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 continues win streak with 22-point victory over Northern Kentucky

Junior+forward+Brynn+Shoup-Hill+sinks+a+free+throw+against+Truman+State+on+Oct.+30.
Olivia McAfoos
Junior forward Brynn Shoup-Hill sinks a free throw against Truman State on Oct. 30.

The Illini (5-2) continued their homestand with another large win this Wednesday against the Northern Kentucky Norse. This is their last game before their first Big Ten matchup against Michigan this Sunday, and they needed another energy booster like this to advance their momentum.

It was no surprise the lineup included familiar faces once again. The starting five included senior guard Genesis Bryant, senior guard Makira Cook, junior guard Adalia McKenzie, junior forward Brynn Shoup-Hill and senior forward Kendall Bostic.

Tipoff was once again obtained by Illinois, and with a smooth passing sequence, Bryant successfully sank a three-point shot to get the game going. After a block by Shoup-Hill, Illinois got back in transition and Cook scored her first field goal of the night.

The team quickly continued with elite ball movement, getting the ball to Bryant for another three-pointer. A steal and layup by McKenzie pushed Northern Kentucky to take their first timeout at the 3:15 mark of the first quarter, with Illinois leading 16-8.

After a few substitutions, fifth-year center Camille Hobby scored her first points in the paint and got her first rebound. The first quarter ended with a foul drawn by Cook, sinking one of her free throws to bring the team 21-10 over the Norse.

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    Head coach Shauna Green showed frustration with her team after not scoring in the first three minutes of the second quarter. Cook soon changed this with a steal and a layup, racking up seven points total.

    Northern Kentucky was also becoming frustrated with their lack of scoring, forcing them to take another timeout after Shoup-Hill scored her first points of the game with a successful shot from behind the arc.

    The Norse were taking countless three-point shots, but by the 3:30 mark of the second quarter, they were 0-11 from behind the line. The Illini went on an 11-0 run before the Norse finally made their first three-point shot, but Shoup-Hill quickly responded with her own three-pointer. This brought the lead to 35-17 for the Illini to close out the first half.

    “When she (Shoup-Hill) scores, it changes us,” Green said. “I think rebounding is that spark that kind of ignites her. She was really active on the boards early, she got some rebounds and then got some finishes. Now, she’s getting an and one, she got to the free-throw line four times … that’s a really good sign that she’s being aggressive and getting in there and getting in the mix a little bit.”

    The second half began with the same starting five lineup, and the crowd got loud after Cook scored a three-pointer to get the team going. Shortly after, she scored another three-pointer, and she was beginning to look like her old self with 13 points, six rebounds, one block and one steal.

    Sophomore forward Shay Bollin began to heat up in the third quarter, scoring a three-point shot and a steal right after. The crowd went crazy once again after freshman guard Gretchen Dolan also sank a three-pointer, increasing the lead to 27 for the Illini after the third quarter.

    As always, Bostic and Bryant worked in harmony on the court, with Bostic delivering on all the passes Bryant made to her. With about six minutes left in the game, there was an all-bench unit on the court, with appearances by Bollin, Hobby, Dolan, sophomore guard Kam’Ren Rhodes and freshman guard Cori Allen.

    Senior center Aicha Ndour scored her first points of the game with about three minutes left of the matchup, leading 70-50. Allen also scored her first layup soon after, and despite the slower quarter for the Illini, they were still able to come out on top, going into their first Big Ten matchup with a three-game win streak on their back.

    “Big Ten and conference play is what matters,” Green added. “I’m super excited, I can’t wait to start Big Ten play. It’s not rocket science, it’s a big game because every Big Ten game is big. We gotta protect our home court in this league … I’m ready to go.”

     

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