Illini continue on losing streak, fall to Ohio State 78-55

Jada+Peebles+shoots+a+three+during+Illinois+game+against+Ohio+State+on+Thursday.+The+Illini+fell+78-55.

Photo Courtesy of UIUC Women's Basketball Twitter

Jada Peebles shoots a three during Illinois’ game against Ohio State on Thursday. The Illini fell 78-55.

By Nithin Reddy, Staff Writer

The Illinois women’s basketball team fell to Ohio State 78-55. on Thursday evening. The Illini were heavy underdogs heading into the game as they are winless in conference play and were going up against the undefeated Buckeyes.

Ohio State’s offense got off to a quick start as Buckeye sophomore guard Jacy Sheldon made two quick threes and went up 10-2. Both teams went back-and-forth and the Illini trailed 18-8 after one.

In the second quarter, Ohio State built off of there as they started to attack the rim more. The Buckeyes’ potent offense saw their lead grow as high as 18 points in the second quarter. Going into the half the Buckeyes led 38-23. Turnovers hurt the Illini as they gave up the ball 12 times.

“Trying to get it into the post was where a lot of my turnovers came from. One thing we’ve been working on is making that skip pass because they were helping a lot on Eva,” said sophomore forward Kennedi Myles. “Knowing we have a 6’5” player down in the post there’s a lot of help defense that goes on, so we were trying to force that pass to her and it wasn’t open.”

The second half started well for the Illini as they scored the first seven points of the half to bring themselves within eight points and force Ohio State into a quick timeout. The Buckeyes would respond in a big way, going on a 20-2 run led by the trio of senior guard Braxtin Miller, freshman guard Kateri Poole, and Sheldon. After the timeout, Ohio State brought out a full-court press and it frustrated Illinois.

“There were some decisions made and we practice (breaking the press) at length. A person didn’t cut to the middle and a bad decision here and there,” said head coach Nancy Fahey.

Ohio State led by 25 going into the fourth quarter and that would be too much for the Illini. The final stats saw the Buckeyes shoot 45% from the floor and 45% from three, while the Illini once again struggled to score, shooting 34% from the floor and 26% from deep.

Injuries have anchored the Illini lately as they went only seven deep today. It’s forced Fahey to change how this team plays and what lineups are now being used.

“I’m extending minutes with players. We’re getting up to 30-35 minutes. When you want to do those rotations and chase [Ohio State] you better have a lot of gas in your tank,” Fahey said.

The Illini had three players in double figures, led by Myles’s16 points. Sophomore guard Jeanae Terry would register her second double-double of the season, however, her eight turnovers are a career-high. The Illini’s first-half turnover struggles were never resolved as they finished with 25 turnovers, nine more than Ohio State.

After the game Fahey praised the play of Sheldon, saying that she noticed improvement from a season ago and that her ability to score inside and out as well as her decision making stifled the Illini.

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