Women cruise at Michigan

By Sultan Abdul-Ahad

The Illini finished their regular season on a positive note as they defeated the Michigan Wolverines 67-57 yesterday in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Michigan came into the game winless in the conference, and the Illini jumped on them immediately, scoring the first nine points of the game before Wolverines coach Carol Burnett called a timeout.

“We came out with a lot of energy in the first half,” said Illini head coach Theresa Grentz.

In the first four minutes of the game, the Illini led 16-6 and made six of their first eight shots.

Michigan began to get back into the game, going on a 7-0 run to make the score 16-13.

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After that, both teams began trading baskets and pushing the ball up whenever possible.

Michigan took its only lead of the game 26-25 with five minutes left in the first half on a pair of free throws by guard Janelle Cooper.

“The only thing that worries me is that when we get a lead we lose our attention,” Grentz said.

The Illini (14-13, 6-10) regained their composure and went on to score the final eight points of the half to lead 33-26.

The Illini cooled off considerably as the half went on – finishing the half shooting 45 percent, however, they did manage to hit 5-8 three-pointers.

Freshman guard Lori Bjork led the offense in the first half with 15 points on 6-8 shooting.

“Bjork hit some big shots,” Grentz said.

At the beginning of the second half, Illinois extended the lead to ten points on a free throw by junior forward Audrey Tabon, but Michigan scored the next five points to get within five points at 36-31, but that would be the last time that Michigan would have the deficit under ten points.

But the Illini went on a 13-2 run to take its biggest lead of the day at 49-33 with 12 minutes left in the game, and they never looked back.

“They did what they needed to do and it was a good win for us,” Grentz said.

The Illini had four players score in double figures led by Bjork’s 21 points. Michigan was led by Cooper who scored a game high 24 points as the Wolverines finished 0-16 in the Big Ten.

With the win, Illini head coach Theresa Grentz became the tenth D-1 coach to win 650 games.

Also with the win, the Illini received the seventh seed in the Big Ten Tournament that begins on Thursday. The Illini will play the tenth seeded Northwestern Wildcats at 4:15pm at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.