Projected 2024-25 lineup for the Illinois basketball team

The women's Illinois basketball team has a load of talent returning in 2024-25, and now we are throwing a five-star freshman into the mix.
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No. 5 Forward/Center

Starter: Kendall Bostic (5YR)

Illinois has pretty much everyone in the backcourt returning to the roster in 2024-25. The Illini frontcourt can just about say the same as well. This includes one of the greatest players to ever play for the program, Kendall Bostic, returning. On Thursday night, the women’s Illinois basketball social media account announced that Bostic was coming back for her fifth year. This was an incredible development.

Bostic is that lunch pail-type of player. She doesn’t get too high or too low. She comes to work and dominates. This past season, Bostic averaged 12.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. Her presence on both the offensive and defensive sides of the court is invaluable. Bostic is one of the leaders of the program, and just her presence alone elevates this team to great heights. Bostic will easily have the No. 5 starting spot on the team.

Backup: Hayven Smith (FR)

It was hard to determine who the backup to Bostic might be in 2024-25. I was deciding between Hayven Smith and Shay Bollin. I ended up landing with Smith, though. The freshman is coming into the program with great size, and I want to see what she can do with backup minutes.

Smith stands at 6-foot-6, which is the tallest player in the Illinois lineup. She can rebound the basketball well and has a chance to be a great option when we go up against other big centers or if Bostic gets into foul trouble. Smith doesn’t have a ton of experience, but I can’t wait to see her on the court. I have her as the primary backup at the No. 5 spot.

Backup: Shay Bollin (JR)

Illinois also has Shay Bollin, who will be a junior in 2024-25. Bollin transferred in from Duke and played in 29 games this past season. She averaged 2.1 points and 1.3 rebounds in 8.0 minutes per contest. I like the depth that Bollin brings to the Illini. She has great experience, and that will not only help her on the court, but it will help develop players like Smith. I have Bollin as the second backup at the No. 5 spot.

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