WNIT Elite 8 Notes/Links: Illinois at Kansas State
March 29, 2013
Setting the Scene
Inside the Match-up: The Illini advanced to the WNIT quarterfinals with a 63-55 win at Toledo on March 28. Kansas State defeated Ball State 60-48 on March 28. Illinois enters the game 19-13 overall after going 9-7 and tying for fifth place in the Big Ten. The Wildcats are back above .500 for the first time since Feb. 23 at 18-17. K-State started the season 7-0 before losing three straight games. After consecutive wins, KSU lost four of its next five. The Wildcats beat TCU and Oklahoma State, but lost nine of their last 11 Big 12 games to go 5-13 in conference play. K-State beat Texas in the first round of the Big 12 tournament before losing to top-ranked Baylor. KSU has beaten Texas Southern, Illinois State and Ball State in the WNIT, all in Manhattan.The Wildcats are 11-6 at home this season, 7-1 against non-conference foes.
Illinois Against Postseason Squads: The Illini are 6-1 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, Eastern Illinois in the second round and Toledo in the third 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-Kansas State contest will advance to the WNIT semifinals to face the winner of Saturday's Utah-St. Mary's game, which is being played at St. Mary's. The semifinal contest will be played on April 3 or 4 at a site and time to be determined.
Illini Make 2013 the Longest Season in Program History: With its win at Toledo on March 28, Illinois made the 2012-13 the longest in school history by total number of days. The Illini have been playing for 140 days this season, which narrowly edges the 2007-08 campaign (139 days).
Illini Break Big Ten Steals Record: Illinois broke the Big Ten record for steals in a season with its 10th steal at Toledo in the third round of the WNIT on March 28. The Illini finished the game with 13 steals and now have 408 on the season, besting the previous record of 404 by Purdue's 2000-01 team.
Orange & Blue Tie Treys Mark: Head coach Matt Bollant's offensive philosophy is to maximize the number of three-pointers and layups his team gets, and the Illini have lived up to that creed this year. Illinois tied the school record for made three-pointers in a season with six treys at Toledo on Thursday, equaling the 2007-08 squad's 181 triples. But that team required 35 games to reach that mark, whereas this year's team will be playing its 33rd game on Saturday at Kansas State.
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 nine rebounds against Eastern Illinois on March 25, she passed Cindy Dallas for second on Illinois' all-time rebounding list with 1,023. Penn also passed Lisa Robinson for fourth place on the all-time scoring chart with her 19 points against the Panthers and now has 1,945. She is 40 points from passing Jonelle Polk for third on the list.
Moore Re-Writes History: Junior Amber Moore, playing in the postseason for the first time in her career, has thrived in the WNIT, averaging 19.7 points and 4.0 three-pointers per game. She also has broken the Illinois single-season record for three-pointers attempted with 230 (previously 221 by Krista Reinking in 1995-96) and, with her five treys at Toledo, tied Lori Bjork's 84 three-pointers in the 2006-07 campaign. Moore also broke the UI career attempted treys record against Eastern Illinois and is 10 shy of breaking Bjork's career three-pointers made record, as she has 205 and the record is 214.
Illini Do It With Defense: After allowing 67.3 points per game during the regular season, Illinois has cranked up the defense in the postseason. In three WNIT games, the Illini are allowing only 56.3 ppg and are holding opponents to 35.0 percent shooting after foes hit 42.1 percent during the regular season. Illinois also is continuing its season-long trend of forcing turnovers, averaging 23.7 turnovers forced and 12.7 steals per game in the WNIT.
Illini in the WNIT
Illini Against the WNIT Field
Scouting The Wildcats
Kansas State has an RPI of 57 according to WarrenNolan.com and a schedule strength of 11. The Wildcats struggled in Big 12 play, going 5-13 in the nation's toughest conference.
The Wildcats are 12-2 all-time in the WNIT, winning the 2006 tournament and advancing to the semifinals in 2007. KSU also participated in the tournament in 1999. K-State is 12-0 in WNIT home games and has averaged 1,280 fans over three WNIT home games this season.
Kansas State has been led by All-Big 12 first-team selection Brittany Chambers all season, as the senior guard is averaging a team-high 21.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Chambers has drained an astounding 111 three-pointers, shooting 38 percent from distance, while averaging 37.0 minutes per game.
K-State has been decimated by injuries, with five players missing the last 14 games with season-ending injuries. As a result, the Wildcats have only three active players who stand 5-10 or taller and none above 6-feet tall. KSU's roster is only seven players deep, and its two reserves average only 3.7 points per game. As a result of their height disadvantage, the Wildcats are averaging a -4.1 rebounding margin.
Kansas State Series History
Last Time Out: Toledo
Illinois tied the single-season school record for made three-pointers with 181, equaling the 2007-08 squad's total in three more games. Moore's five treys also ties Lori Bjork's single-season record of 84 three-pointers and leaves her 10 shy of breaking Bjork's career record. And her 10 attempts gives her the single-season three-pointers attempted record, breaking Krista Reinking's record.
Penn also broke the single-season school record for offensive rebounds with four on Thursday, giving her 123 and passing Tauja Catchings. And Penn tied Ashley Berggren's school record for free throws made in a season (175) by going 9-of-13 at the line against the Rockets.