Illinois falls to Iowa at home, remains winless in Big Ten play

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Photo Courtesy of FightingIllini Athletics

Lyric Robins dribbles the ball in Illinois’ game against Iowa on Sunday.

By Nithin Reddy, Staff Writer

The Illinois women’s basketball team fell to the Iowa Hawkeyes 107-68. on Sunday afternoon. The Illini are now on a three-game losing streak with a combined deficit of 68 points. After the game, head coach Nancy Fahey was frustrated with the team’s performance.

“We got handed to us. We knew they could shoot the ball; we didn’t shoot the ball very well that’s what happened. We got handed to us,” said Fahey.

The Illini got off to a quick 4-1 lead after an Eva Rubin layup, but that would not last. The Hawkeyes would respond with a barrage of threes as their deficit turned into a 19-6 lead. The Illini called a timeout hoping to stop the Hawkeye run, but it didn’t work.

The closest Illinois would get the rest of the way wag 22-10 deficit. Redshirt Junior Eva Rubin tried her best to keep the Illini in the game scoring all of the Illini’s points in the first quarter, but that was not enough. Iowa’s offense stayed hot to end the quarter and they would take a massive 35-10 lead.

Guard play was big for Iowa in the first with sophomore McKenna Warnock’s 11 points on perfect 4-4 shooting from the floor and 3-3 from distance, as well as freshman Caitlin Clark adding 10 more points. Rubin credits Iowa’s early lead to their shooting.

“They’re a good three-point shooting team,” said Rubin, “We gave them a lot of open threes, that’s why they were able to ring up so many points so quickly.”

From then on, the game was all but over. Iowa kept adding to their lead, winning every quarter of the game and the lead was insurmountable. The Illini shot 37% from the field and made only three three-pointers and shot a putrid 15%.

On the flip side, the Hawkeyes made a staggering 54% of their shots including 13 threes. Iowa came into the game averaging the third-most points in the Big Ten and they exceeded their average by over 10 points.

The Illini were led by Rubin’s career-high in scoring with 17 points as she made seven of her 10 shot attempts. Ironically enough, Rubin said she had a terrible week of practice and was constantly missing layups. Senior forward Solape Amusan and sophomore guard Jada Peebles also reached double figures, although it took Peebles 18 shots to get there and she missed all six of her three-pointers.

Injuries played a large role for the Illini as they played six players over 20 minutes including Peebles who sat for only three minutes in the entire game.

“We have four players out, it shortened our bench and it just doesn’t give you as much flexibility in what you are going to do,” said Fahey, “We’ve got (Geovana Lopes) out, we’ve got (Aaliyah) Nye out and (Aaliyah McQueen). All three were impact players when we were playing at Nebraska.”

It won’t get any easier for Illinois as they will face No. 17 Ohio State Buckeyes at home Thursday. Ohio State is currently undefeated.

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