WNIT Second Round Game Notes: Marquette at Illinois
March 21, 2010
2010 Women's National Invitation Tournament
Second Round: Marquette (17-15) at Illinois (17-14)
Illinois Head Coach
Setting the Scene
Looking Ahead: The winner of the Illinois-Marquette contest will advance to the third round to face Missouri State, who defeated Samford at home on Sunday, 74-55. The third round game will take place in Springfield, Mo., on Thursday, March 25 at 7 p.m.
Simpson is Steals Leader: With one steal at WKU, Lacey Simpson moved into sole possession of first on the Illinois single-season steals list. She now has 103 steals on the season to move out of a tie with Allison Curtin's old record of 102. Simpson's 358 career steals tie her for the second-highest total in Big Ten history behind only Stacey Thomas' (MICH, 1997-00) all-time conference record of 372.
Smith Finalist for All-America Honor: Jenna Smith has been named a Regional finalist for the WBCA's State Farm All-America Team for the second time in her career (2008). This year, she joins Ohio State's Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis, Iowa's Kachine Alexander and Missouri State's Casey Garrison from Region 6.
Smith Among All-Time Big Ten Elite: Jenna Smith is one of just four players in Big Ten history to reach 2,000+ career points and 1,000+ career rebounds. With 2,108 points and 1,178 boards, Smith joins former Ohio State center Jessica Davenport (2004-07), former Minnesota Golden Gopher Laura Coenen (1982-85) and current Ohio State Buckeye Jantel Lavender in the exclusive club.
Queen of the Boards: Jenna Smith has been a monster on the boards this season, averaging 11.2 per game to rank 10th in the nation. She enters Monday's game with 1,178 career boards, making her the third-best rebounder in Big Ten women's history. If that weren't enough, this season she has became the Illinois single-season rebounding record holder as her 348 boards top the old mark of 335 by Lynette Robinson in 1980-81. Smith had a career-high 20 boards vs. Indiana on Feb. 7 and then had a Big Ten Tournament single-game record 19 boards on March 4 vs. the Hoosiers.
Name That Toone: Senior Whitney Toone doesn't want her UI career to end and she showed it with a career performance in Friday's win over WKU. The former Junior College transfer shattered her previous career-high of 13 points by exploding for 20 against the Lady Toppers. She had 18 of her 20 points in the first half as the Illini built up a 14-point lead, including 10 points during Illinois' 16-2 run that broke the game open, and also tied her career-high with seven rebounds in the game.
Dynamic Duo in the History Books: Seniors Jenna Smith and Lacey Simpson will go down as two of the best players in program history. Take a look below to see where each ranks in the UI career record book heading into Monday's game. See page 8 for a complete list of updated records.
Smith Stat Total Rank Points 2,108 1 Rebounds 1,178 1 Blocks 221 1 Double-Doubles 51 1 FG Attempts 1,604 1 Games Started 118 1 Minutes Played 4,440 1 FG Made 796 2 FT Made 475 2 Games Played 127 2 FT Percentage .808 6 Penn Owns Frosh Record: With 50 blocks this season, Karisma Penn is the Illinois freshman blocks record holder. She broke the old record of 39 that was shared by current seniors Jenna Smith and Lacey Simpson. Those two have gone on to rank 1-2 on the UI career blocks list, meaning Penn is ahead of their record pace after one season.
Postseason Streak: With this year's WNIT bid, Illinois has now advanced to postseason play in 12 of the last 14 years. The 2003-04 and 2008-09 seasons are the only years since 1996-97 that the Illini have not reached postseason play. The Orange and Blue have advanced to the NCAA Tournament five times during that streak and to the WNIT the other seven.
Getting Defensive: Coach Jolette Law's trademark is outstanding defense and this year's team has bought into that philosophy. The Illini are holding opponents to 35.5 percent shooting, which ranks second in the Big Ten and in the top-30 nationally. The Illini have held their opponent to under 30 percent shooting eight times this season, most recently on Friday in the WNIT first round when they limited WKU to just 22.4 percent from the field, a low for UI opponent this season.
