Women's Basketball
Game 12 Notes: Illinois vs. #6/7 Georgia

Sophomore Alexis Smith ranks second in the Big Ten in assists per game with 6.2.
Sophomore Alexis Smith ranks second in the Big Ten in assists per game with 6.2.

Dec. 26, 2012

 Game 12: Illinois (6-5) vs. Georgia (12-0)
 When Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 | 7 p.m. CT
 Location Champaign, Ill. | Assembly Hall (16,618)
 Tickets $5 | Call 1-866-ILLINI-1 or purchase at the door
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 Radio WDWS AM-1400 (Champaign-Urbana) & WDAN AM-1490 | Listen
 Live Stats Gametracker | Mobile Stats
 Printable Game Notes Illinois
 Season Stats Illinois | Georgia | Big Ten
 Series History Georgia leads 2-1
 Last Meeting Georgia 100, Illinois 59 (Jan. 4, 2001, in Athens, Ga.)
 Streak Lost 1
 Social Media @IlliniWBB   |  #Illini   |  Facebook | YouTube

Illinois Probable Starters
Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG Note
G 23 Alexis Smith 5-9 So. 9.0 11.6 2nd in B1G in assists per game (6.2)
G 42 Amber Moore 5-11 Jr. 13.8 9.1 3rd in B1G in 3FG made per game (3.1)
G 22 Ivory Crawford 5-10 So. 15.3 4.7 Scoring up 8.7 ppg from 2011-12
F 44 Kersten Magrum 6-1 Jr. 6.1 8.1 Averaging 8.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg in last 3 games
F 00 Karisma Penn 6-2 Sr. 19.2 12.3 Needs 2 blocks to break Jenna Smith's UI record

Quick Hits
• Friday's Game:
The Fighting Illini (6-5) host No. 6/7 Georgia (12-0) at the Assembly Hall on Friday, Illinois' first game since a 69-68 loss to Illinois State on Dec. 21 and only the Illini's second game in 16 days. Illinois has won two of its last three games and will finish non-conference play with at least a .500 record for the first time since 2009-10, when the Illini went 8-2 prior to Big Ten play. Illinois advanced to the WNIT quarterfinals that season, its last postseason appearance.

• Illini Look to Upend Lady Dogs: Illinois eyes its second-straight victory over a ranked opponent when it faces Georgia on Friday. The Illini topped No. 10 Ohio State 66-65 on Feb. 9, 2012, in Champaign, Illinois' last game against a ranked opponent. That win snapped a 20-game losing streak to ranked foes that dated back to 2008. Illinois is 41-167 all-time against ranked opponents and 28-67 at home.

• Offense Thrives Under Bollant: The Illini rank third in the Big Ten in scoring (through games of Dec. 23), averaging 73.6 points per game, and also rank 29th nationally (through games of Dec. 16). Through 11 games, the Orange and Blue are averaging 11.2 ppg more than last season's first 11 games scoring average of 62.4.

• A Little Help From Their Friends: Illinois also ranks among the Big Ten and national leaders in assists per game, standing third in the conference (as of Dec. 23) at 16.1 apg and ranking 23rd in the country (as of Dec. 17) at 16.5 apg. The Illini are led by sophomore Alexis Smith's 6.2 assists per game, which is second in the Big Ten and 14th nationally. Junior Amber Moore also ranks 12th in the Big Ten with 3.5 apg, meaning the duo accounts for 59.8 percent of Illinois' assists.

• Penn Does It All: Senior forward Karisma Penn leads the Big Ten in rebounding and blocked shots, ranks fifth in scoring and field-goal percentage, and is tied for seventh in steals, making her the only player in the conference to rank in the top 10 in all five categories. She also is one of only six players in the country to average at least 19.0 points per game and 10.0 rebounds per game. A career 13.9 ppg scorer, Penn is up to 19.2 ppg so far this year. For more on Penn's strong start to her final season, see page 4.

