Illini women demolish Northwestern Wildcats

By Sultan Abdul-Ahad

The Illini women’s basketball team rebounded from Sunday’s loss to Penn State by beating Northwestern 68-33 Wednesday night at Assembly Hall.

They made five of their first 10 shots to jump out to a 14-4 lead with seven minutes gone in the first half.

After leading 18-8, the Illini went on a 12-2 run to extend their lead to 30-10 with six minutes remaining in the first half. In the midst of that run, the Illini defense forced the Wildcats into two straight shot clock violations.

The Wildcats would only score two points for the remainder of the half while the Illini scored 10 straight points to lead 42-12 at halftime.

Junior guard Janelle Hughes came off the bench to outscore the Wildcats in the first half, tallying 13 points.

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“Janelle came in and gave us a lift,” said Illini head coach Theresa Grentz.

The Wildcats shot only 24 percent in the first half and had 14 turnovers. The Illini tuned those mistakes into 23 points.

“I was really pleased with our defense,” Grentz said.

Junior forward Suzanne Morrison scored six points to lead the Wildcats.

The Illini took their foot off the gas in the second half. With the game in control, they slowed the ball down and ran the clock as much as they could on each possession. Midway through the second half, the Illini had only scored 10 points but had extended the lead to 35 points. From then on they cruised to an easy victory.

The Illini defense did not let up and held the Wildcats to 25 percent shooting for the game.

“I’m really disappointed in our performance and we did not come out ready to play,” said Wildcats’ head coach Beth Combs.

Morrison finished the game with 14 points to lead Northwestern in scoring.

The Illini outrebounded the Wildcats 46-33 and scored 27 points off of 21 Wildcat turnovers.

Hughes finished with a career high 21 points to lead the Illini in scoring.

“I’ve seen more self-esteem and confidence from Janelle,” Grentz said.