Women’s team hopes to rebound

By Sultan Abdul-Ahad

The Illini women face another tough game this weekend as they travel to Minneapolis to take on the 12th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers at Williams Arena.

The Illini (11-5, 3-3) come into the game off of a 20-point loss to Michigan State on Wednesday. Despite that loss, head coach Therea Grentz did find something positive from her team’s play.

“We did some good things with their size,” she said.

In that game, they had to deal with Michigan State’s 6-4 center Kelly Roehrig, who ended up with 13 points and 11 rebounds in that game.

On Sunday, they face an even tougher test in defending Minnesota’s 6-2 center Janel McCarville. She was the preseason pick for Big Ten Player of the Year after averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds last year.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

This year, with all the extra attention she is receiving from opposing teams, she is averaging 14.9 points and a Big Ten leading 10.3 rebounds a game, while shooting almost 50 percent from the field. She is also second in the Big Ten in blocks averaging 2.6 a game.

“She is more mobile and quicker than Roehrig. She can dribble and move all over the floor to where Roehrig is more of a stationary player,” said Illinois junior Brittany Daugherty.

The Gophers, a surprise Final Four team last year, enter the game with an overall record of 14-3 including an 8-1 record at home. Their one loss at home came against a then No. 1 ranked LSU team 75-67.

If the Illini women choose to revolve their defense around containing McCarville, they will have to deal with junior guard Shannon Schonrock and freshman forward Jaime Brobeck who are averaging 10.8 and 13.2 points a game consecutively.

One of the Illini’s main problems is its lack of a third scoring threat. Angelina Williams is the team’s leading scorer and second in the Big Ten with an average of 18.9 points a game and Tiffanie Guthrie is second on the team with an average of 15.6. The next leading scorer is Erin Wigley with an average of 8.7 points a game.

“Angelina and Tiffanie still have some work to do. I need them all to step up,” Grentz said.

If the Illini are to have a chance against the Gophers, they will need a dramatic improvement at the offensive end of the floor.

“We have to focus on offense, mainly with penetration and creating open shots,” said Daugherty.

Grentz put it into more simple terms.

“We have to score,” she said.