Third straight loss for Illini

By Sultan Abdul-Ahad

The Illini never could get into the game as they fell to the Indiana Hoosiers 63-48 last night in Bloomington, Ind.

Janelle Hughes scored the opening bucket in the game, and the only time the Illini would enjoy a lead in the game.

Failure to find their rhythm against the Hoosiers’ 3-2 zone caused problems for the Illini all night.

“The zone caused us problems,” said Illini head coach Theresa Grentz. “We didn’t attack and every time the ball was thrown inside, we got tied up.”

The Illini were unable to hit the outside shot with any consistency, which allowed the Hoosiers’ zone to sit deeper and defend the post more.

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To complicate matters for the Illini, they did not score a point for a 10-minute stretch in the first half.

The Hoosiers got an unexpected lift from 6′ 7″ junior center Sarah McKay who came into the game having only played in nine games prior to this and was averaging less than one point per game. McKay’s inside presence was too much for the Illini – as she recorded 13 points.

In the first half McKay scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds in the half and was a catalyst for the Hoosiers, who led 29-14 at halftime.

Another contributing factor to the halftime score were the 12 turnovers that the Illini committed. The Hoosiers, however, failed to capitalize on the Illini turnovers, shooting just 38 percent from the field.

While McKay gave the Hoosiers unexpected offense, Erin Wigley, the second leading scorer for the Illini went scoreless.

The second half did not go as planned, as Indiana scored the first six points of the half to extend its lead to 35-14.

The Hoosiers would take a 57-30 lead with seven minutes left in the second half, which would turn out to be its largest of the game.

“It was truly a tough night,” Grentz said.

The Illini were dominated inside as the Indiana outscored them 38-8 in the paint.

The only bright spot came in the form of a late 9-0 run to end the game to make the score closer, but with the loss, the Illini drop to 12-3 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten. Indiana improved to 12-7 overall and 5-3 in the conference.

Up next for the Illini is a difficult road game against No. 8 Ohio State in Columbus.

“We got one on Sunday and we gotta get after it,” Grentz said.