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

Illinois women’s basketball returns to Champaign to battle against Saint Peter’s

Sofi Klein
Junior Adalia Mckenzie smiles as she is announced in the starting lineup for the Illini against the Eagles on Nov. 7.

After a tough loss this Saturday against Marquette, Illinois women’s basketball (1-1) hopes to gain momentum for its next matchup. Head coach Shauna Green was not happy with the outcome of the last game; however, she anticipates demonstrating improvements for this week’s competition.

The team has been missing action from senior guard Makira Cook, who didn’t play in the first two games of the season due to a head injury from their exhibition game two weeks ago. Her status is still day-to-day according to Green, but she’s been working out with the team, and there’s hope she’ll make a comeback soon.

In other news on Cook, she has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List, becoming one of three athletes in Illini history to earn a spot on this list. Cook, along with nine other Big Ten representatives, is certainly grabbing the eyes of basketball experts, and obtaining a spot on this distinguished list is massive news for Illinois’ program.

With Cook out of the lineup for now, it is likely that fifth-year guard Jada Peebles will secure another spot on the starting five for their game against Saint Peter’s. Peebles is coming off a team-high 37 minutes from this previous game, also racking up eight points, two assists, one block and one rebound.

“Obviously, we’re trying to string pieces together with Makira not being here,” Peebles said. “So at the same time we’re trying to build that new setting, and new team with that as well. But I mean, we did good and now we’re just cleaning some stuff on offense … just building on the defense we had and building on the engine we had, and just taking it from there.”

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Peebles and the rest of the women on the team are adjusting and learning new things with Cook not on the court with them. They’re taking it upon themselves to get acclimated to the changing lineups. They’re also recognizing strengths that had previously been unappreciated.

When asked about some things she has learned in the past few weeks, Peebles elaborated on the team’s ability to succeed despite some challenges that have come their way.

“How good we can actually be … and the depth that we have,” Peebles said. “The different roles that people have and how we can equally just step up and fill that role that Makira had.”

Another key figure for the team has been sophomore guard Kam’Ren Rhodes, who has been putting in immense effort to get minutes on the court. Green described more about Rhodes and what her role is with their program.

“She put constant work in every day, when she wasn’t playing hardly at all last year,” Green said. “I’ve been so happy with Kam … she’s come in and really done a solid job, has run the team, has taken care of the basketball … I really truly believe that’s gonna help us lay it down later down the road. You know with her getting these valuable, and really big minutes … we’re gonna need her ready to go.”

Rhodes scored six points against Marquette, also getting four assists and drawing two fouls. Green is confident in her abilities and anticipates even more playing time for her for the rest of the season.

Illinois will compete against Saint Peter’s this Wednesday at 11 a.m., hoping to bring its record to 2-1 to head into another matchup this weekend with a win on its shoulders.



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