Women’s basketball rolls by Bradley

It wasn’t always pretty, but the women’s basketball team topped Bradley, 67-45, to end a three-game stretch at home with three wins. But Sunday’s contest played out differently than Illinois’ other wins.

“Normally we’re a first-half team and we get a big lead and then we let it go,” head coach Jolette Law said. “Tonight we didn’t play as well (in the first half). We had a lead, but it still didn’t feel like we had control of the game.”

On Sunday, there appeared to be an invisible cover over the basket for most of the first half.

Both teams combined for just two field goals in the first five minutes of the game. Illinois’ lowest point total this season at halftime had previously been 43 against Temple – the combined halftime point total on Sunday was 42.

Bradley (1-2) scored just 16 in the first half, due both to Illinois’ stingy defense and the Braves’ own mistakes.

“Overall, we really needed to put the ball in the hole a little bit better, and I think we had opportunities to do that … I don’t have a number on how many layups we missed, but I know it was too many,” Bradley head coach Paula Buscher said.

While Bradley struggled to convert points throughout the game, Illinois (3-1) improved in the second half.

After halftime Illinois began to find its shot – during the second period the Illini scored 41 points and shot 53.8 percent from the field.

“I’m just really proud of my team in the second half how we responded,” Law said. “We started addressing the little things and playing like we’re capable of playing.”

Senior Lacey Simpson said she may have been too revved up going into the game, thanks to the outcome of last year’s contest against the Braves.

“We lost to Bradley last year, I just had (revenge) in the back of my head,” Simpson said.

Simpson accumulating two fouls in five minutes of play in the first half, but after settling down in the second half, she ended the game with 12 points and seven rebounds.