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

Notes, player grades from Illinois women’s basketball victory over Central Connecticut State

The Illini continued their five-game journey at the State Farm Center with another massive victory over the Blue Devils. Adalia McKenzie made huge efforts on the court tonight, with a team-high of 20 points, six assists and four steals. The team has one more game before taking on their first Big Ten competitor, and the matchup tonight helped show where the players’ expertise lies. This game pushed Illinois to be 4-0 at home this season, demonstrating that their dominance in Champaign is nothing short of impressive.

Making impacts on all ends of the court

Head coach Shauna Green noted that points are not everything, and if players are able to make an impact overall, that’s what matters. Of course, it helps to have multiple players score in double figures during a game, but components such as rebounding, assists, steals and drawing fouls are also crucial aspects that lead this team to victory. According to Green, the most important thing on the court is being vocal and maintaining energy, and these women successfully executed this.

Illinois’ starting five players are indicated with *.

* Makira Cook (C-)

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While it was only the third game Cook has played this season, it’s fair to say that she’s gotten off to a rocky start since coming off her injury. Indeed, she scored 10 points, had four rebounds and made one steal. However, there have been higher expectations for her given her recent accolades making the Wooden Preseason Top 50 Watch List and being named to the Naismith Women’s Player of the Year Watch List.

Cook struggled early in the game but found her stride a little bit in the later minutes, as has been the case in most of her outings thus far. It’s tough to see her being as valuable as originally expected, though, if the shots don’t start falling or the perimeter defense doesn’t improve. She’s got one more “warmup” to get back on her feet before a Big Ten matchup.

* Genesis Bryant (B+)

It’s evident that Bryant is able to score points for the team, as she’s had games in which she’s scored more than 30 points. Tonight was a little different for her, only getting eight points total; however, her athleticism in other areas of the game is what got her this grade.

Bryant had six rebounds, two assists and three steals, showing that she is very much an active player on the court — not to mention that she made an incredible play throwing a behind-the-back pass to Bostic to score a field goal, making the State Farm Center go crazy. Her handles and quickness during games are two things that should not be ignored, and even if she did not put up as many points as anticipated, she was still able to make impacts elsewhere.

* Adalia McKenzie (A+)

McKenzie’s attitude and drive on and off the court are two things that make her such a valuable player to this team. She’s efficient, aggressive and very sure of herself. There is never a game in which McKenzie is quiet and hesitant to act, and this matchup surely displayed that. She’s always seen being vocal on the court, and on the sidelines she is constantly cheering on her teammates, dancing and celebrating their accomplishments. Green noted that her positive attitude and willingness to work hard are some of her best qualities, and the Illini certainly need her to be an energy booster for future games.

Aside from her liveliness overall, she also played a magnificent role on both ends of the court today. Having someone who can defend, rebound, shoot and pass well is vital to a program, and McKenzie does all of these things. With her performance tonight, it’s clear that her function on this team is to be versatile, and the team can rely on her when they need someone who can step up in multiple situations.

* Brynn Shoup-Hill (D+)

Shoup-Hill had three rebounds, three assists and one block. While these are useful to the team, there are potentially higher expectations for her given her spot on the starting lineup. She’s very capable of making shots and being more aggressive overall, but tonight was a rather disappointing game from her, as she put up no points and no offensive boards. With her height and placement underneath the rim, it would be nice to see her shoot more layups and get those points in the paint.

* Kendall Bostic (A-)

Another day at the office for Kendall Bostic tonight as she tallied up 18 points and eight boards. The defense was electric as usual as she picked up a steal, but the blocks have been few and far between this season for Bostic as she’s been forced to play more on the perimeter early. It’ll be interesting how that experience and development plays out in conference play whether she’s at the five with guards around her or at the four next to a big like Hobby.

Gretchen Dolan (B)

The freshman is proving that she deserves more minutes on the court. In total, Dolan had eight points, two rebounds, two steals, and one block. For her first year playing college ball, she’s made solid appearances in the games she’s contributed to. Little by little she is looking more confident, driving to the rim and playing with a quick pace. While she’s still learning and getting adjusted to this level of playing, she’s making big strides for someone so young in this program.

Camille Hobby (B)

Hobby had a pretty good game tonight, but it’s been hard to gauge what we can expect from her. Some nights we get an efficient 18 points and seven boards, some nights she’ll shoot under 50% and can’t find a rebound and nights like tonight are somewhere in between. Overall, it’s evident that she possesses a lot of skill in the back-to-the-basket and face-up game. We just have to wait and see what Hobby we get when the lights are brightest.

Jada Peebles (B)

Peebles played her role well but in a more limited capacity than usual. However, she still did hit three out of five from the field, all of which were impressive jumpers. Yet again, though, she contributed nothing anywhere else in the box score. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as she is just a catch-and-shoot role player as of now, but it might be frustrating for fans or Green who have consistently lauded how well-rounded Peebles was going into this season.

Shay Bollin (D+)

Bollin has had a bit of a rough time shooting the ball and assimilating into the offense for most of the season, and that held true tonight. At the end of the day, she still hustled for seven boards and talked more than anyone on the court and from the bench. That’s good enough to keep her from failing in our book, but it’ll be tough to justify her getting valuable minutes against better teams right now.

Kam’Ren Rhodes (N/A)

The most we saw from Rhodes tonight was her bringing the ball up the court and making one rebound. While this is helpful, there still wasn’t enough work from her to be able to give her a more profound grade.

Cori Allen (N/A)

Allen played a little less than five minutes tonight, but still managed to score four points. There’s still hope that she’ll be able to get more playing time in the future.

Aicha Ndour (N/A)

Ndour only saw two minutes of playing time, and while she made a good block in these few minutes, there weren’t a lot of plays seen from her on the court.


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Tess Eken
Tess Eken, Assistant Sports Editor
Hi everyone! My name is Tess and I’m currently a junior studying communications with a minor in Spanish. I joined The Daily Illini because I wanted to combine my love for sports with my love for writing, so I get the best of both worlds here! Outside of journalism, I love baking and spending time with my friends and family. If you have any questions or just want to talk sports with me, feel free to email me using the button below. I-L-L!
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