The women’s Illinois basketball team has hit a rough patch, the first in the Shauna Green era.
Last season went as smoothly as possible for a new coach. The Illini hired Green after the program won seven games overall and just one game in the Big Ten in 2021-22.
Year one under Green went well. A 22-win campaign was capped off with an NCAA tournament appearance. Most of the talent from that run returned this season as well, so there was an expectation for the Illini to get back to the postseason once again.
Well, things haven’t started well in 2023-24. Illinois has dropped to 5-4 on the year and 0-1 in the Big Ten. Green has now lost back-to-back games in the regular season for the first time since coming to Champaign.
Illinois basketball can easily turn around the 2023-24 season with some wins in the coming weeks
It is not like Illinois is playing bad basketball. We hung with Marquette, which is now No. 18 in the nation and 11-0 on the season. Illinois was competitive with Notre Dame, which ranks No. 14 and is 8-1 this season.
Illinois has dropped two straight games, though. We shot poorly in the Michigan contest, as they tore us apart from the jump. That is honestly the only bad game we have played this season.
Just days ago, the Illini played Missouri tough but fell just short by three points. That is a tough Tigers team that could see the postseason this year as well.
While a record of 5-4 doesn’t look good, I still have faith in this Illinois basketball program. We have played a tough non-conference slate, and I hope this will get us prepared for the full Big Ten schedule coming up.
Illinois plays a tough Arkansas team on Wednesday that sits at 9-3 this season. They have already taken down a top-15 program, but this team is beatable. Illinois needs to be hitting from three-point range, though.
We then have UTEP to finish out the non-conference. They are a team that is currently 4-6 this season. I expect that to be a get-right game for the Illini.
Finishing the non-conference at 7-4 would be optimal. Illinois then heads into the Big Ten schedule that looks tough. The conference is good this season, and we start things off with No. 16 Indiana. These next two games are extremely important. Let’s start with a win today and continue to make the NCAA tournament push.