The Illinois Fighting Illini picked up their first conference win after beating the Ohio State Bcukeyes, 79-73.
At the 15:45 mark of the first half, the Illini led 9-8 after a tough start. Head coach Matt Bollant would switch his team to their “buzz defense.” Illinois would then force the Buckeyes to turn the ball over on their next three possessions.
Ohio State made only one shot over their next nine possessions as the Illini took a 18-12 lead.
However, the Buckeyes led 35-31 at the half.
The second half was very close and Ohio State held the lead until the 3:43 mark. At that moment, senior Karisma Penn hit two free throws to give Illinois a 66-63 lead. The Fighting Illini never looked back as they won, 79-73.
The Illini were led Sunday by Karisma Penn. Penn had herself a career night where she scored a career-high 34 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. She also set a school-record for foul shots made in a game. Penn made a total of 16 free throws and only missed one the entire game.
Illinois also received nice performances from senior Adrienne GodBold and junior Amber Moore. GodBold scored 14 points and fouled out of Sunday’s contest while Moore scored 10 points.
JuniorKersten Magrum also had a bounce back performance from the Purdue game. After missing her only shot that would have won the game against Purdue, Magrum went 3-of-4 and scored eight points against Ohio State on Sunday.
Despite losing, Ohio State got the scoring they are use to seeing from senior Tayler Hill. Hill scored a team-high 30 points and had five rebounds. Although, the Fighting Illini held OSU’s leading rebounder in check. Junior Ashley Adams grabbed one rebound and recorded four fouls which forced her to play only 15 minutes.
The Fighting Illini are now 8-6 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
Their next game will be against the Northwestern Wildcats on January 10th. The Wildcats are 8-7 overall and 0-2 in the Big Ten. They lost to Indiana, 64-68, in their last game.
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