Illinois women’s basketball gives up 117 points in loss to Ohio State


Austin Yattoni

Illinois head coach Matt Bollant shouts instructions at his team during the game against Indiana at the State Farm Center on Feb. 10. The Illini lost 80-68.

By Daniel Dexter, Staff writer

The Illinois women’s basketball set a record Sunday it is not proud of: most points given up in program history.

The Illini (9-18, 2-14 Big Ten) took on No. 5 Ohio State (23-4, 15-1 Big Ten) in Columbus, Ohio,JT after winning their second Big Ten game Wednesday against Wisconsin. Against a powerhouse Buckeyes squad celebrating its senior day, Illinois didn’t stand a chance from tip off and was dismantled, 117-74.JT

Ohio State’s 117 points is the most Illinois has ever given up in a game; the previous record was set in 1991 when the team lost to Purdue, 112-49.JT

Head coach Matt Bollant was in awe of the Buckeyes’ offensive output after the game and said there was little his team could do defensively to stop the scoring onslaught.

“They were incredible to start the game,” Bollant said. “They made everything to start. Give Ohio State a lot of credit because that was as good of a performance as I have ever seen offensively.”

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Ohio State scored 37 points in the first quarter, led by guard Kelsey Mitchell, who sank all six of her shots, including four 3-pointers, to give her 16 first quarter points.JT Mitchell would go on to torch the Illini for 35 points totalJT, going 8-for-9 from beyond the arc in 24 minutes of play.

“With Mitchell especially, we just didn’t do a very good job of finding her in the first quarter,” Bollant said. “With that kind of range and the way all the other kids can pass, it makes it difficult. Maybe we should have switched it up a little bit more, but it didn’t seem to matter what we ran defensively, they were just better than us today.”

However, Mitchell was not the game’s highest scorer. That honor went to senior guard Ameryst Alston, who caught fire in her last game at Value City Arena and scored 39 points on a 62.5 shooting percentage.JT

Ohio State finished the game shooting 62 percent from the field and 55 percent from 3-point range in what was its highest scoring output of the season.

While Illinois did struggle to contain the Buckeyes defensively, the team did see some strong offensive performances from its go-to players forward Alex Wittinger and center Chatrice White.

Wittinger, who has been battling a broken finger, started the game off by making all three of her first quarter shots. She would go on to score 21 points on 67 percent shooting and collect nine rebounds.JT

White was not as dominant as Illinois has been accustomed to seeing her. She went for 19 points and five rebounds, but started to take on a larger load of the offense in the second half.JT

“(White) stepped up and demanded the ball on the block and got some touches and scored inside, which I think she is more than capable of doing,” Bollant said. “We needed a little bit more of that in the first half, but it was good to see that in the second half.”

Bollant expects his team to rebound in time for Wednesday when Illinois takes on Michigan State in its last home game of the season.

With just two games left in the regular season, the Illini are in last place in the conference, one game behind Wisconsin.

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