What to Watch For on Monday
Second Round Foe: Marquette
The Illinois-Marquette Series: Marquette owns a 4-1 advantage over the Illini in the all-time series, including a 65-55 win in Champaign on Dec. 9 of this season. The two teams have met twice before in the WNIT, with Marquette taking both meetings - 72-64 in 2008 and 64-44 in 2006 -however, both games were played in Milwaukee. Illinois' one win over the Golden Eagles came in Champaign on Dec. 7, 1997 (Illinois 99, Marquette 68).
Familiar Face: Illinois senior Jenna Smith will see a familiar face when the Illini and Golden Eagles take the floor. Smith and MU guard Angel Robinson are both from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and played on the same club team up through high school. The two remain close friends today. The duo has faced off twice before, with Marquette winning both games.
This Season vs. Marquette
Trailing by seven at the half, the Illini hoped for a fifth-straight second half comeback victory, but it wasn't meant to be this time. Led by Angel Robinson's season-high 32 points, Marquette shot 53 percent in the second half to stave off any comeback attempts.
Illinois in the WNIT
Illinois has lost just once in its opening-round game, on the road at Indiana State in 2005. In each of the five other WNIT appearances the Illini have won their first game and lost the second. The Orange and Blue are 5-2 all-time in WNIT games played in Champaign and are 1-4 in games on the road.
Watch Out for Jenna
Smith Makes the Cut: Smith was named to the Naismith Award Midseason top-30 in early March. The prestigious Naismith Trophy is presented annually to college basketball's player of the year. Smith was also a preseason candidate for the Wade Trophy, the Wooden Award and the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
Record Breaker: Smith will undoubtedly go down is on of the best players in school history as she's already the Illinois career leader in points (2,108), rebounds (1,178), blocked shots (221), double-doubles (51), field goals attempted (1,604), games started (118) and minutes played (4,440) and has a chance to top the field goals made list as she ranks second on that list. Take a look at where Smith ranks on all the Illinois record list on page 8.
Toeing the Line: One of the most overlooked parts of Smith's game has been her free throw shooting. She won the Big Ten's FT shooting crown with the best percentage (.878) during conference games and she currently leads the Big Ten and ranks 12th in the nation at 87.9 percent for all games. Her career percentage of 80.8 ranks sixth in Illinois history and she ranks second on the Illinois career free throws made list with 475, behind only Ashley Berggren's record of 562. She has been especially good as of late, making 40 of her last 42 from the charity stripe (.952).
Jenna's Fire Burning: Smith was on fire in the Feb. 11 win over Northwestern. Smith hit her first 11 shots of the game, including a career-high five three-pointers, and had 28 points in the first 13 minutes of the game as the Illini jumped out to a huge lead. She finished with a career-high 34 points, hitting 13-of-16 overall, 5-of-6 from downtown and 3-of-3 from the free throw line against the Wildcats.
From Way Downtown: Smith has always had a soft touch from outside the paint, but this year she has stepped outside more than ever before with much success. The 6-3 center hit a career-high five threes on six attempts against Northwestern on Feb. 11 and has made a career-high 25 three-pointers so far this season. She is shooting a respectable 37.3 percent from downtown for the year.
Smith Chasing Thomas: Smith needs 22 points to become the top scorer in Illinois basketball history, male or female. She just became the women's scoring leader, passing Ashley Bergreen's former record of 2,089 points, and needs 22 points to pass Deon Thomas' men's career scoring record of 2,129. She is already the top rebounder in school history, male or female, as she passed Cindy Dallas' women's record of 1,014 and James Augustine's men's mark of 1,029 earlier this season.
Jenna Sweeps Blocks Records: Smith has etched her name at the top of every blocked shots category in the UI record book. She became Illinois' career blocks leader last season and has a chance to reach top-10 status in the all-time Big Ten record book. She also holds the top three spots on the UI single-season blocks list (63 in 2008-09, 60 this season, and 59 in 2007-08) and broke the single-game record with seven blocks at Purdue on Feb. 4.
