Guthrie a leadrer on, off court

By Derek Barichello

Not only does senior guard Tiffanie Guthrie average 17.9 points per game in Big Ten play, the fourth-best scoring average in the conference, she is also one of the Illini’s leaders on and off the court.

In last Sunday’s loss to No. 11 Minnesota, Guthrie poured in 28 points to lead the game in scoring.

It was not her point production that demonstrated her character, but the fact that when the Illini fell behind by double digits, Guthrie scored 12 of the team’s 14 points in a stretch of 10:24.

The Minnesota game was an example of what kind of player Guthrie is. In that game only four Illini players managed to score. When the team morale was down, Guthrie kept battling.

“Tiffanie is everything you want if you are going into ‘battle,'” said head coach Theresa Grentz. “Tiffanie has always been there for me. That is what makes her an outstanding person to play with and to coach. She’s always going to make the best of every situation.”

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When the Illini need a valuable bucket, Guthrie said she steps up her game and takes responsibility to score for her team.

“When it comes to crunch time, it’s a matter of stepping up,” Guthrie said. “(Angelina Williams and I) take responsibility and understand our role on the team. Our teammates depend on us.”

Guthrie does more for the Illini than score – she is one of the team’s leaders. Her leadership style, though, is more subtle than vocal.

“She’s a terrific leader, because she leads by example,” Grentz said. “She’s not all talk. She practices what she talks about.”

Guthrie’s character is just as strong off the court as it is on.

“She is everything you could possibly want in a daughter,” Grentz said.

Grentz said that she has even received phone calls about Guthrie from teams in the WNBA interested in her playing for them next season.

“If there is a team that needs a particular fit and she meets that team’s needs, there is a possibility,” Grentz said. “With business the way it is and the salary cap, if a team needs a certain fit, it is easy to get a rookie to come in and fill that.”