Game 13 Notes: Illinois vs. #14 Purdue
Dec. 31, 2012
Wednesday's Game: Illinois (7-5) hosts No. 14 Purdue (11-2) at the Assembly Hall on Wednesday after upsetting No. 6 Georgia, 70-59, on Dec. 28. The Illini have won three of their last four games and are looking for wins over ranked opponents in consecutive games for the first time since 1999.
Penn Hauls in Awards: Senior forward Karisma Penn was named espnW national player of the week and Big Ten player of the week on Dec. 31 after her standout performance against No. 6 Georgia on Dec. 28. Penn scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed a career-best 19 rebounds to key Illinois' win. She also blocked two shots, becoming the Illini's career blocks record-holder. Penn scored 13 of Illinois' first 31 points in the game and 11 of the last 18.
Illini Relish Underdog Role: Illinois has won its last two games against ranked opponents after beating No. 6 Georgia on Dec. 28. Prior to that, the Illini's most recent test against a ranked foe was when Illinois topped No. 10 Ohio State, 66-65, on Feb. 9, 2012, in Champaign. That win snapped a 20-game losing streak to ranked foes that dated back to 2008. Illinois is 42-167 all-time against ranked opponents and 29-67 at home.
Reliving the Win Over #6 Georgia: The Illini jumped out to a 31-13 lead against the Lady Bulldogs and used a 13-5 run in the second half that turned a tie game into a 65-52 Illinois advantage with 3:20 remaining. The Orange and Blue forced 26 turnovers and outscored Georgia 32-18 in the paint while out-rebounding the Lady Bulldogs 42-41. The key was Illinois' defense in the second half, holding Georgia to 30 points on 29 percent shooting after halftime.
RPI Jumps After Upset: The Illini's RPI, according to RealTimeRPI.com, jumped nearly 30 spots from 113 to 85 as a result of Illinois' win over No. 6 Georgia on Dec. 28. The Orange and Blue also have faced one of the top schedules in the country, as Illinois' slate is rated No. 33. Both of those figures likely will continue to rise, as seven of the Illini's Big Ten foes have RPI figures of 61 or better.
Offense Thrives Under Bollant: The Illini rank third in the Big Ten in scoring (through games of Dec. 30), averaging 73.3 points per game, and also rank 33rd nationally. Through 12 games, the Orange and Blue are averaging 10.5 ppg more than last season's first 12 games scoring average of 62.8.
Stealing Attention: Illinois also ranks among the Big Ten leaders in steals, as its 10.4 thefts per game stand second in the conference. That is reflective of head coach Matt Bollant's emphasis on defense, as the Illini are averaging 2.1 spg more per game than through the first 12 games of last season. That also has helped the Illini in turnover margin as they stand third in the Big Ten at plus-2.6 per game.
Penn Does It All: Senior forward Karisma Penn leads the Big Ten in rebounding and blocked shots, ranks third in scoring, fifth in field-goal percentage, and seventh in steals, making her the only player in the conference to rank in the top 10 in all five categories. Penn also is the only player in the country to average 19.5 points per game, 10.5 rebounds per game and 2.5 blocks per game. A career 13.9 ppg scorer, Penn is up to 19.8 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 13.6 points per game after entering the season with a career average of 9.2 ppg. Moore is averaging 3.0 three-point field goals per game, third-best in the Big Ten, and ranks eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5:1). 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.
GodBold Returns to Action: Senior guard Adrienne GodBold made her season debut against No. 6 Georgia on Dec. 28 after missing the first half of the season for academic reasons. GodBold showed why she earned Illinois' team MVP honors last year, scoring 11 points, grabbing three rebounds and recording three steals against the Lady Bulldogs in 22 minutes before fouling out with 10 minutes remaining.
Scouting The Boilermakers
Purdue won six straight to start the season, including a 67-53 victory over a Wake Forest team that the Illini defeated 95-82. The Boilers lost to No. 2 Connecticut 91-57 on Nov. 24 before winning five in a row prior to the Notre Dame game.
The Boilers stand No. 16 in the latest RPI rankings from RealTimeRPI.com, with a schedule strength of 50. They will be the highest-ranked RPI foe the Illini have faced this year, as Georgia was No. 18 prior to Illinois' win on Dec. 28.
Purdue has four players averaging over 8.5 points per game, with junior guard Courtney Moses leading the way at 12.9 ppg. KK Houser has 11.8 ppg, Drey Mingo is at 11.5 ppg, Sam Ostarello is at 9.1 ppg and Taylor Manuel chips in 8.6 ppg off the bench.
Purdue Series History
Last Meeting with Purdue