Illinois women’s basketball opens season with exhibition against Quincy

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Sydney Laput

Forward Erika Porter jumps to make a lay up against Northwestern on Feb. 21. The Illini will be starting of this season against Quincy during tonight’s match.

By Rachel Oh, Contributing Writer

Illinois women’s basketball will open the 2022–23 season with an exhibition game at State Farm Center against Quincy on Friday, with the tipoff starting at 7 p.m.

Quincy women’s basketball is led by head coach Kaci Bailey, who has been with Quincy since 2021. Last season, Quincy finished with an overall record of 9-20 and 5-15 in GLVC play. The 2022–23 roster will feature 10 newcomers along with five returners. The other three returners include senior Emma Knipe, junior Gabby Burns and junior Grace Flanagan.

Illinois head coach Shauna Green prepares the team for tomorrow with a scrimmage that was last held last Sunday and practices leading up to the big match. Green and the team are eager to finally get on the court and start the season.

Green held a press conference this past Monday, where she gave fans an opportunity to hear her takes on this upcoming season. Green’s biggest message to the team going into last Sunday’s scrimmage was that she wanted them to simply compete. 

“I just really wanted to see our toughness,” Green said. “I walked away pleasantly surprised with our toughness and with the level of our competitive spirit.”

For the exhibition game against Quincy tomorrow night, Green will most likely have the same starting lineup as last Sunday’s scrimmage, but nothing is set in stone. Green has one thing on her mind, and that’s to win. 

“I tell our players all the time just like I said in the scrimmage: If there’s refs there and the ball is tipped, we’re playing to win,” Green stressed. “I don’t care if there’s zero people in the stands or who it is. I want to win everything I do.”

Green leads the team with this “win it all” mindset and pushes her players to give it their all. Green is satisfied with where the team is at offensively and is impressed with their ability to remember the plays that keep being added to the playbook. Illinois isn’t going to go easy against its opponents either. 

Green also knows that sometimes not everything goes according to plan, though. She understands that sometimes the rhythm needs to change, and she feels confident with the team’s ability to adapt.

Green highlighted the leadership the team consistently displays. Junior guard Makira Cook and junior forward Kendall Bostic were shouted out as the team’s core vocal leaders. However, Green didn’t forget about her other players because she notices how they each lead in their own ways. 

“Win or lose, what do we need to get better at?” is something Green keeps on her mind for exhibitions like these. The team only strives to improve, and tomorrow is an opportunity to see everything she and the team have worked on for the past six months. 

Fans can look forward to the opening exhibition game against Quincy Friday night to kick off a great start to the season. Illinois women’s basketball’s regular season opener is set for Wednesday, when LIU Brooklyn comes to Illinois for a 7 p.m. game. Illinois will remain at home for its first five games of the season, a 13-day period, before the team hits the road over Thanksgiving break.

 

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