Women’s basketball looking to take Rams by horns in Chicago

Womens basketball looking to take Rams by horns in Chicago

By Dave Fultz

The Illini women’s basketball team (7-2) will travel to the United Center in Chicago for the annual December to Remember Classic on Saturday.

This year, Illinois will square off against the University of Rhode Island Rams (1-8).

The teams will play at 10:30 a.m., before the Illinois men’s basketball team takes on the University of Illinois-Chicago at 1 p.m.

The women’s team will look to bring to Chicago some of the momentum that it gained in its blowout win over the University of Florida.

The team looks to pick up its second win away from Assembly Hall this season.

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Tuesday’s victory included a breakout performance by freshman center Jenna Smith. Smith collected 22 points and 10 rebounds in what would be the first double-double of her young career.

“(Jenna) can be an impact player,” associate head coach Marsha Frese said. “She is our biggest, truest center from the standpoint of just putting your back to the basket and scoring.

“It’s something we’ve been missing in the program for a few years. She knew that she could come in right away and make an impact.”

Smith’s performance helped the Illini improve their home record to 5-0 on the year.

The Rams are fresh off of their appearance in the Brown Invitational Tournament. There they lost to the host team, Brown University, in the consolation game. Rhode Island opened up a big lead halfway through the second half, but the team allowed Brown to get back in the game.

This season has been tough for the Rams, as they have already tallied eight losses. Illinois will look to take advantage of a team that has lost three straight games.

The Illini are 4-2 overall at the United Center, winning three straight games by an average of 37.5 points.