Dec. 3, 2013
Illinois Probable Starters
||Has 5+ assists in 4 of 5 games
||Has 2 20-point games in 2013-14
||Returned from foot injury at Cancun Challenge
||Ranked 4th in NCAA in 3FG/game
||T-3rd in the Big Ten in steals/game
...3-3 all-time in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge
...looking for its third-straight Big Ten/ACC Challenge win
...playing its first of two games in Georgia in December
...leading the Big Ten in steals (13.0 pg) & turnover margin (+7.6)
Illini Scoring with the Best of Them: While Illinois' offensive production slowed a bit against stiffer competition at the Cancun Challenge, the Illini still rank 35th nationally in scoring offense through games of Dec. 1 at 80.4 points per game. The Orange and Blue have topped 80 points four times - after accomplishing the feat only six times in 2012-13 - and have reached 70 points in six of eight games.
Moore B1G POW: Senior guard/forward Amber Moore was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Nov. 18 after averaging 25.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game in three Illini wins the previous week. She dominated against Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 14, scoring 27 and pulling down a career-high 19 rebounds, scored 23 and hauled in seven boards against Valparaiso on Nov. 12, and capped the week with a 25-point performance in only 23 minutes against Alcorn State on Nov. 21. It was Moore's first career weekly honor.
Records Fall Against Alcorn State: Illinois broke the school record for margin of victory with its 84-point win over Alcorn State on Nov. 17, and the Lady Braves' 10-point second-half output also broke the State Farm Center mark for fewest points in a half. ASU's 15.21 field-goal percentage was the worst by an Illini opponent in school history and the Braves' seven field goals were the second-fewest by an Illini opponent.
Moore the All-Time Three-Point Leader: With four treys on Nov. 12, Amber Moore broke the school record for career three-point field goals made. Moore now sits in first place with 237 career treys, surpassing Lori Bjork's 214. Last year, Moore broke school records for three-pointers made in a season and three-pointers attempted in a season and a career. She currently ranks fourth nationally with 3.75 treys per game, and hitting them at a 40-percent clip, well above her career 34.6 percentage heading into this season.
Starters Carry Scoring Load: Four of Illinois' starting five are averaging at least 10.9 points per game. With the squad averaging 80.4 points per game, the starters are scoring 79.6 percent of the points.
Fearsome Foursome Leads the Way: Amber Moore has registered double figures in each of the Illini's first eight games, while Jacqui Grant has accomplished the feat seven times. Ivory Crawford has six double-digit scoring performances, including Illinois' first five games, and Sarah Hartwell has done it five times. Moore ranks fourth in the Big Ten in scoring average (18.9 ppg) and leads the league in three-pointers made (30, 3.8 per game). Crawford is 19th in the league in scoring average (13.5) and Grant is 22nd (13.1).
Crawford Producing Consistently: While she may be overshadowed by Amber Moore's blisteringly hot start to the season, Ivory Crawford has been a consistent presence for the Illini. The junior guard is averaging 13.5 points per game and has scored in double digits six times, with a season high of 24 against Bradley on Nov. 8. She also is averaging 5.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals in 25.6 minutes per game.
Grant Will Not Surrender: Freshman forward Jacqui Grant has started her Illini career on a strong note, averaging 13.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game over the first eight, including a double-double in the season-opener against Bradley. The Park Ridge, Ill., native scored 12 points and pulled down 14 boards, including 10 offensive rebounds, in 27 minutes against the Braves. Her 10 offensive boards are tied for fourth-most in a game in school history. Grant is replacing Karisma Penn in the middle, who finished second in school history with 42 career double-doubles and had 14 last season.
Scouting the Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech, which is receiving votes in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, is 4-2 entering Wednesday's game after winning two games in Brooklyn, N.Y., as part of the LIU Turkey Classic. The Yellow Jackets' two losses have come to No. 4 Tennessee and No. 23 Georgia.
Tech has three players averaging double figures, led by freshman guard Kaela Davis' 18.8 ppg. Senior guard Tyaunna Marshall is next with 13.8 ppg and junior guard Sydney Wallace is averaging 10.7 ppg.
Georgia Tech received six votes in this week's Associated Press poll after their solid start. The Jackets went 14-16 a year ago, including a 7-11 ACC record. Georgia Tech is a young team, with eight freshmen and sophomores among a 13-player roster.
Illinois guard Sarah Hartwell began her college career at Georgia Tech in 2011-12 before transferring to UI last season. Hartwell played only 38 minutes over 10 games for the Ramblin' Wreck that season on a team that reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
Series History Against Georgia Tech
Illinois is 0-1 all-time against the Yellow Jackets, with the only meeting a 70-60 Georgia Tech victory in the 1995 Comfort Inn Downtown Classic, which the Ramblin' Wreck hosted at The Omni in Atlanta.
