Women's Basketball
WNIT Round 1 Notes & Links: Illinois vs Miami (Ohio)

Karisma Penn and the Illini host Miami (Ohio) in the WNIT first round Thursday at 7 p.m.
Karisma Penn and the Illini host Miami (Ohio) in the WNIT first round Thursday at 7 p.m.

March 19, 2013

 Game 30: Illinois (16-13) vs. Miami (Ohio) (19-12)
 When Thursday, March 21, 2013 | 7 p.m. CT
 Location Champaign, Ill. | Assembly Hall (16,618)
 Tournament Info Tournament Central | Bracket
 Tickets Public: $6 // Students: $4 | Call 1-866-ILLINI-1 or purchase at the door
 Streaming Video Fighting Illini All-Access (free)
 Radio WDWS AM-1400 (Champaign-Urbana) | Listen
 Live Stats Gametracker | Mobile Stats
 Preview Interviews Coach Bollant | GodBold
 Printable Game Notes Illinois | Miami (Ohio) | Big Ten | MAC
 Season Stats Illinois | Miami (Ohio) | Big Ten | MAC
 Series History Tied 2-2
 Last Meeting Illinois 65, Miami (Ohio) 63 (Dec. 19, 1994, in Oxford, Ohio)
 Streak Won 1
 Social Media @IlliniWBB   |  #Illini   |  Facebook | YouTube

 Illinois Probable Starters
Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG Note
G 23 Alexis Smith 5-9 So. 6.8 2.4 5th in B1G in assists per game (5.1)
G 42 Amber Moore 5-11 Jr. 11.9 4.6 3rd in B1G in 3FGs per game (2.5)
G 22 Ivory Crawford 5-10 So. 12.3 4.3 4th in B1G in steals per game (2.5)
G 24 Adrienne Godbold 5-11 Sr. 17.0 7.1 2013 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
F 00 Karisma Penn 6-2 Sr. 19.0 9.7 Named 1st-Team All-Big Ten by media

Illinois is...
...making its first postseason appearance in the last 3 years
...8-7 all-time in the postseason WNIT
...the Illini single-season steals record-holder (370)
...34 steals from breaking the Big Ten record
...the new Big Ten steals record-holder (234) in BT play
...the new Big Ten record-holder in turnovers forced in a conference season (24.8), breaking the 25-year-old record
...No. 4 nationally in steals per game (12.8)
...No. 14 nationally in turnover margin (+5.24)
...No. 35 nationally in points per game (70.0)
...10-1 when opponent shoots under 40 percent FGs
...8-1 when out-rebounding its opponent
...9-3 when coming off a loss
...15-2 when leading at halftime
...13-2 when shooting more FTs than its opponent
...12-2 when scoring 70+ points
...10-2 when Amber Moore makes 3+ three-pointers
...10-3 when Karisma Penn scores 20+ points

Setting the Scene
• The Game:
Illinois hosts Miami (Ohio) in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Assembly Hall, the Illini's first trip to the postseason in three seasons. The Orange and Blue look to snap a three-game skid, their only losing streak of the season, while the RedHawks have won five of their last seven games. Illinois enters the game 16-13 overall after going 9-7 and tying for fifth place in the Big Ten. Miami is 19-12 with a 10-6 mark in the Mid-American Conference, finishing third in the MAC East Division and earning the No. 6 seed in their conference tournament.

• 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.

Quick Hits
• GodBold, Penn Honored:
Seniors Adrienne Godbold and Karisma Penn were recognized when the All-Big Ten teams and individual honors were announced on March 4, with GodBold taking home Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors and being named to the second-team by conference coaches. She also was a third-team All-Big Ten pick by the media. Penn was a first-team selection by the media and a third-team honoree by the coaches, the first time in her career that she has earned first-team honors. GodBold remains the only Illini to earn an individual award since Ashley Berggren was the 1997 Player of the Year, as she also was named the 2012 Sixth Player of the Year. It also marks the first time in the last three years that two Illini have been named to the All-Big Ten teams.

• 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
Illinois is 8-7 all-time in seven WNIT appearances. The Illini most recently played in the tournament in 2010, advancing to the quarterfinals, its deepest run in the event. Illinois also participated in the WNIT in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. The Illini are 6-1 all-time in their opening game of the WNIT, with their only first-game loss coming in 2005.

Illini Against the WNIT Field
Illinois is 3-1 against other teams in the Women's NIT, going 2-0 against Minnesota and beating Memphis on the Tigers' home court on Dec. 9. The Illini's lone loss to a WNIT squad was a 69-68 defeat to Illinois State on Dec. 21.

Scouting The RedHawks
Miami (Ohio) is playing some of its best basketball of the season entering the WNIT, having won two of its last three games and five of its last seven. That comes on the heels of a three-game skid against three of the top teams in the MAC: Toledo, Akron and Central Michigan.

• 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
Illinois and Miami (Ohio) have split four all-time meetings, and have not faced one another since a 1994 game in Oxford that the Illini won, 65-63. The RedHawks won the other meeting in Oxford in 1979, Illinois won in 1980 and 1994, and Miami took a 78-66 victory in Champaign in 1993.