Working Woman: Smith isn't doing all of her work on the basketball court or in the classroom this semester. The senior is also interning with the Illinois Athletic Public Relations office during the spring term. Smith, who is set to graduate in May with a degree in community health, is getting a first-hand look at what goes on behind the scenes in an athletic department. Look for her weekly blog about the experience, called Posting Up with Jenna.
Simpson Steals the Show
Simpson is not only outstanding in the steals department, but she also ranks ninth in the conference in blocks and sixth in rebounding while also serving as a lockdown defender while guarding the best perimeter player on the opposing team all season.
Climbing BT Charts: After notching a steal on Friday at WKU, Simpson heads into Monday's game tied for second on the Big Ten career steals list with 358. Already the Illinois career steals leader, Simpson is 14 steals away from Stacey Thomas' (Michigan, 1997-00) Big Ten record of 372. Simpson leads the Big Ten and is seventh nationally in steals at 3.4 per game. During conference play she averaged a league-best 3.6 thefts per contest for her second-straight conference steals title.
Simpson Does It All: Simpson is widely known for her defense and versatility. This year, however, she has diversified her game even more. Playing more at her natural wing position, she's taking her habit of filling the stat sheet to another level as she's averaging 9.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, a team-high 3.9 assists and a Big Ten-leading 3.3 steals per game. She ranks in the top-15 in the conference in eight categories (steals, assists, assist-TO ratio, defensive rebounds, offensive rebounds, blocks, FG percentage and rebounds).
Dropping Dimes: With a team-high 121 assists this season, Simpson is the first player in school history to record 100+ assists in four different seasons. She has 445 career assists to rank third on the Illinois all-time list.
Movin' On Up: Simpson has moved up to 17th place on the UI career scoring list with 1,131 points. She is currently 51 points behind Lisa Bradley for 16th place. Simpson became the 23rd player in Illinois history to reach the 1,000-point milestone on Jan. 21 against Iowa.
Assault on the Record Book: More evidence of Simpson's all-around prowess can be found in the Illinois record book. She already cracks the career top-5 in seven different categories and is the program's all-time leader in steals (358) and games played (132). She also ranks second in blocked shots (161), games started (115) and minutes played (4,047), third in assists (445) and fifth in rebounds (877), while also climbing up both the three point field goals list (10th) and scoring (17th) lists. See page 8 for a complete list of updated Illini and Big Ten records.
Rare Company: Simpson one of just three players in Illinois history to amass over 1,000 points, 800 rebounds and 200 steals in a career. She joints Illini greats Tauja Catchings and Cindy Dallas on the elite list.
Block Party in the USA
Penn There, Done That: Penn, a 6-2 forward, was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team and is averaging 10.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. She was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week a conference-high four times this season, most recently on March 1 after a huge all-around game at Northwestern on Feb. 28. On Jan. 3, Penn hit the game-winning lay-up to top Wisconsin at the buzzer. She had her first career double-double on Dec. 31 against Penn State with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and has scored a career-high 21 points twice thus far, first on Nov. 22 over Bradley and most recently on Jan. 14 at Ohio State.
Starting to Find Her Role: Since earning a spot in the starting lineup 12 games ago, Magrum has stepped-up to average 6.9 points per game and is shooting 51 percent from the field. The 6-1 forward exploded for 12 points at Purdue on Feb. 4, and then topped that on Feb. 14 at Iowa with a career-high 14 points. A gym-rat, Magrum has upper her scoring average from 1.8 to 4.0 points per game since making her first start on Jan. 28.
Captain Clutch: GodBold has come up big during crunch time this season. The 5-11 guard had a game-winning three-point play with 10 seconds left in the win over Minnesota on Jan. 10 and is averaging 5.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game for the season. She scored a career-high 15 points and had three steals in the Illini's win over Oakland on Dec. 19 and she has been key defensively for the Illini all season, taking some of the defensive load off of Lacey Simpson.
All-Big Ten Honors
Ultimate Basketball Challenge Set for April 14