Karisma Penn was named espnW national player of the week and Big Ten player of the week on Monday.
Dec. 31, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Senior forward Karisma Penn (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights) was named espnW's national player of the week and the Big Ten player of the week on Monday after leading the Fighting Illini to a 70-59 win over previously unbeaten and No. 6 Georgia with 27 points and a career-high 19 rebounds on Dec. 28.
Penn also broke Illinois' career blocked shots record with two blocks in that game, passing Jenna Smith. Penn's double-double was the seventh of the year and 35th of her career.
It is the first national player of the week honor of Penn's career and her first conference player of the week laurel this season. It is the fifth time in Penn's career that she has been named Big Ten player of the week and marks Illinois' first Big Ten player of the week honor since Penn earned it on Feb. 14, 2012.
The win over the Lady Bulldogs was Illinois' second-straight over a ranked opponent and marked the highest-ranked foe that the Illini had beaten in nearly 13 years, since topping then-No. 5 Georgia on Jan. 2, 2000.
Penn scored 13 of Illinois' first 31 points against the Lady Bulldogs and really took over in the final 10 minutes, scoring 11 points in a 13-5 run that turned the game from a 52-52 tie into a 65-57 Illinois lead with 3:20 left in the game. She made 3-of-4 free throws and converted two key three-point plays during that run, including one that fouled out Georgia star Jasmine Hassell with 4:36 remaining.
Penn is averaging 10.8 rebounds per game, which is 2.0 boards better than the next-best rebounder in the Big Ten, and she ranks third in the league in scoring at 19.8 points per game. She is one of only five players in the nation to average 19.5 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game through Sunday's games.