Women’s basketball loses second straight away game

By Dave Fultz

Illinois women’s basketball lost a tough game on the road to Purdue on Thursday night.

The Illini’s 69-57 loss to the Boilermakers marked the first time that the squad has lost two consecutive games this season.

“I said it after Sunday’s game (at Michigan State), and I’ll say it again tonight: ‘This one was doable,'” head coach Theresa Grentz said. “We have to figure out how to make some plays at key times. Purdue is a veteran team, and they did that tonight.”

The final score of the game was not indicative of how close the game really was.

There were six ties and 10 lead changes in a game that featured a strong performance from redshirt freshman guard Lacey Simpson.

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    Simpson led the squad with a double-double. She almost notched her first triple-double as she scored 12 points, had 11 rebounds, and passed out seven assists.

    At the start of the second half, the Illini took a lead with a 9-0 run after the Boilermakers had led by six points at the break. Simpson was the catalyst of the run as she assisted an Erin Wigley basket and then knocked down a three pointer on the next trip down the court.

    But the game turned down the stretch, and the Boilermakers sealed the deal with a huge three by center Erin Lawless.

    The Illini played great defense on the play and almost forced a shot-clock violation from Purdue. But at the last second, their 6-foot-2 center threw up a desperation shot from behind the arc.

    “That Lawless three was a backbreaker,” Grentz said.

    After that play, the game was almost surely out of reach for the Illini.

    The Boilermakers performed well throughout the course of the game, and the Illini didn’t have an answer for Purdue All-American Katie Gearlds. Gearlds scored 24 points and had 12 rebounds in the game.

    “Gearlds was fantastic all night,” Grentz said. “She’s the type of player that makes everyone else around her better. Then when you need her to score, she does. She’s a great player.”