Women’s basketball players named to All-Big Ten squads



By Brian Atlas

Illinois sophomore guard Lori Bjork was voted by the Big Ten coaches and also a separate media panel to the All-Big Ten Second Team.

Bjork tops the Big Ten and is eighth in the nation in three pointers made per game. Bjork set a single-season Illinois record, draining 79 threes for the season, while also making a high percentage of her free throws (.829).

“It’s obviously a nice honor,” Bjork said. “The coaches vote on that team, and those are some of the same coaches that didn’t really think I was able to play at the Big Ten level, so maybe I’ve turned some heads.”

Another Illini receiving recognition was freshman starting center Jenna Smith, who was named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention and named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.

Smith led the Big Ten in offensive rebounds per game (3.6) and has the highest per-game rebound total of any Big Ten freshman (7.8).

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    Smith also led Big Ten freshman in double-doubles during conference play with four.

    This is the third year in a row that Illinois had a freshman make the All-Freshman squad (junior forward Danyel Crutcher, ’04-’05; Bjork, ’05-’06; and Smith, ’06-’07).

    Smith said she was satisfied, though she wasn’t completely at ease.

    “It feels good,” Smith said. “I wouldn’t (have) done it without my teammates, so it’s good. But I hope to make the team one of these years (First, Second or Third Team). But honorable mention is better than nothing, so I’m glad either way.”

    Smith also said she liked that her rebounding totals stayed high throughout the year.

    “You don’t want (to get) boxed out,” Smith said. “I’m going to battle you for the boards. I love rebounding. It’s a key thing.”