Illinois women’s basketball travels for Michigan clash in Ann Arbor

By Rachel Oh, Staff Writer

After besting Michigan State last Sunday to cap off a two-game home stint, Illinois women’s basketball will head to Ann Arbor for its first and only regular season matchup against No. 18 Michigan. Tipping off at 5:30 p.m., Illinois will be playing for its first win over the Wolverines since 2014.

Michigan is led by head coach Kim Barnes Arico and shares an identical record on the season and in league play with the Illini, sitting at 17-5 and 7-4 respectively. The Wolverines earned a record of 25-7 last season with a 13-4 mark in conference action, making it all the way to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Earning the 18th spot in this week’s Associated Press poll marked the 100th time a Barnes Arico-coached team has been in the AP Top-25 poll between her time at Michigan and St. John’s.

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Even when playing against highly ranked opponents, Illinois head coach Shauna Green is known to take each game one at a time, refusing to let the pressure get to her or her team.

“We just got to go in there and really just play free and play loose,” Green said. “Obviously we got to play really well because they’re really good and they defend at a high level.”

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    Green believes that the key to success is to “play aggressive and with great energy.” This mindset is transferred to the team by implementing drills and techniques to ensure that the team is ready to take on whatever is thrown at them.

    “Pressure is a good thing,” Green explained. “We just go in there and do what we do. I’ve really been on them about having fun, playing free and not to overthink this game.”

    On top of their physical training, the Illinois players are provided with many resources regarding mental health, academics, mentorship and many more. Realizing her players are more than just athletes Green loves how her group utilizes all of its resources because she believes that’s how the Illini will be the best versions of themselves on and off the court.

    Illinois will head into tomorrow’s matchup against Michigan at the top of its game, looking to claim its second ranked win of the season.


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