Illini women’s basketball trounced at Indiana

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Senior Ivory Crawford (22)

Coming into Wednesday night’s matchup against Illinois, the Indiana women’s basketball team seemed to be an easy target. At 3-9 in Big Ten play and having lost six of their last seven games, the Hoosiers might have seemed like underdogs to the struggling Illini. 

If that was the storyline coming in, the script was thrown out at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana, on Wednesday. From start to finish, the Illini were a step behind in a 85-58 defeat. 

The loss dropped Matt Bollant’s team (12-13, 3-10 Big Ten) to below .500 for the first time all season, and the Illini clinched another season with double-digit conference losses. 

If one had watched the game or checked the box score without any prior knowledge of either team’s record, it would have seemed safe to assume Indiana (14-10, 4-9) was somewhere near the top of the Big Ten. As for the Illini, well, they probably would’ve seemed like the 3-10 team they currently are. 

Indiana (14-10, 4-9) was on fire from the field, converting on just over 55 percent of its shots. Just to make things tougher for the Illini, the Hoosiers shot well over 50 percent from behind the 3-point arc, nailing 13 of their 23 attempts. Such hot shooting would seem to be a slap in the face for a Bollant-coached team that uses many different defensive looks throughout the course of a game and thrives on forcing turnovers. 

“We just didn’t get enough stops on the defensive end,” Bollant said. “Indiana broke down our man defense with its penetration, then was able to find the open shooter. We tried to switch our defenses, but we weren’t able to find anything that consistently got stops.” 

After a loss at Northwestern on Sunday, Bollant talked about his players letting slow offensive starts affect all the other aspects of their games as well. Illinois couldn’t come close to matching Indiana’s offensive output, only shooting 37 percent from the field as a team. 

“Give Indiana credit: They made a lot of shots, and we let that affect us on the offensive end,” Bollant said. 

The lone bright spot offensively for the Illini was freshman center Chatrice White, who scored 18 points, her highest total since a loss at Nebraska on Jan. 29. White was also efficient from the field, converting on 6-of-8 shot attempts and going 2-for-2 from 3-point land.

Overall, the 17-point loss seems to be deflating. The Hoosiers were a team equal with them in the conference standings. The other demoralizing aspect is that Illinois was dominated from the jump ball to the final whistle. 

Recently, the team’s issue has been putting together a full game instead of playing solid for one half and wavering during another. On Wednesday, Illinois came out flat and finished flat.

“We have to play with better fight and better intensity, because we didn’t do a good job of bringing that today,” Bollant said. 

Brett can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter

@Blerner10.