7 PSU on Feb. 20, and needs 34 more to break the Big Ten record for steals in a season. With 232 steals during conference play, the Illini broke 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 22 of 29 games and 15 of the last 17.
Illini in the WNIT
Illini Against the WNIT Field
Scouting The RedHawks
Miami has an RPI of 174 according to this week's official NCAA report, and WarrenNolan.com ranks the RedHawks' strength of schedule No. 274 out of 345 Division I teams. MU played only one major-conference team in its non-conference schedule, losing at Kentucky, 92-53, on Nov. 28. Miami faced three teams that reached the NCAA Tournament and played six WNIT qualifiers (Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green State, Duquesne, Toledo, Youngstown State).
The RedHawks are a skilled shooting team, ranking No. 17 nationally in field-goal percentage (44.2 percent) and 25th in three-point percentage (35.1 percent). They rank 109th, though, in three-pointers per game (5.5) and 98th in scoring offense (65.7 ppg). One key for the Illini is that MU ranks 248th nationally in turnovers per game (18.3) and 266th in turnover margin (-2.16 per game).
Miami is an experienced team, with two seniors and three juniors typically in its starting lineup. The RedHawks' first two players off the bench also are juniors, meaning upperclassmen account for 81 percent of their minutes and 95.5 percent (62.8 out of 65.7) of their points.
Senior guard Courtney Osborn, who was named a WBCA All-Region 4 nominee for All-America consideration on Tuesday, leads Miami with 19.1 points per game, which ranks 29th nationally. She also ranks 53rd nationally with 4.8 assists per game and is 11th with 3.0 three-pointers per game. She has 90 treys on the season, accounting for 53 percent of the RedHawks' outside attack, and she shoots 42 percent from the field. She is followed by senior Kirsten Olowinski at 12.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Olowinski also has 55 blocked shots on the season.
Miami (Ohio) Series History