Illinois women’s basketball falls to Middle Tennessee by double digits, leaves Florida winless

Junior+guard+Jada+Peebles+dribbles+during+the+game+against+Southern+Illinois+University+Edwardsville+at+State+Farm+Center+on+Nov.+18.+The+Illini+fell+to+Middle+Tennessee+State+today+and+leave+Florida+without+a+win.+

Sydney Laput

Junior guard Jada Peebles dribbles during the game against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at State Farm Center on Nov. 18. The Illini fell to Middle Tennessee State today and leave Florida without a win.

By Angelle Cortes, Assistant Sports Editor

Despite a late surge from Illinois, it wasn’t enough to beat Middle Tennessee State as they fell 62-52. 

It was another slow offensive start from the Illini; it wasn’t until 7:31 in the first quarter when Adalia McKenzie made the first bucket with a lay up. With the help of Eva Rubin and De’Myla Brown, the Illini were able to stay level with the Blue Raiders. However, like against Dayton, a three-pointer was the jumpstart for MTSU to carry the lead. 

In the first 10 minutes, both teams failed to be accurate from anywhere on the court, ending the quarter 12-6 to MTSU.

Come the second quarter, MTSU kept their lead, but still didn’t look great offensively from both teams. 

By 9:06, it was 14-10 and the Illini had gotten themselves to just four points separating the two with Lyric Robins getting in the paint and Erika Porter with a jumper. 

From then on, it was nearly a five minute scoring drought from both Illinois and MTSU. The Blue Raiders missed four three-point attempts while Rubin had the Illini’s only attempt in that drought with a lay up. 

MTSU redeemed themselves as they broke the deadlock and sank three three pointers with Courtney Whitson nailing two in a row. 

Illinois struggled to defend at the arc, and it hurt them going into the break despite just behind 26-18 at the break. 

The third quarter started with the Illini, but finished with the Blue Raiders. A free throw from Jada Peebles and a three from Brown pushed them to just four behind. 

However, two technical fouls from Rubin and Sara Anastatsieska put MTSU at the line, and they did not miss. By the end of night, MTSU had gone perfect in their free throws, nailing all 10 of them. 

The fouls set the Illini back as it slightly stifled their momentum. With a minute and a half to go in the third quarter, Bostic started a 6-0 run for the Illini but once again couldn’t stop MTSU with the ball, ending the quarter 48-31. 

Fourth quarter saw Illinois push for a final drive to get some late momentum in hopes for a win. Aaliyah Nye started it off with a three pointer, carrying the team to a 10-0 run putting them nine behind the MTSU. 

However, a late push left the Blue Raiders open on fast breaks to some easy layups to extend the score. The early quarter drive just wasn’t enough for Illini as they went 0-2 in Florida.  

Plaguing the Illini was free throws as they went 7-21, which could have helped lower the deficit. As for the Blue Raiders, as mentioned earlier, they hit all their attempts going 10-10. 

Another stat to look at is MTSU’s three pointers going 8-41. Despite the low accuracy, Illinois’ defense allowed 41 to go through while Illinois attempted a mere 13. Looking at turnovers, the Illini suffered 19, giving the Blue Raiders 23 points off of them. 

Head coach Nancy Fahey and her team will be back in Champaign for Thursday night’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge against Florida State.  

 

@AngelleCortes

[email protected]