Illinois women’s wheelchair basketball not getting hopes too high for playoffs


Jessica Jutzi

The Illinois women’s wheelchair basketball team finished the season with a 1-11 intercollegiate record, but team members plan to try their best in the playoffs.

By Ryan Wilson , Staff writer

The members of the Illinois women’s wheelchair basketball team are starting to echo each other as the playoffs approach.

“Play hard,” Erica Wilson and Kaitlyn Eaton said. “Finish the season strong.”

Illinois enters the National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament as the No. 4 seed in a bracket of four teams. The team, which finished the season with a 1-11 intercollegiate record, will be matched against top-ranked University of Texas at Arlington — led by gold medalists Abby Dunkin and Rose Hollermann in the first round.

Hollerman, who won gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, is taller than any Illini and can run a half-court offense. Wilson is expected to defend Hollermann.

Illinois has played UTA two times this season, so the team knows what to expect.

“Honestly, we have just talked about wanting the outcome to play our best, not worry about what the other team is doing, not worry about what the score may or may not be, not worry about if it’s a close game or if it’s not a close game,” Eaton said.

Wilson had a similar explanation.

“(We want to) play in the moment and just make every second on the floor count and play like it’s our last time playing,” Wilson said.

Illinois finished its last practice at home Tuesday morning. The team will have a chance to practice in Whitewater on Wednesday night before the first round of the playoffs Thursday.

The game will start at 2 p.m CST.  No matter the outcome, Illinois is guaranteed to play one more game.

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