Adrienne GodBold is one of five Illini who hail from the Chicago area.
Dec. 17, 2010
ON THE AIR
Radio: Live on WDWS-AM 1400 and online at fightingillini.com (pay), Dave Loane and Mike Koon
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Illinois leads 13-3 overall and has won the last 10 meetings
Last Meeting: Illinois 69, UIC 57 on Dec. 2, 2007 in Champaign.
Illinois: Jolette Law, 53-57 overall and at Illinois (fourth season)
UIC: Lisa Rychbosch, 118-127 overall at UIC (ninth season)
Tip-off: The Fighting Illini will take the court for the first time since Dec. 8 when they face sister-school Illinois-Chicago Saturday at the United Center in Chicago. Illinois is returning to the United Center for the 11th time in the last 12 years after not playing a game there last year for the first time since 1998-99. The Illini are coming off an overtime loss at Oakland followed by a nine-day break for final exams.
Let's Play Two: Saturday's game vs. UIC will be the front end of a doubleheader with the Fighting Illini men, who face the UIC men at 1 p.m. Both games will be on a single ticket. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at 312-559-1212.
The United Center -- A Home Away From Home: Illinois is 7-3 all-time at the home of the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks, and has won five its last six games there by an average of nearly 33 points. The Illini played one game at the United Center for nine consecutive years from 1999-2008 before not having one there last year. The Illini dropped their most recent meeting at the United Center, falling to Bradley in 2008.
Past Illini United Center games: 12/18/99 Kansas W 61-59 12/16/00 DePaul L 63-65 12/8/01 Pepperdine W 77-72 (OT) 12/14/02 Mississippi St. L 67-72 12/6/03 Illinois State W 85-51 12/11/04 Pacific W 74-31 12/3/05 Saint Louis W 75-40 12/9/06 Rhode Island W 73-48 12/8/07 Chicago State W 73-46 12/6/08 Bradley L 53-71SCOUTING THE FLAMES
The Flames are led by current Horizon League Player of the Week Shameia Green and preseason first team All-Conference selection Jasmine Bailey. A 5-7 guard, Green scored 32 points and hit 12-of-15 from the field in the loss at EIU. For the season, she is leading the team in scoring (14.3 ppg). Bailey is a 5-8 guard who is second on the team in scoring (12.5 ppg) and first in rebounding (9.0 rpg). Briana Hinkle, a 5-7 guard, is also averaging double-figures at 11.6 ppg and has a team-high 26 assists.
The Illini-UIC Series: Illinois leads the series 13-3 overall and has won the last 10 meetings against the Flames. UIC's three wins versus the Illini came in consecutive years from 1977-79, but it has been all Illinois since then. The two teams have met just twice since 1994, with Illinois winning 53-48 in Chicago in 2006 and 69-57 in Champaign in 2007.
Local Connections: Illinois has five players on its roster from the Chicago area in Adrienne GoldBold (Marshall HS), Kersten Magrum (Lincoln-Way East), Centrese McGee (Thornton Fractional North), Lana Rukavina (Wheeling HS) and Courtney Owens (York HS). UIC, meanwhile, has Champaign native and Central HS graduate Kierra Robinson on its roster.
PENN STEPPING UP
Sophomore Karisma Penn has stepped up as Illinois' go-to player this year in the absence of Jenna Smith and Lacey Simpson, last year's Illini senior stars. Penn poured in a career-high 30 points against Cal Poly and then had a career-high 14 rebounds later in the week against Ole Miss. Overall, Penn is averaging 16.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks and has five double-doubles through 10 games, a significant increase in production from last year when she averaged 10.9 points, 5.5 boards and 1.7 blocks to earn Big Ten All-Freshman accolades. The key for Penn is staying in the game, as she has played less than 25 minutes three times this season due to foul trouble and has fouled out of two games.
Only 10 games into her sophomore season, Penn is already climbing up the UI career blocks list. After breaking the UI freshman record with 57 swats last year, Penn has added 26 so far this season to bring her career total to 83, tied for seventh-best on the UI career list. She needs five to catch Casey Leonhardt for sixth.
ILLINOIS CAREER BLOCKED SHOT LEADERS 1. 231 Jenna Smith 2006-10 2. 163 Lacey Simpson 2005-10 3. 156 Kendra Gantt 1981-85 4. 135 Jonelle Polk 1983-87 5. 112 Angelina Williams 2001-05 6. 88 Casey Leonhardt 1996-98 7. 83 Karisma Penn 2009- 83 Cindy Dallas 1998-04 9. 74 Tauja Catchings 1996-00 10. 70 Iveta Marcauskaite 2000-02WHERE ARE THE SENIORS?
LAST TIME OUT: ILLINI DROP HEARTBREAKER
Sophomore Karisma Penn had 24 points, 12 rebounds, but it wasn't enough as the Fighting Illini dropped a 62-61 overtime heartbreaker at Oakland on Dec. 8. The Golden Grizzlies scored on a putback bucket with 2.3 seconds left to take the lead and then Amber Moore's three attempt at the buzzer from just inside half court rattled in and out.
With Illinois leading 61-60 and 9.3 seconds left on the game clock and six second left on the shot clock, OU star Bethany Watterworth (29 points, eight rebounds) drew only backboard on a runner from the free throw line. She followed her shot though, grabbing the rebound on the left block and putting in a layup as the shot clock expired to provide the game-winning points with 2.3 seconds left.
That was enough time for Moore, a native of nearby Detroit, to catch a pass at midcourt, take two dribbles and launch a 35-footer that hit the backboard, the front of the rim, the backboard again and then the front of the rim again before falling harmlessly to the floor, sealing the Illini's fate.
Illinois led for most of the game, jumping out to an eight point lead early in the game before falling victim to 17 first-half turnovers. The two teams were knotted at 29 after junior guard Macie Blinn hit a three at the halftime buzzer to tie the game up. The Illini then scored the first five points of the second half and led most of the way before seeing it tied up once again at the end of regulation.
ILLINI SPLIT "CHALLENGING" WEEK
The Fighting Illini split a pair of "challenging" games during the first week of December, falling to N.C. State on Dec. 1 in the fourth annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge before topping Colorado on the road Dec. 4 in the inaugural Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge. The Big Ten fell to 0-4 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge with a narrow 6-5 defeat this season, while the Big Ten won the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge, leading 7-5. Illinois is 2-3 all-time in conference challenge games, going 1-3 vs. the ACC and 1-0 vs. the Big 12.
A LOOK BACK AT THE RAINBOW WAHINE SHOWDOWN
The Fighting Illini went 1-2 at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown in Honolulu Nov. 26-28. Illinois topped Long Beach State in the opening round, 69-48, before falling to #14 North Carolina, 87-58, and Ole Miss, 70-61, in consecutive days. Illini Freshman Alexis Burke was named to the All-Tournament team after averaging 13.3 points per game over the weekend.
Four newcomers show up on the Fighting Illini roster this season, two players and two coaches. Jolette Law and staff welcome two freshman players to the squad in Centrese McGee (Calumet City, Ill.) and Alexis Burke (Bainbridge, Ga.), while redshirt freshman Amber Moore (Detroit, Mich.) is back in the mix after missing all but one game last season with a torn ACL. All three players have made a big impact early in the season as the three freshmen are combining to average 20.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game thus far. New on the sidelines are assistant coaches Michael Peck and Usha Gilmore.