Women’s basketball prepares for final exhibition game

Illinois guard Lori Bjork signals a play to her teammates during the exhibition game against Clarion at Assembly Hall, Friday, October 3, 2006. Bjork was the leading scorer with 26. Illinois beat Clarion 30-86. Adam Babcock The Daily Illini

By Steve Contorno

The Illinois women’s basketball will play their second and final game of the exhibition season against Lewis on Tuesday.

After routing Clarion on Sunday 86-30, the Illini look to continue their offensive dominance and sharp shooting from the perimeter.

“Shooting is all about repetition,” sophomore guard Lori Bjork said. “If you keep coming in before and after practice hopefully it will translate to the game.”

Bjork shot 75 percent from the field and hit six of nine three-point shots to lead the Illini to a strong offensive showing.

Illinois hit 54 percent of its shots, including 60 percent from behind the arc.

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    Head coach Theresa Grentz said the improved outside game has come from the team’s ability to move the ball down low.

    “Your outside game comes when your inside game is there,” Grentz said. “We have the bodies and the people to put the ball in the post. The more we can put it in the post, the more we’ll be successful.”

    Grentz also said despite the level of the opponents’ play on Sunday, just playing against an unfamiliar opponent was beneficial for the team.

    “Any time you can go on the court against somebody else, that’s helpful,” Grentz said. “We knew Clarion is a Division II school and we knew we were supposed to beat them. But for this next game, anytime we can get better with our passing, our angles and start working together as a team, those are things we’re looking to do to get better.”

    The Illini will be without several of its players for Tuesday’s exhibition.

    Besides senior forward Audrey Tabon, who will be out for the season with a torn ACL, Illinois will also be without junior transfer guard Rebecca Harris, who was injured against Clarion and will be a game-to-game decision.

    Even without Harris, Grentz said her team has the personnel to take on an opponent of Lewis’ level.

    The Illini breezed by Lewis last season by a score of 91-60.

    “Lewis played DePaul pretty darn well,” Grentz said. “They put up 83 points and that’s a lot of points. We know they’re going to come in here and run the ball, move the ball around and we need to come in here ready to play.”

    After moving through Clarion with ease on Sunday, including scoring 26 points, Bjork said she expects a little more challenge up front from Lewis.

    “The strength of Lewis’ team, from what I understand, is their guard play,” Bjork said. “I think they’ll do a better job of putting pressure on me, and keep me from driving the lane so easily. It will be a bigger challenge and will be a good gauge of where I’m at right now.”

    After Lewis, the Illini will play the first regular season game at home on Nov. 12 against Butler.