Illinois takes steam out of Boilers

Online Poster

By Sultan Abdul-Ahad

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Illini pulled off an important road win as they beat the Purdue Boilermakers 66-56 Thursday night.

After the Illini built up an 8-4 lead, Purdue went on an 8-0 run to take a 12-8 lead. The Illini responded by executing offensively against the Boilermakers’ zone defense, cutting the deficit to one with a score of 21-20. The score at halftime was 25-22.

The Boilermakers were lead by forward Emily Heikes and guard Aya Traore with eight points each. They shot 26 percent for the first half but forced the Illini into 14 first half turnovers, which they turned into 13 points.

“Our shots just didn’t go down,” said Boilermaker guard Katie Gearlds.

The Illini were led by seniors Tiffanie Guthrie and Angelina Williams with seven points each. They shot 39 percent in the first half.

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The Illini started the second half on a 8-0 run to take the lead 30-25. A few minutes later sophomore forward Audrey Tabon rebounded a missed free throw by Guthrie and converted the lay-up to stretch the lead to eight points.

The Boilermakers 1-3-1 full court press forced the Illini into turnovers. Juniors Janelle Hughes and Maggie Acuna got the ball poked away from behind. Those two turnovers led to lay-ups for the Boilermakers.

Purdue would eventually tie the game at 41, but as soon as the momentum seemed to be going the Boilermakers’ way, Williams hit a three-pointer and then blocked a shot on the defensive end. That led the Illini on a 7-0 run to take the lead back for good, 48-41, with 7:58 left in the game.

“This is a game of runs and you gotta give them credit for not getting down on themselves,” Heikes said.

The Illini shot 57 percent in the second half and held the Boilermakers to 33 percent.

Purdue would cut the lead to 60-56 with 36 seconds left but would not get any closer. The Illini scored six points to finish the game off.

Williams led the Illini with 24 points including 17 in the second half and Hughes chipped in with 14.

“Sometimes the shots just don’t fall and Angelina finally got us,” said Boilermakers head coach Kristy Curry.

Purdue was led by Traore with 20 points.

“This is a game we knew we had to have,” said Illini head coach Theresa Grentz.