Illini try to keep perfect record without break

Guard Lacey Simpson (22) drives over freshman forward Susan Lester (30) and sophomore center Lade Akande (55) during the first half of the game against Butler at Assembly Hall Sunday. John Paul Goguen The Daily Illini

Guard Lacey Simpson (22) drives over freshman forward Susan Lester (30) and sophomore center Lade Akande (55) during the first half of the game against Butler at Assembly Hall Sunday. John Paul Goguen The Daily Illini

By Dave Fultz

While the rest of the University gets a much needed break over the Thanksgiving holiday, the Illini Women’s basketball team will be very busy trying to maintain their perfect record.

So far this season, the women’s hoops team has accumulated a 2-0 record, as they have tallied victories against Butler University and the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Before the two regular season victories, the Illini won both of their exhibition games in blowout fashion.

Against UIC on Tuesday, the Flames kept the game close before the Illini edged them out at the end of the game.

“That’s alright,” said head coach Theresa Grentz before practice on Thursday. “We can’t get too excited about it. It’s a new year with new people working together, but the most important thing is to win the game. Two weeks from now, it is still a W.”

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    The next assignment for the Orange and Blue will be to keep the momentum rolling into their next game against in-state foe Loyola University at Assembly Hall.

    The Ramblers are 0-2, and the Illini are excited to get back home to the support from their fans.

    “We are all more comfortable on our floor,” freshman forward/center Jenna Smith said. “Our crowd will be behind us and we’ll hopefully be able to go out there and get the victory.”

    After Loyola on Saturday, the Illini have three games over a five-day stretch as they face Northern Illinois University (Nov. 20) on the road and then Northern Colorado University (Nov. 22) and St. Joseph’s University (Nov. 25) when they return home.

    Even though Assembly Hall may not provide its normal high level of support, with students being on break, Grentz said that it will not affect the team.

    “We don’t even think about that anymore,” Grentz said. “We just prepare and work with our players to be prepared to get our team out there for the game and do what we need to do.”

    The Illini will be hard at work while the rest of the student body is at home for the holiday. Most of the players won’t make it home for Thanksgiving dinner.

    “We aren’t going home,” Grentz said. “The only ones that will make it home will be me and the staff. Lacey may make it home because she lives around Chicago, but other than that I think that most of the parents are either coming here or the girls are working with each other here.”