Moore breaks career 3-point record in victory

By By: Stephen Bourbon

It was an historic night for Amber Moore at the State Farm Center on Tuesday.

The senior broke the Illinois school record for 3-pointers made in a career with four triples in an 87-59 win against Valparaiso. The record-breaker came with 16:41 remaining in the first half, when Moore drilled a three to push the lead to 13-7. The senior tied the previous record, 214 threes made by Lori Bjork from 2005-08, by draining seven threes in the team’s loss to Bradley last Friday.

While Moore wasn’t aware of the record, her mom certainly was. Moore said in her high school career, her mom took every stat of every player for each game and told Moore about the potential to break the record in the preseason.

“I didn’t really have my mind on it, my mom usually tells me about it,” Moore said. “I think I’m a perfectionist. Just being able to knock down shots is important to me and just working hard every day, it pays off in the long run.”

The Illini started hot from the field from the opening tip and fell behind for just six seconds in the duration of the game. Illinois hit its first six shots from the field and took an early 26-13 in the game’s opening 12 minutes. Valparaiso pulled within 10 but the Illini ended the half on a 21-8 run to nearly double up the Crusaders 47-24 at halftime.

From then on, hot shooting and forced turnovers kept the Crusaders off balance and behind on the scoreboard.

The Illini shot 56.7 percent in the first half and 45.7 for the game. Illinois was fueled by balanced performances up and down the stat sheet.

“I was really pleased with the first half, especially,” head coach Matt Bollant said. “I thought the plays of the game of the second half, we missed some layups and they made a little run, and then Amber responded and hit two threes to open the game back up. She can make big shots for us.”

The Illini shot 56.7 percent in the first half and 45.7 percent for the game. Illinois was fueled by balanced performances up and down the stat sheet despite facing man-to-man, 2-3 and 1-3-1 zones from Valparaiso.

But it was Moore’s night all the way, as she led the Illini with 23 points on 9-17 shooting and 4-10 from 3-point range.

Ivory Crawford chipped in 11 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists before fouling out in 28 minutes. The Illini had five players in double figures, while Sharon Karungi led Valparaiso with 15 points.

The Illinois defense forced 27 turnovers held the Crusaders to 38.2 percent from the field for the game. After the game against Bradley where the Illini gave up 98 points — 57 in the second half — Bollant was happier with the defensive performance against Valparaiso.

“We guarded the dribble much better today,” he said. “We still forced the same amount of turnovers but didn’t give up near as many open shots, especially in the first half.”

Although Moore’s stat-watcher, her mom, wasn’t at the game, Moore still said she knew that her mom was aware of the broken record tonight.

“She’s on GameTracker every game,” Moore said with a laugh. “She knows what’s going on with Illini women’s basketball.”

Stephen can be reached at [email protected] and @steve_bourbon.