No. 21 Illinois women’s basketball faces big test in home return against No. 6 Indiana

Sophomore+guard+Adalia+McKenzie+shoots+a+free+throw+against+Alcorn+State+on+Nov.+13.+The+Illini+currently+have+a+15-3+record.

Sidney Malone

Sophomore guard Adalia McKenzie shoots a free throw against Alcorn State on Nov. 13. The Illini currently have a 15-3 record.

By Rachel Oh, Staff Writer

No. 21 Illinois women’s basketball will play against No. 6 Indiana at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Wednesday night.

Indiana’s women’s basketball is led by head coach Teri Moren. Indiana is off to a 16-1 start with a 6-1 mark in B1G play, only losing to Michigan State. The Hoosiers went 24-9 last season with an 11-5 mark in conference action while advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. Indiana is on a four-game winning streak and is 3-1 in true road games this season.

For the first time since 2000, Illinois women’s basketball was ranked in the Associated Press Top-25 Rankings on January 9. The Illini are off to a 15-3 start under first-year head coach Shauna Green, one of the best starts in program history. Green is the only coach to achieve a top-25 ranking in her first year leading the program.

The Hoosiers, on the other hand, have slipped ever so slightly in the AP Top-25 rankings since Illinois faced them earlier this season. Considered to be the fifth-best squad in the country at the time, Indiana narrowly escaped a heroic effort by junior guard Makira Cook who had a career-high 33 points in the 65-61 loss.

Green shared her thoughts about heading into tomorrow’s game, expressing how the team is adapting and doing well after playing in several top-25 games.

“They’re handling it really well. I think they’re proud of it and happy about it,” Green said. “I think they understand that it can all be gone tomorrow. What we have to focus on is the process and what got us here and the day to day just trying to be the best versions of ourselves.”

Green doesn’t feel any different now that her team is ranked. However, she believes that other teams that aren’t ranked might approach them a little differently just because she knows the importance of being a ranked team.

The most crucial part of getting better is practice. Green says she’s been trying to be smarter in practices in order to efficiently use the time before games.

“Yesterday we weren’t on the floor that much. It was a lot of mental work and talking about things,” Green said. “Today, I got to try to limit it to about an hour and a half just to try and keep us as fresh as possible.”

Fans can look forward to seeing Illinois and Indiana go head-to-head tomorrow night at the State Farm Center for a 7 p.m. tipoff.

 

[email protected]