March 23, 2013
Illinois Probable Starters
||5th in B1G in assists per game (5.1)
||3rd in B1G in 3FGs per game (2.6)
||4th in B1G in steals per game (2.6)
||2013 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
||Had 20 points, 8 rebs in WNIT win over Miami (OH)
...9-7 all-time in the postseason WNIT
...7-2 at home in the postseason WNIT
...the Illini single-season steals record-holder (383)
...14 turnovers forced away from breaking the UI record
...21 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) (as of 3/18)
...No. 14 nationally in turnover margin (+5.24)
...No. 35 nationally in points per game (70.0)
...11-1 when opponent shoots under 40 percent FGs
...8-1 when out-rebounding its opponent
...16-2 when leading at halftime
...14-2 when shooting more FTs than its opponent
...13-2 when scoring 70+ points
...11-2 when Amber Moore makes 3+ three-pointers
...11-3 when Karisma Penn scores 20+ points
...looking to give coach Matt Bollant his 300th career win
Setting the Scene
The Game: Illinois hosts Eastern Illinois in the second round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament Monday at 7 p.m. at the Assembly Hall, continuing the Illini's first trip to the postseason in three seasons. Free tickets are available for the first 100 University of Illinois students to claim them at the Illinois Ticket Office inside Assembly Hall. All tickets except for courtside chairs are general admission, including bleacher seats around the court. Adult tickets are $6, while student tickets are $4.
Inside the Match-up: The Orange and Blue snapped a three-game skid with a 73-60 victory over Miami (Ohio) in the WNIT first round on March 21, also marking their first postseason win since 2010. EIU also broke a three-game skid with its 60-58 win at Missouri on March 20. Illinois enters the game 17-13 overall after going 9-7 and tying for fifth place in the Big Ten. The Panthers are 20-11 with a 12-4 mark in the Ohio Valley Conference, winning the West Division and an OVC co-championship after tying Tennessee Tech with a 12-4 conference record.
Illinois Against Postseason Squads: The Illini are 4-1 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. The Illini also beat Miami (Ohio) in the WNIT first round. 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-Eastern Illinois contest will advance to the third round to face Toledo, which topped Youngstown State on Saturday. The third-round matchup will be played between March 26 and 28 at a site and time to be determined.
Veteran Trio Takes Over in WNIT: While seniors Karisma Penn and Adrienne Godbold have been very consistent since the beginning of Big Ten play, junior Amber Moore wasn't as strong in the last half of the conference schedule. But Moore rebounded in a big way in Illinois' WNIT opener, pouring in a game-high 25 points on 8-of-17 field-goal shooting. It tied her season-high scoring output and marked a season-high made field goals. She also equaled a season high with five three-pointers, the fifth time she has drained five triples this season. It marked her fifth 20-point game of the season and her first since scoring 25 against Minnesota on Feb. 10. Penn added 20 against the RedHawks and GodBold chipped in 15, as the trio accounted for 60 of Illinois' 73 points.
Penn Reaches Milestone: Senior forward Karisma Penn became only the seventh player in Big Ten history to top 1,900 points and 1,000 rebounds with her 20-point outing against Miami (Ohio) on March 21. And with eight rebounds against the RedHawks, she ties Cindy Dallas for second on Illinois' all-time rebounding list with 1,014. Penn still ranks fifth on UI's career scoring chart (1,903) but needs only four points to surpass Lisa Robinson.
Illini in the WNIT
Illinois is 9-7 all-time in seven WNIT appearances and 7-2 in WNIT home games. The Illini have won five straight WNIT games at the Assembly Hall, dating back to 2006, and are 1-1 all-time against in-state foes. Illinois beat Western Illinois in the first round of the 2006 tournament and fell to Illinois State in the quarterfinals of the 2010 event. The Illini have played in the WNIT in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2013.
Illini Against the WNIT Field
Illinois is 4-1 against other teams in the Women's NIT, going 2-0 against Minnesota, beating Memphis on the Tigers' home court on Dec. 9 and topping Miami (Ohio) in the first round on March 21. The Illini's lone loss to a WNIT squad was a 69-68 defeat to Illinois State on Dec. 21.
Scouting The Panthers
Eastern Illinois, much like the Illini, played well for much of the conference season in order to reach the postseason after starting the season 5-6. But the Panthers rallied in Ohio Valley Conference play, posting a 12-4 league record and earning the top seed in the OVC tournament. Like Illinois, EIU had a short-lived visit, falling 71-69 to fifth-seeded Tennessee-Martin.
EIU has an RPI of 122 according to WarrenNolan.com and and schedule strength of 245 out of 345 Division I teams. EIU lost to NCAA tournament qualifier Dayton on Nov. 25, beat WNIT participant IUPUI 71-60 on Nov. 29 and lost at WNIT qualifier Indiana State 69-39 on Nov. 9. UT-Martin swept through the OVC tournament to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and EIU was 1-2 against the Skyhawks this season.
The Panthers like to shoot from distance, as they have made 193 three-pointers (compared to Illinois' 171) and are shooting 33 percent from distance. Katlyn Payne has 48 triples on the season and Kelsey Wyss has 47. Jordyne Crunk has 25 treys and four other Panthers have made 14 or more on the year. EIU ranks 52nd in three-point percentage and 60th in three-pointers made per game.
Like Miami in the first round, EIU is an experienced team, with four seniors typically in its starting lineup. The Panthers' first three players off the bench are two juniors and a redshirt-sophomore, meaning upperclassmen account for 73 percent of their minutes and 78.9 percent (62.8 out of 65.7) of their points.
Senior guard Ta'Kenya Nixon leads EIU with 15.0 points per game and ranks 25th nationally with 5.9 assists per game. She also stands 69th nationally in steals per game (2.57). Senior forward Mariah King averages 13.9 points and 6.3 boards per game, and senior guard Kelsey Wyss averages 8.5 points per game to pace the Panthers.
Eastern Illinois Series History
Despite being separated by only 53 miles, Illinois and EIU have played each other only 14 times in 39 seasons, with the Illini holding a 9-5 advantage in the series. Seven of those meetings came in Illinois' first three seasons of varsity competition and the teams have met only four times since the 1980-81 season. The Illini have won all four of those, including a 49-45 tilt in Champaign on Nov. 16, 2008, the most recent meeting.
Last Time Out: Miami (Ohio)
Junior Amber Moore tied her season high with 25 points and Illinois used a 14-4 second-half run to grab a 73-60 win over Miami (Ohio) in the first round of the Women's NIT at the Assembly Hall on March 21. Along with Moore's big night, seniors Karisma Penn and Adrienne Godbold added 20 and 15 points, respectively, meaning the Illini's three upperclassmen combined for 60 of the team's 73 points (82.1 percent) on the night. Moore made a season-best eight field goals in 17 attempts (47 percent), and made a season-high five three-pointers for the fifth time this season. She also grabbed six rebounds and had four assists in 38 minutes.
Karisma Penn was a force inside for the Illini, scoring 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting in a 40-minute effort. She hauled in eight rebounds, blocked four shots - her most since Dec. 21 - and had three steals. Adrienne Godbold added 15 points and eight rebounds and played 37 minutes despite receiving her fourth foul with 11:54 left in the game.
The Illini held Miami (19-13) to 33.9 percent shooting (20-of-59) on the night and 19 percent (4-of-21) from three-point range, impressive defensive work against a team that entered the night averaging 44 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Illinois limited RedHawk point guard Courtney Osborn to 4-of-12 shooting and forced the Miami backcourt into 15 turnovers, part of a 26-turnover night for MU, its second-most of the season.