The Illinois Fighting Illini got a big road victory against the Memphis Tigers, 73-65.
It was the Illinois defense that helped them win this game against the Tigers. The Illini put together a 24-8 run (which included a 14-0 run) early in the second half. They forced Memphis to commit 23 turnovers and outscored the Tigers 29-16 off turnovers in Saturday’s game.
Illinois was led by their senior forward Karisma Penn. Penn scored 21 points in the game and hit a scoring milestone. She now has scored 1,504 points in her career and passed Illinois all-time great Tauja Catchings for 10th place on Illinois’ career scoring list. Penn also recorded nine rebounds for the Fighting Illini.
Along with Penn, sophomore guard Alexis Smith had a solid game on Saturday. Smith only finished with nine points, but recorded nine rebounds and two steals. Penn and Smith helped their team in the final 2:11 of the game by going 8-of-10 from the free throw line.
Overall, Illinois shot very well from the charity stripe, especially in the second half. They shot 29 free throws over the entire game and shot 24 of them in the second half. The Fighting Illini hit 4-of-5 free throws in the first half (80%) and 17-of-24 free throws in the second half (70.8%).
Illinois also had nice performances from sophomore guard Ivory Crawford and junior forward Kersten Magrum. Crawford finished with 17 points and five rebounds while Magrum finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Tigers leading scorer in the game was Ariel Hearn. She finished with 18 points along with four rebounds and two steals. She also turned the ball over three times in the game.
After the game, head coach Matt Bollant said “To come to Memphis and get a good win is important for our team and getting back in the right direction.”
The Fighting Illini are now 5-4 on the season.
Their next game will be at Assembly Hall against the Oregon Ducks on December 12th. Oregon is currently 0-7 this season. They lost to Nevada 77-73 in their last game.
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