The Illini topped Marquette in last year's WNIT
Dec. 20, 2010
ON THE AIR
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Marquette leads 4-2 overall and 3-0 in Milwaukee
Last Meeting: Illinois 74, Marquette 72 on March 22, 2010 in Champaign in the second round of the WNIT
Illinois: Jolette Law, 54-57 overall and at Illinois (fourth season)
Marquette: Terri Mitchell, 281-164 overall and at Marquette (15th season)
Tip-off: The Fighting Illini travel to Milwaukee, Wis., on Tuesday to tangle with Marquette at noon. The Golden Eagles are hosting Milwaukee Public Schools Day at the Al Maguire Center and are expecting over 3,000 students representing 25 schools at the game.
Penn POW: Sophomore forward Karisma Penn earned Big Ten Co-Player of the Week accolades after registering her sixth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds Saturday vs. UIC. She also tied the UI single-game blocked shots record with seven swats against the Flames.
Among the Nation's Best: Karisma Penn's six double-doubles is tied for the most in the most in the Big Ten and the eighth-most in the NCAA this season. Her 3.0 blocks per game this year ranks second in the conference and 11th in the nation.
Balanced attack: While Penn leads the Illini in scoring at 16.4 ppg, the rest of the roster is incredibly balanced in terms of scoring. Seven players average at least 6.0 ppg and eight UI players score between 4.8 and 9.0 ppg.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN EAGLES
Marquette is off to a 9-2 start this season and is a perfect 7-0 at home. The Golden Eagles have already beaten two Big Ten foes, topping Michigan at home, 63-49, and winning at Wisconsin, 66-52. Their two losses are at Creighton, 63-61, and at #1 UConn, 79-47. MU has won two straight entering Tuesday's game, beating #23 Green Bay, 63-60, and UNC-Asheville, 75-46, since the loss to UConn. Marquette was picked finish 10th out of 16 teams in the preseason Big East coaches poll after going 17-16 last season.
The Golden Eagles are led by preseason All-Big East pick Angel Robinson, who is averaging 14.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.4 steals per game. Forward Paige Fiedorowicz is also averaging double-figures at 11.1 ppg, while reserve guard Courtney Weibel (7.0 ppg) just broke the MU single-game three-point record with eight treys against UNC-Asheville. Marquette is a veteran team, as five of their top seven scorers are seniors.
The Illinois-Marquette Series: Marquette owns a 4-2 advantage over the Illini in the all-time series, including a 3-0 edge in Milwaukee. The two teams split two meeting last season, both at Assembly Hall in Champaign. The Golden Eagles won 65-55 in Champaign on Dec. 9, but the Illini avenged the loss with a 74-72 overtime win in the second round of the WNIT in March. Three of the last four meetings between Illinois and Marquette have come in the WNIT. Prior to last year's Illini win, MU won 72-64 in 2008 and 64-44 in 2006, both in Milwaukee.
THE UNITED CENTER - A HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Illinois improved to 8-3 all-time the United Center after this year's win over UIC. The Illini have won six their last seven games at the home of the NBA's Chicago Bulls by an average of nearly 29 points. The Illini played one game at the United Center for 10 consecutive years from 1999-2008 and then returned there this year to play sister-school UIC there after a one-year hiatus.
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 already has six double-doubles this season and has established new career-highs in points (30), rebounds (14) and blocked shots (7). Overall, Penn is averaging 16.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks, totals that rank sixth, third and second in the Big Ten, respectively, and 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 11 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 33 so far this season to bring her career total to 90, sixth-best on the UI career list.
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. 90 Karisma Penn 2009- 7. 88 Casey Leonhardt 1996-98 8. 83 Cindy Dallas 1998-04 9. 74 Tauja Catchings 1996-00 10. 70 Iveta Marcauskaite 2000-02WHERE ARE THE SENIORS?
LAST TIME OUT: ILLINI AT HOME IN CHICAGO
Illinois got back to its winning ways at the United Center with a 65-56 win over sister-school Illinois-Chicago on Dec. 18. The Illini never trailed and led comfortably most of the way to improve to 5-6 this season and 8-3 all-time at the UC.
The Orange and Blue controlled the game from the start, jumping out to a 15-2 lead early behind strong play from Penn and sophomore Adrienne GodBold, who each had seven points in the first eight minutes. The Illini closed the half on a high note when Lydia McCully went coast-to-coach for a lay-up at the halftime buzzer to give Illinois 35-21 lead at the break.
Illinois cruised in the second half, leading by as many as 18 with six minutes left before UIC made a late run to cut it to single digits. Redshirt freshman Amber Moore hit four free throws in the final seconds to close out the victory.
Moore (11 points, six rebounds) and GodBold (10 points, three assists) joined Penn in double-figures, while McCully finished with nine points, six rebounds and three assists. Freshman Centrese McGee (six points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals), sophomore Eboni Mitchell (six points) and sophomore Lana Rukavina (5 points, three rebounds) also played a big hand in the victory.
Illinois has now won 11 straight against UIC and six of its last seven at the United Center.
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 19.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game thus far. New on the sidelines are assistant coaches Michael Peck and Usha Gilmore.
MAGRUM GETTING CLOSE
Sophomore forward Kersten Magrum could return soon after missing the first 11 games a stress injury in her foot. She had surgery on Nov. 10 to fix the problem and hopes to return in late December prior to Big Ten play. Magrum emerged as a key player for the Illini during the second half of last season, starting the last 15 games and averaging 6.9 points per game during that span.