The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

No. 23 Illinois women’s basketball falls 71-67 against Marquette in first away game

Senior+Kendall+Bostic+high+fives+senior+teammate+Genesis+Bryant+after+Bostic+drew+a+foul+while+making+a+layup.+Bostic+had+a+double-double+for+Illinois+against+the+Morehead+State.
Sofia Klein
Senior Kendall Bostic high fives senior teammate Genesis Bryant after Bostic drew a foul while making a layup. Bostic had a double-double for Illinois against the Morehead State.

After a strong start to the 2023-24 season, No. 23 Illinois women’s basketball ultimately was tested against Marquette this Saturday in Milwaukee. Even after the team’s victory on Tuesday, head coach Shauna Green recognized that this matchup against the Golden Eagles would be a challenging one, but the Illini stayed persistent and managed to keep the score close the entire time.

With senior guard Makira Cook still day-to-day with her injury from the exhibition match, she remained out for this road trip competition once more. The starting lineup in their all-blue uniforms included senior guard Genesis Bryant, fifth-year senior guard Jada Peebles, junior guard Adalia McKenzie, junior forward Brynn Shoup-Hill and senior forward Kendall Bostic.

Bryant started off with a steal and a layup in the first minute of the first quarter. A few minutes later, she moved swiftly to get an assist to Bostic who then scored her first points of the matchup as well.

While the Golden Eagles went 5-13 in field goals during the first quarter, they were still able to keep the game close, only trailing two points after the first 10 minutes. The Illini went 8-15 in field goals and ended the quarter with 10 total rebounds.

The second quarter did not work out in the Illini’s favor as much. Marquette had led by as much as 11 points over Illinois and they had also out-rebounded Illinois 8-5 in this quarter. Illinois also failed to score any three-point shots in the entire first half.

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“We can’t win like that,” Green described. “We had wide-open looks and we didn’t knock them down, and they knocked down everything … when you don’t hit open shots, you just can’t win against really good teams, on the road too.”

Illinois entered the second half down 37-34. With Bostic racking up three personal fouls, fifth-year center Camille Hobby stepped in to establish herself as a valuable asset to the team. Hobby was the highest scorer for the Illini overall, finishing with 18 points and seven rebounds.

Illinois went 6-8 in free throws in the third quarter, but once again were out-rebounded 9-4. The quarter ended with a six-point lead by Marquette, and despite this, Green thought the Illini’s defensive efforts had significantly improved from the last game.

“I thought our defense was a lot better,” Green noted after the game. “We fought, we played hard, much improved from the other night. But we didn’t hit open shots, we didn’t make plays and they did.”

The Illini were still putting up a fight in the final quarter of the game. They managed to get seven points off turnovers while Marquette only had two points off of turnovers. Furthermore, Illinois outscored Marquette 38-24 in the paint overall, but even with this force, they were still unable to come out victorious.

Foul trouble was a killer component of this game. Bryant ended with four personal fouls, but she also stayed aggressive with four steals, and hit the only two three-point shots in the whole game for the Illini, finishing with 11 points total. Additionally, Bostic also had four personal fouls by the end of the game but also had 14 points, six rebounds and three steals.

Green was frustrated with the team’s outcome and acknowledged many areas in which the women need to develop.

“We had too many turnovers,” Green said. “We gotta clean up those types of things … we just gotta keep working and hopefully we can get healthy and get back to 100%.”

The Illini fought hard until the end, with a lot to take away from this matchup. They head back to Champaign this Wednesday against Saint Peter’s with a 1-1 record.

 

@tess_eken

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