Illini women’s basketball drops 100 on Kentucky Wesleyan

With 1.2 seconds left in the game, the crowd at the Assembly Hall was going wild.

Not because the game was on the line, but because the Illinois women’s basketball team was one point away from triple-digit scoring.

On her first free throw attempt, junior Lana Rukavina knocked down the 100th point for the Illini, capping off an easy win against Kentucky Wesleyan University, 100-37, on Tuesday.

“I was really proud of my kids tonight, especially on the defensive end,” Illinois head coach Jolette Law said. “Kentucky Wesleyan is a very good team. We dictated on defense, we wanted to make sure they wouldn’t score a certain amount of points and I’m really proud of them right now.”

Sophomore forward Karisma Penn led the Illini with 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Penn showed that she was ready to fill the role All-American Jenna Smith left when she graduated.

Much of Illinois’ scoring came off quality transition play. The Illini focused on getting the ball down in hurry, creating easy layups and open shots that the team was able to capitalize on.

“We’re going to push the ball up and down the floor,” Law said. “I have some very good guards, and our post players are really quick getting down the floor. It’s going to be a different look this year. We’re looking to pressure 94 feet. If we have to set it up half court, we will, but the important thing is right now we want to push the ball up the floor and put pressure on everyone else.”

Redshirt freshman Amber Moore also made huge contributions for the Illini in her first action since last year’s season opener. In that game against Temple, Moore tore her ACL causing her to miss the season. This year, she looks to be one of the main long-range threats for Illinois.

“Being my first game back, it felt good,” Moore said. “When I was out, there were some times where someone would shoot the ball and I would be like, ‘Oh man, I should have shot that.’ It feels good to be back.”

Perhaps the only aspect Illinois struggled with was its free-throw shooting. The Illini shot a meager 39.1 percent from the charity stripe.

Before the game, it was announced that two players would be missing time from the team. Guard Adrienne GodBold will serve a six-game suspension for violating team rules. Forward Kersten Matrum will miss approximately six weeks with a stress injury in her foot that requires surgery.

“She broke a team rule,” Law said in her only comment in regards to GodBold’s suspension.

Law said Matrum’s surgery is taking place now in order for her to be ready once the Big Ten season arrives.

“It’s going to be a total team effort,” Law said. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s happened. I’m glad it happened now versus in the middle of the Big Ten season. I’m just trying not to think about that. I have eight young ladies that are working extremely hard, so right now I just think that when Adrienne and Kersten come back we’ll be a stronger team. I’m just trying not to think negative. Just trying to stay on a positive note, and push these eight that I have to be the best they can be.”