Illini rewrite record book in blowout win

By By: Stephen Bourbon

From wire to wire, the Illinois women’s basketball team put on a dominating performance, rewriting its own record book in the process.

In their 112-28 victory over Alcorn State, the Illini set multiple school records for offensive and defensive aptitude. The 84-point margin was Illinois’ widest ever, with the previous mark of 74 set in a 98-24 victory over Southern Illinois at Edwardsville in 1979.

The Illini were also close to breaking the school record for points in a game, as the previous high was 113.

On the defensive side, Illinois was stingy. The Lady Braves shot just 15.2 percent from the field, a new low for an Illini opponent, as the record, 15.4 percent, was set in the Southern Illinois game.

“I’m not sure we had a game last year where we had a big lead and I was happy with how we played in the second half,” head coach Matt Bollant said. “I was really pleased with how we played today. That was growth, that was exciting, for us to continue to play and not play to the scoreboard.”

The Illini (3-1) never gave Alcorn State (1-3) a chance by jumping out to an early lead and never relinquishing it. Illinois used a 30-1 run in the first half and a 42-4 run in the second to cruise to the victory over the Lady Braves on Sunday at State Farm Center.

Sarah Hartwell finished with 16 points and 12-14 from the free throw line, while freshman Sarah Livingston contributed 12 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, all career-highs. Livingston gave the team a boost on the offensive glass, especially in the first half.

“I thought it was the best game that she’s played,” Bollant said. “I was really happy for her because she’s had a really good fall as much as any player, both her and Jacqui, I’ve ever coached. Those two have really taken steps in the last month or two.”

For Alcorn State, this sort of result is more the rule than the exception. The Lady Braves already lost to Central Arkansas 71-39 and to Colorado by an 83-33 margin this season. They averaged just 40.7 points per game coming into the contest.

Alcorn State had more turnovers than points, with 35 turnovers to just 28 points.

The Illini shut down the Lady Braves’ leading scorer, Tierro Frost, who came into the game averaging 17.7 per game. Frost shot just 2-16 from the field and finished with 10 points and 10 turnovers before fouling out.

“We really wanted to control her the best that we could,” Bollant said. “We were early in our help, we contested her and never really got into a rhythm.”

Amber Moore finished with 25 points, as she shot 9-20 from the field and 5-12 from 3-point range. She has now scored at least 20 points in all four games this season.

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