Illinois, Nancy Fahey prepare for home matchup with Valparaiso Wednesday


Photo Courtesy of Fighting Illini Athletics

Sophomore Jeanae Terry goes for a layup during the game against Indiana State on Nov. 25.

By Nithin Reddy, Staff Writer

The Illinois women’s basketball team will take on the Valparaiso Crusaders Wednesday night in their second game of the season. The Illini won their first game of the season against Indiana State and were led by sophomore guard Jeanae Terry’s 24 points, a career-high. Terry isn’t trying to change her game plan going into this game, but she hopes to keep the positive momentum going.

“Just stay aggressive, that’s my motto for the entire season. Be me, don’t force any situation because I know the next game some people might think I have to get (those numbers) again,” said Terry.

The Illini also benefitted from new additions to their frontcourt. Redshirt junior Center Eva Rubin started her first game for the Illini. Despite only taking three shots, Rubin was instrumental for the Illini’s interior defense which struggled a season ago. Rubin tallied four blocks and grabbed six rebounds against Indiana State while helping the Illini limit the Sycamores to just 22 points in the paint.

Junior transfer Geovana Lopes was another key piece for the Illini in game one. Lopes came off the bench and scored 12 points with six rebounds and two steals.

The Illini had the size advantage against Indiana State, and it looks like they will have a similar edge against Valparaiso. The Crusaders’ tallest player is listed at 6-foot-2, while the Illini have five players taller including Rubin who is listed at 6-foot-5. Head coach Nancy Fahey cautions that decision making is key for the Illini to use their height.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

“We have a size advantage that we have to make correct reads,” said Fahey. “I know that (Valparaiso) knows they’re small, and because they switch, they fight really hard at the low post with a lot of backside help.”

Valparaiso has only played one game and it was a 70-60 loss to Bowling Green. Neither team shot the ball well, but rebounding became key for Bowling Green as they won that battle by 12 rebounds, including eight more offensive rebounds. Similar to Illinois, Valparaiso lost some of its most important players from a season ago, including the two leading scorers. Despite the limited film out there, Fahey feels that looking over last season can benefit the Illini.

“There’s a system that Valpo runs that’s been consistent since [Mary Evans] has been there,” said Fahey. “Reviewing last year’s games have been really beneficial for us.  We have the first game but not much has changed with their philosophy.”

The Illini must watch out for Valparaiso’s redshirt-junior guard Carie Weinman. Against Bowling Green, Weinman struggled shooting from outside missing each of her four three-pointers, but she played an all-around game finishing with six rebounds, four steals, and three assists. Weinman also ranks second on the team in scoring among returning players.

Before the Illini’s first game of the season, the team came out in warmups that read “I am” followed by the name of someone that was a victim of racial injustice. The names included Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown and Rosa Parks.  The warmups will once again be worn before Wednesday’s game. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. at State Farm Center.



[email protected]