Illini in Big Ten/ACC Challenge
Illinois is 3-3 all-time in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and has won its last two games in the event, 95-82 over Wake Forest in 2012 and 61-50 at Clemson in 2011. The Illini's only other win in the challenge came at Wake Forest in 2009. The Big Ten is 0-5-1 all-time against the ACC, as the two leagues split 12 games in 2011 and the ACC took a narrow 7-5 victory last season. Over the entirety of the past two seasons, the two conferences have played 37 times and the Big Ten holds a 19-18 advantage.
Moore Deadly From the Stripe
While Amber Moore is more widely known as a three-point shooter, she is even better from 15 feet. The senior is currently the only player in the Big Ten to remain perfect from the free-throw line this season, as she is 19-of-19 from the stripe. She does not appear in the NCAA stat rankings because she falls just below the minimum number of attempts (2.5 per team game, which equals 20 free throws through eight games), but only Northern Colorado's Stephanie Lee meets the minimum with a perfect mark, as she is 11-of-11 after having played in four of five games for the Bears.
Moore Than Just A Shooter
On Nov. 14, Amber Moore proved that she not only can be a major scoring threat for the illini, but also can dictate the rebounding battle as well. The senior captured a career-high 19 rebounds, blowing by her previous best of 10. In fact, her 19 rebounds tied the eighth highest single game total in Illinois history. The last Illini to accomplish 19 rebounds in a game was Karisma Penn vs. Georgia on Dec. 28, 2012, which also marked Penn's career high.
Moore History to be Made
Last season, Amber Moore put her name in the Illini record book when she broke the school record for three-point field goals made in a season with 86, besting the original mark of 84 mady by Lori Bjork (2006-07). Through eight games this season, Moore already has 30 total treys, good for a 3.8 average per game. At that rate, Moore is on pace to surpass her own record with 114 three-pointers. Heading into the season, Moore already held UI records for career and season three-pointers attempted, and season three-pointers made.
Been Caught Stealing
Last season, Illinois set a single-season school record when they recorded 417 total steals through 33 games. Through eight games this year, the Illini are averaging 13.0 steals per game. Jacqui Grant's 20 steals are a team high, while Amber Moore is right on her heels with 18. Taylor Gleason has 14, while Ivory Crawford and Sarah Hartwell each have 11.
Meanwhile, the Orange and Blue are creating 24.0 turnovers per game while only making 16.4 of their own, good for a turnover margin of +7.6, which leads the Big Ten by 2.0 turnovers per game.
Illini Bomb Squad Back At It
After breaking school records for three-pointers made (184) and attempted (634) in a season in 2012-13, the Illini picked up where they left off. So far, Illinois is averaging 6.5 treys per game and has hit 10 or more threes in three games. Illinois drained 12-of-27 three-pointers at Bradley on Nov. 9, tying the single-game school record and marking the Illini's most three-pointers made in a loss in school history. They nearly tied that mark again on Nov. 14 against Mississippi Valley State, converting 11 threes on 26 attempts, then hit 10-of-22 against Alcorn State on Nov. 17.
Before Matt Bollant arrived in Champaign, Illinois had hit 10 or more treys in a game seven times. During his 41-game tenure with the Illini, they have already matched that, hitting 10+ three-pointers seven times.
Home Sweet Home
The Illini currently sit undefeated at home with a 4-0 record and have won six straight home games. Illinois is averaging a prolific 92.5 points inside State Farm Center. Last season, the Illini went 11-7 under Bollant at home and won six of their last seven home games, meaning Illinois now has won 10 of its last 11 home games.
Moore Joins 1,000-Point Club
With 151 points through four games, Moore became the 26th player to cross the 1,000 point barrier. Moore's 1,142 career points lands the senior in the No. 19 spot on the Illinois career points total list, 25 points from passing Lacey Simpson for 18th place.
Bollant Signs Second Top-25 Class
Head coach Matt Bollant announced the addition of three players to the Illini squad for the 2014-15 season on Nov. 13. Chatrice White, Amarah Coleman and Brooke Kissinger all signed their national letters of intent with the Illini today.
The Collegiate Girls Bsketball Report has the class ranked 23rd overall in the NCAA, with two top-100 recruits. The class is also ranked third in the Big Ten, only behind Ohio State (1) and Nebraska (2).
White is ESPN HoopGurlz' No. 27 player nationally in the class of 2014 and the No. 4 post player. Coleman is ranked No. 81 overall and is the No. 19 point guard in the class, while Kissinger is the No. 18 guard nationally. White and Kissinger - who both hail from Nebraska - play for the same AAU team, the Cornhusker Shooting Stars, while Coleman is a native of Bolingbrook, Ill., and currently attends Homewood-Flossmoor High School. Coleman is the step-sister of Fighting Illini men's basketball freshman guard Jaylon Tate.