Aaliyah Nye, Kendall Bostic dominate Eastern Kentucky in 71-57 win

Guard+Aaliyah+Nye+dribbles+past+her+opponent+during+the+game+against+Southern+Illinois+University+Edwardsville+on+Nov.+18.+Nye+and+Kendall+Bostic+dominate+Eastern+Kentucky+in+a+71-57+win+on+Sunday.+

Sydney Laput

Guard Aaliyah Nye dribbles past her opponent during the game against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Nov. 18. Nye and Kendall Bostic dominate Eastern Kentucky in a 71-57 win on Sunday.

By Angelle Cortes, Assistant Sports Editor

After a tough loss against No. 25 Florida State, the Illinois women’s basketball bounced back against Eastern Kentucky, getting back on the winning track 71-57. 

“I love to get a win,” said head coach Nancy Fahey, “Emotionally, we worked really hard.”

Aaliyah Nye had another high-scoring game, bringing in 16 points and going 5-11 in 3-pointers. Right behind her was Kendall Bostic nailing her second double-double of the season with 12 points and a whopping 22 rebounds. 

“This was a team we really needed to rebound against,” Bostic said. “We talked about (in) the last two days in pregame talk that a lot of these girls on this team like to rebound. So I kind of knew it was a point of emphasis today, and I knew that if we wanted to win, we had to board.” 

Her 22 rebounds put her third in Illinois history in single-game rebounding since 1989. Bostic was just one short of getting herself in the number two position. 

In the first quarter, the Colonels got off to a quick start. The Illini struggled with foul trouble early with Eva Rubin and Geovana Lopes racking up two fouls each within the first five minutes of the game. 

Defense overall was just struggling to contain as they were letting Alice Recanati dribble around and get to the posts for layups. 

Offensively, Illinois finally found some rhythm after Nye grabbed a three to break Eastern Kentucky’s 7-0 run. 

The Colonels quick start to get on a good run led them to leading after the first 10 minutes 23-17. 

Come the second quarter, the Illini turned things around and dominated on both sides of the ball.  

Back-to-back threes from Eva Rubin and Nye set off a hot streak for the Illini. While Eastern Kentucky tried to contain and make stops, quick passing and movement from Illinois got them on the board easily. 

“Today we emphasized motivating each other and picking each other up and saying ‘get a stop’ or passing the ball one more time,” Nye said. 

With the help of Bostic, she was able to get a steal and offensive rebound, which led her to two layups in the quarter. 

Defensively, the Illini were tight holding the Colonels to just nine points. Illinois had gone on a 17-0 run until 3:16 left when De’Myla Brown drew a foul putting Eastern Kentucky at the line. 

“It just goes back to our sisterhood,” Bostic said when asked about the offensive performance in the quarter. “We just picked each other up today — I think better than we have in past games. I think it really kind of helped keep the runs going.” 

Bostic helped tremendously on defense, racking up six rebounds to not allow the Colonels a second or even third chance to score. 

In just that quarter alone, Eastern Kentucky went just over 15% in their field goals, and all their points came from two three-point field goals and three free throws. 

After the break, Eastern Kentucky started off well with Jayla Johnson and Ariel Kirkwood getting some points on the board.

Despite the Colonels strong start, it didn’t last because the Illini came back and never backed down. 

Adalia McKenzie, who has seen flashes of starting and coming off the bench, had a great third quarter. 

With a little over two minutes left in the quarter, McKenzie saw an opening in the paint and drilled herself in to get a layup to add to her six points and one assist on the day. 

“She was a little shaky at the beginning, I mean she is a freshman,” Fahey said. “Came back, she reloaded and gave us a big punch. A lot of kids would have dropped at that point, (she) didn’t play scared at all. I was really impressed by her pop back in the second, third (and) fourth quarter.” 

By the end of the third quarter, Illinois continued its domination on the court, leading by 20 points 62-43 over Eastern Kentucky. 

In the last 10 minutes, Illinois didn’t look as offensively strong as they were earlier. Johnson added to her good second half taking advantage of some sloppiness from the Illini racking up seven points. 

Despite the loss, Johnson led the team with 20 points, seven rebounds and one assist. 

Illinois only managed to score nine points while Eastern Kentucky got 14 points in the fourth quarter. 

After the 71-57 win, the Illini go 4-4 in the season and will face their first Big Ten opponent of the year and Bostic’s former school, Michigan State on Thursday at 6 p.m. 

 

@AngelleCortes

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