• Moore is Better: Junior guard Amber Moore also has increased her productivity under first-year head coach Matt Bollant, averaging 13.8 points per game after entering the season with a career average of 9.2 ppg. Moore is averaging 3.1 three-point field goals per game, third-best in the Big Ten, and ranks fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9:1). She also is among conference leaders (top 15) in scoring, assists, steals and minutes played. For more on her strong play this season, see page 5.

Scouting The Lady Bulldogs
Georgia is one of only seven remaining unbeaten teams in Division I women's basketball, along with Colorado, Connecticut, Dayton, Duke, Oklahoma State and Stanford. It marks the sixth time in head coach Andy Landers' 34-year career as the Lady Dogs' head coach that Georgia has started 12-0.

• The Lady Bulldogs were picked to finish second in the Southeastern Conference in the preseason conference coaches' poll, behind Kentucky.

• Balance has been the key to the Lady Dogs' attack so far this season, as nine players are averaging between 15.7 and 24.6 minutes per game, and Jasmine James' 33-minute outing against Rutgers is the longest by a Georgia player this season. As a result, six Lady Bulldogs are averaging 7.9 points per game or more.

• Georgia has made a habit of running opponents out of the gym so far this year, out-scoring foes by an average of 28.1 points per game. The Lady Dogs have had only two games decided by 10 or fewer points: a 60-50 win at Georgia Tech (Dec. 2) and a 57-51 win over Rutgers to open the season (Nov. 11). Georgia has won seven of its 12 games by 30-plus points.

Georgia Series History
Georgia leads the all-time series with the Illini by a 2-1 margin, scoring a 100-59 win in Athens in 2001 and a 103-64 victory in Athens in the second round of the 1986 NCAA Tournament. The Illini's lone victory was an 82-65 triumph in Champaign in 2000. Illinois is 1-3 against the Southeastern Conference over the last three years, beating Alabama on Nov. 29, 2009, before falling to South Carolina in each of the past two years and Mississippi on Nov. 28, 2010.

Last Meeting with Georgia
Georgia led by 30 at halftime and cruised to a 100-59 iwn over the Fighting Illini in Athens, Ga., on Jan. 4, 2001. Allison Curtin recorded her second-straight double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Anne O'Neil poured in a team-high 17 points. Dawn Vana and Cindy Dallas each added seven rebounds for Illinois. The Illini shot 57 percent from the floor in the second half, but Georgia got 24 points off the bench from Christi Thomas and 23 from Coco Miller. The Lady Bulldogs scored 41 points off 29 Illini turnovers while committing only 12 turnovers themselves.

Last Time Out: Illinois State
Alexis Smith's three-pointer just before the buzzer rimmed out as Illinois State escaped with a 69-68 in front of a season-high crowd of 1,973 at the Assembly Hall on Dec. 21. Illinois State's Jamie Russell nailed a pair of free throws and Illinois' Karisma Penn missed a pair with 37 seconds left in the game, but Penn recorded one of her six blocked shots on ISU's final possession to give Illinois one last shot. Penn led the Illini with 22 points and 15 rebounds, and Amber Moore added 13 points, all in the first half.

Illini in NCAA Stats
Illinois continues to rank among the national leaders in a handful of statistical categories, through games of Dec. 16. The Illini stand 23rd in assists per game (16.5) and 29th in scoring offense (74.2 ppg).

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 11th nationally in three-point field goals made per game (3.2) and 46th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.95:1).

Senior Karisma Penn ranks 25th nationally in blocked shots per game (2.5), 17th in double-doubles (5), 33rd in points per game (19.1) and 42nd in field-goal percentage (53.1 percent).

Illinois Flexing Its Offensive Muscles
Through 11 games, Illinois is averaging 73.6 points per game, which ranks third in the Big Ten (as of Dec. 23) and 29th nationally (as of Dec. 16).

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.

The Orange and Blue have topped 80 points in five of their six wins and have scored 70-plus points in seven of 11 games to this point, besting the number of times that Illinois reached the 80-point (two) and 70-point (six) marks last season. Illinois also is averaging 78.2 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.