Illinois women’s basketball claims largest victory of season in 100-38 game against McNeese State

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Sydney Laput

Junior gaurd Makira Cook goes for the layup during the game against LIU on Nov. 9.

By Conor Blount, Staff Writer

After starting its season with back-to-back 30-point victories for the first time in program history, Illinois women’s basketball took on McNeese State at State Farm Center earning a 62-point victory, bringing its record to 3-0.

Illinois had four double-digit scorers in its second match, as junior guard Makira Cook led the charge with 21 points on 80% shooting from three and sophomore guard Adalia McKenzie was not far behind with 17.

The Illini came down with the tip off but took a couple of possessions to get things going on offense. McKenzie picked up right where she left off as she scored the Illini’s first three points converting an and-one.

McNeese State was able to grapple with Illinois for a short bit after tying the game at 3-3, but Illinois lead steadily grew to 15 by the end of the first quarter (22-7).

With yet another blowout on its hands, the Illini’s goal for the second quarter was to go out there and make it a reality. Rather than off of the backs of anyone in particular, the Illini continued to grow their lead as a team. Eight different Illini scored during the second quarter as the Illinois lead grew to 40 points at the half (52-12) while holding McNeese State to just five points in the second quarter.

Coming out of the break, Illinois refused to let up. Although McNeese State scored at a higher volume this quarter, it was mostly off of the backs of free throws as Illinois held them to just one make on 15 shot attempts. Illinois continued to grow its lead, just not at the monstrous rate of the second quarter, as the score reached 75-25 going into the final quarter of play.

During the third, junior forward Kendall Bostic earned her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Allowing the bench to get serious minutes in the fourth quarter paid off for head coach Shauna Green, as graduate forward Geovana Lopes earned a quarter-high nine points and while also grabbing four rebounds. Behind Lopes impressive scoring, Illinois earned its first 100-point game of the season while also securing its largest victory of the season.

Six Illini finished the game with double digit scoring: Cook, McKenzie, Bostic and Lopes along with junior guard Genesis Bryant and sophomore guard Jayla Oden. Bostic led the game in rebounding with 12 while junior center Aicha Ndour also grabbed eight off the bench. Senior guard Jada Peebles led the game in assists with four, while Cook and Oden both had three.

Wednesday’s win was one of the largest in Illinois women’s basketball history and is yet another good sign that the Shauna Green era may be a turning point for the program. In its first 3-0 start since the 2019–20 season, Illinois has gotten it done in convincing fashion, having an average margin of victory of over 42 points.

Illinois women’s basketball will be back in action this Saturday against Evansville looking to secure a 4-0 start in the second to last game of its five-game home stretch.

 

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