Illini Begin Four-Game Home-Stand Against Ducks
Dec. 10, 2012
Illini Kick Off Four-Game Home-stand Against Ducks
Illinois has been one of the nation's top offensive squads thus far, ranking second in the Big Ten and 28th out of 343 Division I women's basketball teams in scoring offense with an average of 73.6 points per game. The Illini also have been quite unselfish, averaging 16.6 assists per game, which ranks third in the Big Ten and 26th nationally. Illinois also ranks second in the Big Ten with 10.3 steals per game.
The Orange and Blue have topped 80 points in four of their wins and have scored 70-plus points in six of nine games to this point, matching the number of times that Illinois reached the 70-point mark last season. Also last year, the Illini reached 80 only twice. Illinois also is averaging 79.4 points per game against teams outside the Big 12 Conference after scoring 56 against Texas Tech and 50 against Iowa State.
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.
Scouting The Ducks
Oregon has been hammered by injuries lately, as sophomore Amanda Delgado missed Sunday's game against Nevada and will miss Wednesday's matchup with a knee injury suffered in practice. That is in addition to the loss of Laura Stanulis and Lexi Petersen, two of Oregon's top five scorers at the time of their season-ending injuries. Key returners Ariel Thomas and Deanna Weaver, as well as freshman Janitah Iamaleava also have been sidelined, Katelyn Loper is sitting out the season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules, and three-sport standout Liz Brenner is still with the Ducks' volleyball team, which competes in the NCAA Final Four this weekend.
The Ducks are coached by Paul Westhead, the former NBA, WNBA and Loyola Marymount men's basketball head coach known for a run-and-gun style called "The System." Westhead guided Oregon to top-15 finishes in the nation in scoring average and three-pointers made per game in 2010 and 2011.
Oregon was 15-16 last season, with a 7-11 conference record that placed them ninth in the Pac-12. The Ducks last reached the postseason in 2010, when they qualified for the WNIT. Oregon's last NCAA Tournament appearance was in 2005.
Last Meeting with Oregon
Last Time Out: Memphis
Illini in NCAA Stats
Sophomore Alexis Smith is 14th in the nation in assists per game (6.4). 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 15th nationally in three-point field goals made per game (3.11). Senior Karisma Penn ranks 26th nationally in blocked shots per game (2.56), 29th in double-doubles (4), 32nd in field-goal percentage (56.1 percent) and 35th in points per game (19.1).
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.