Illini attract two Midwest recruits

By Stuart Lieberman

The Illinois women’s basketball team announced the signing of two new players on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period. Macie Blinn and Lana Rukavina will join the Illini for the 2008-09 season.

“We are very happy to have Macie and Lana be a part of our program,” Coach Jolette Law said.

Blinn, a 6-foot-1 guard from Greenville, Ohio, is Greenville High School’s team captain, and chose Illinois over Iowa, Vanderbilt, George Washington, Miami (Ohio), Dayton and Ball State.

Blinn has scored 1,064 points at Greenville High School, just 220 short of the school record. As a junior, she averaged 20.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

She was a second team all-state selection by the Associated Press and first team all-district selection by both the Associated Press and coaches.

“Macie is an excellent shooter,” Law said. “She comes from a good high school program and (Amateur Athletic Union) program.”

Meanwhile, Rukavina, a 6-foot-3 post player from Wheeling, has led Wheeling High School to 23 or more victories in each of her first three seasons. She averaged 13 points, seven rebounds, 2.7 assists and two blocks per game last season as a junior.

She chose Illinois over Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Miami.

“Lana is very versatile; she can go inside and out,” Law said. “She has a European touch to her. She is from Croatia.”

Although Blinn and Rukavina were originally recruited by former Illinois head coach Theresa Grentz, it was up to Law’s discretion to make a final decision.

“I talked to them as soon as I got the job,” Law said. “It was a mutual thing between both parties. I just honored their commitment early on.”

Law and her staff will continue to add to next year’s recruiting class as the season progresses.