Illini skid in State Farm Center season finale

By Claire O'Brien, Staff Writer

Senior forward Ali Andrews led all scorers with 16 points as Michigan State defeated Illinois, 72-58, Wednesday in Champaign.

The two teams last faced off on January 24, 2019, at Michigan State. The Spartans won, 77-60.

Before the game, both teams’ senior classes were honored with a rose presentation with Illinois head coach Nancy Fahey.

Senior guard Petra Holešínská was honored with a senior walk and jersey presentation. Her parents are visiting her in Illinois from the Czech Republic and were able to walk out with her.

“They don’t get to come here very often,” Holešínská said. “It’s great to have someone who’s really close to you here, but you know, we wish we got the win.”

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Michigan State ran up a 7-0 lead but a 3-pointer by Holešínská cut the Spartans’ lead to four in the opening minutes. At the first media timeout, the two teams were tied at 10-10, but Michigan State went on a second 7-0 run.

By the end of the opening period, Michigan took a 21-17 lead. Freshman guard Jeanae Terry made a quick three-pointer to open the second quarter and Illinois was able to take a brief 22-21 lead.

At the second quarter media timeout, Illinois was on a 1-for-8 run and Michigan State had been scoreless for 2:13. Illinois had outscored Michigan State, 8-5, at that point in the second quarter.

Michigan State subsequently went on a 5-0 run, prompting an Illinois timeout. The Illini spent the closing minutes of the period on a 5:02 scoring drought.

At the half, Michigan State led, 36-25, despite having a 2:21 scoring drought to close out the first 20 minutes of play.

“I think that the first half really hurt us,” Andrews said. “We have to keep our full (defensive) intensity up all game.”

Illinois got its first points of the second half (after a seven-minute scoring drought) from a layup courtesy of freshman Kennedi Myles.

Michigan State had a comfortable, 42-31, lead by the middle of the third. Andrews was the first player to score in double digits, with 10 points by the media timeout.

The Spartans continued to build on their lead, entering the final period with a 17-point advantage.

Halfway through the final period, Illinois had scored seven points to Michigan State’s nine. However, Illinois outscored the Spartans, 20-17, in the closing 10 minutes.

“Second quarter,” Fahey said. “(When) we got impatient, we took quick shots. And the quick shots started putting us in a defensive transition situation, where we couldn’t quite… that’s where they popped the lead.”

The Illini head to Evanston Saturday to take on the No. 14 Northwestern Wildcats in the teams’ regular season finale. Illinois lost to the Wildcats, 77-50, December 28, 2019.


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