Game 8 Notes: Illinois (4-3) at Texas Tech (6-1)
Dec. 4, 2012
Illini Travel To Lubbock for Mid-Week Tilt
Illinois has been one of the nation's top offensive squads thus far, ranking second in the Big Ten and 24th out of 343 Division I women's basketball teams in scoring offense with an average of 76.1 points per game. The Illini also have been quite unselfish, averaging 17.7 assists per game, which ranks second in the Big Ten and 15th nationally. Illinois also ranks second in the Big Ten with 10.4 steals per game.
The Orange and Blue have topped 80 points in all four of its wins and have scored 70-plus points in five of seven games to this point. Last season, the Illini reached 80 twice and 70 only six times.
Included in that is a 95-point outburst against Wake Forest on Nov. 29, the highest scoring output against a BCS conference opponent since dropping 96 on Ohio State on Feb. 13, 2002.
The Illini's hot scoring start marks the first time since the Big Ten championships and NCAA Sweet Sixteen season of 1996-97 that Illinois has broken the 80-point barrier in at least four of the first six games of a campaign. The '96-97 squad topped 80 in five of its first six games.
Scouting The Lady Raiders
Texas Tech has gotten it done on the defensive end to this point, holding opponents to 49.6 points per game, 37.8 percent shooting, averaging 14.0 steals per game and a +10.1 turnover margin.
If there's an area where the Lady Raiders may be vulnerable, it's the three-point arc. Texas Tech has only hit 33-of-113 (.292) three-pointers so far this year, while the Illini have drained 47 from distance and shot 30.9 percent.
Texas Tech was 21-14 a year ago, reaching the WNIT Round of 16 for only the second time in program history. The Lady Raiders averaged 6,693 fans per game, the 11th-best attendance mark in the country.
Last Meeting with Texas Tech
Illini in NCAA Stats
Sophomore Alexis Smith is second in the nation in assists per game (7.4). In addition, her 14 assists against Wake Forest (Nov. 29), are tied for the most in a game in the nation this year, and her 13 dimes against Cleveland State on Nov. 18 are tied for the third-most in the country.
Junior Amber Moore is 11th nationally in three-point field goals made per game (3.29) and 50th in assist/turnover ratio (2.08).
Senior Karisma Penn ranks 14th nationally in double-doubles (4), 18th in blocked shots per game (2.71), 25th in field-goal percentage (58.8 percent) and 42nd in points per game (19.0).
Illinois Flexing Its 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 Tournament victory. The Illini have not averaged 70 points per game since 2002-03, their last trip to the NCAA Tournament.