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 wheelchair basketball totals 5 wins in senior weekend

Illinois wheelchair basketball played its first and only home game of the season last weekend and hosted a total of six programs while honoring its seniors who played their final games in Champaign-Urbana.

The women’s team and the men’s team played two games each on Friday and Saturday at the ARC. There was no shortage of big-name opponents, which included Wisconsin-Whitewater, Missouri, Arizona, Texas-Arlington, City University of New York and the reigning national champions: Alabama.

The women’s team got the first game of the weekend opposite Alabama but fell behind quickly. The Crimson Tide got off to a hot start, bringing pressure and creating turnovers, ultimately claiming victory over the Illini with a final score of 62-37.

Texas-Arlington was opposite the men’s team for its first game and a familiar opponent. The last time these two teams went against each other was Oct. 27, when Texas-Arlington beat Illinois by 30 points. Round two was a much more intense game, and both teams traded basket after basket throughout. Late in the second half, Texas-Arlington led by eight points.

Possession by possession, Illinois cut the lead down to one with costly fouls committed by Texas-Arlington. The Illini ultimately took the lead at the free-throw line and clinched their first win of the day, beating Texas-Arlington 49-45.

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Jerseys did not change for the next game, as the women’s team were also up against Texas-Arlington. As the band began to play, the players started to warm up and get ready to rebound from their loss earlier in the day.

Head coach Stephanie Wheeler decided to apply some pressure and run full court press on the Mavericks after they jumped out to a big lead in the first. However, it wasn’t enough, and the Mavericks continued to extend their lead, reaching 20 points going into the fourth. The Illini lost 72-59.

The first half of the men’s team’s next game was nothing short of excitement as both teams traded basket after basket. Wisconsin-Whitewater broke an otherwise even affair by jumping out to a seven-point lead, but senior Ryan Glatchak responded in style to bring Illinois back into the game.

It was all about feeding off the energy, Glatchak said. The band, the crowd, the bench going crazy when you hit your first shot gets me going.

In the end, a big run by Wisconsin-Whitewater negated Glatchak’s heroics, and Illinois ended up on the losing side.

Both teams were looking to flip the script on Saturday, beginning with a pair of early games against the City University of New York.

Right off the bat, the women’s team got off to a hot start and had a lead at the end of the first half. It did not look back in the final frame and only gave up 13 points the entire game. Its first win of the weekend was in dominant fashion, 63-13.

The men’s team looked to replicate the same results against the same school. The 20-point loss to Wisconsin-Whitewater was fresh on their minds, but the Illini did not let up. Disruptive defense and scoring in transition created a reciprocating relationship with the crowd, who fed on the Illini’s energy as much as it did on the crowd’s energy. This resulted in an easy 74-55 win over City University of New York.

As the day started to near its end, the seniors had one more game left on both teams. The men’s squad took on Missouri to close the weekend and was looking to get one more win in front of their fans.

Those feelings were on display against the Tigers, and the Illini rallied together to come out on top by a wide margin of 67- 41. The seniors ended their final day at home undefeated, going 3-1 on the weekend overall.

The final game of the weekend for Illinois was the women’s team taking on Arizona. After some back and forth, the Illini gained a lead heading into the second half, and they claimed another big win after a dominant second half, 58-38. The women’s team also sent the seniors off on a high note, going undefeated on Saturday and 2-2 overall during senior weekend.

The women’s team plays next at the Big Cheese Classic in Brookfield, Wisconsin, on Friday. The men’s team has a two-week break before in next set of games in Arizona on March 1.



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