Women’s basketball falls once again on the road
February 12, 2018
Illinois women’s basketball only has four regular season opportunities left to snap its 13-game losing streak.
After falling to Indiana 70-54 Thursday, Illinois found itself with a conference record of 3-25 over the past two seasons. The Illini’s last conference win was against the Cornhuskers in January 2017 – not including Illinois’ win against Nebraska in the Big Ten tournament last season.
Illinois outplayed Indiana in the third quarter, but failed at matching the Hoosiers’ performance overall. Illinois fell behind early in the first 14-10, then a 21-13 deficit in the second quarter set the Illini back even further. A slight 16-14 advantage in the third was answered by Indiana in the final frame with a 21-15 advantage for the Hoosiers.
Head coach Nancy Fahey said despite losing yet another conference game, Illinois played hard through all four frames.
“If you were here in the gym and saw how hard these kids played for 40 minutes in an environment that was tough,” Fahey said. “We’re trying to win, but I was really proud of how hard these kids fought.”
According to Fahey, Illinois’ issue isn’t with shooting – after all, sophomore guard Brandi Beasley posted a season-high 21 points against the Hoosiers. The Illini struggle limiting their Big Ten foes defensively.
“I think the ball getting inside, (Kym) Royster got deep on us,” Fahey said.” And we tried to send help, we had to send help from a different spot. She’s really powerful inside and that was a problem for us.”
In addition to Beasley’s 21 points, she also grabbed four boards and went four for four on the free throw line. Junior forward Alex Wittinger backed down from her usual scoring production Thursday night to sink just nine points and four rebounds. Petra Holešínská led the team with eight rebounds.
The Hoosiers held the Illini to 39 percent shooting in the first half, but the team was able to inch ahead slightly in the second half, making 41 percent of their attempted shots. Indiana went 50 percent on the night, but made a majority of their shots during the first half.
Illinois will return to the State Farm Center Tuesday to face No. 13 Ohio State. The matchup marks the first time these two teams will meet this season and might show just how polarized the Big Ten is. Currently, Ohio State sits second in the Big Ten with a conference record of 9-3 and is comfortably inside the NCAA top-25.
For Fahey, preparing for Ohio State means preparing just as they would for any other team.
“We’re not backing down from anybody,” Fahey said. “Ohio State is tough, but we’ll be ready to go.”