Game 7 Notes: Colorado (5-0) at Illinois (4-2)
Nov. 30, 2012
Illinois Welcomes Buffaloes to the Hall
Saturday's game marks the second game in three days for the Illini. It's also part of a stretch during which Illinois has three games in seven days and four in 11 days.
Illinois has topped 80 points in all four of its wins and has scored 70-plus points in five games. Last season, the Illini reached 80 points twice and 70 only six times.
The Illini's hot scoring start marks the first time since the Big Ten championship and NCAA Sweet Sixteen season of 1996-97 that the Illini have broken 80 in at least four of its first six games of a season. The '96-97 squad topped 80 in five of its first six games.
Scouting The Buffs
Colorado has played some impressive defense early in the season, holding opponents to 35 percent shooting, averaging 12.0 steals per game and recording a +3.6 turnover margin.
The Buffs have been dominant inside, out-rebounding their opponents by 11.4 per game. They also have shot only 66 3-pointers, making 20 (30.3 percent), compared to Illinois' 43-of-142 (30.3) effort on the season.
Colorado went 21-14 last year, including a 6-12 mark and a 10th-place finish in its first season in the Pac-12, reaching the WNIT quarterfinals before falling to Oklahoma State. The Buffs return four starters from 2011-12 and nine of 11 letterwinners.
Last Meeting with Colorado
Illini Well-Represented in First NCAA Stats
Individually, junior Amber Moore is fifth nationally in three-point field goals made per game (3.6) and sixth in assist/turnover ratio (4.0).
Senior Karisma Penn ranks 14th in blocked shots per game (3.2), 34th in rebounds per game (10.6) and 16th in double-doubles (3).
Sophomore Alexis Smith is 11th in assists per game (6.8).
Bollant Perfect Against Pac-12
Illini Flexing Their Offensive Muscles
Although it's early, Illinois is on pace for its best scoring season since the Illini averaged 76.2 points per game in 1999-2000, the year of UI's last NCAA victory. The Illini have not averaged 70 points per game since 2002-03, their last trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Penn Off to Fast Start
Penn is averaging a double-double on the season, 20.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Penn leads the Big Ten in rebounding, and ranks second in scoring and blocked shots (2.7 bpg).
Penn's 30- and 29-point performances are tied for the third- and fourth-most in a game among conference players. Only Minnesota's Rachel Banham, pouring in 34 vs. Washington State, and Illini teammate Ivory Crawford, who had 32 vs. Cleveland State, have more.
Penn has scored in double figures in 77 of her 102 collegiate games. She had 30 points vs. Tulsa, which marked her 26th career game with at least 20 points. Penn reached the 20-point mark just twice in all of 2011-12 with a pair of 21-point games, but has three such performances already this year.
The 30 points against Wake Forest tied the second-most in Penn's career. She also tallied 30 points vs. Cal Poly on Nov. 22, 2010, and had 33 vs. Michigan on Feb. 20, 2011.
Penn has moved into 11th on the Illinois career scoring list with 1,454. She needs 49 points to pass Tauja Catchings (1,502) for 10th on the list.
Penn's 27 field-goal attempts against Bradley were one shy of the Assembly Hall record by an Illini.
Smith Shores Up Point Guard Spot
Smith had a career night dishing the ball in Illinois' 95-82 win over Wake Forest on Nov. 29, totaling a career-high 14 assists while committing only three turnovers. Her 14 helpers mark the third-most in a game in school history.
Smith had 13 assists and four turnovers vs. Cleveland State on Nov. 18. The 13 assists are tied for the fourth-most in a game in school history.
For the season, Smith has 48 assists and 27 turnovers. She leads the nation with 8.0 assists per game.
In addition to Smith, junior teammate Amber Moore has been proficient at dishing the rock, tallying 24 assists to just six turnovers, which is tops in the Big Ten and ranks sixth in the nation.
Crawford Scores in Bunches
Against Cleveland State, Crawford was 11-of-14 from the field, 4-of-4 from three-point range, and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line.
Crawford posted a 26-point outing against Wake Forest on Nov. 29 on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line.
Last year, Crawford averaged 6.6 points per game and reached double figures nine times. She has been in double figures in five of six games this year.
Illini Put Together Bomb Squad
Illinois made 11 three-pointers (11-25) in the 84-52 victory over Evansville on Nov. 11, tied for third-most in a game in school history and the most in nearly nine years. The Illini made 12 treys in an 80-68 victory over Auburn on Dec. 29, 2003, and a 106-74 victory over Providence on Nov. 29, 1997. Illinois also sank 11 3-pointers in a 75-73 victory over Arizona on Dec. 8, 2002.
A total of six different Illinois players made threes in that game.
The Illini also made 9-of-24 three-pointers against Cleveland State and 8-of-23 against Wake Forest.