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The Ladies Are Going To The Elite Eight Of The WNIT

Just because the men are done doesn't mean there isn't anymore Illini basketball going on.


I know we haven't covered women's basketball here on The Champaign Room but it's not because we don't like women's basketball as much as it's I can only follow so many sports closely and still live my life. And even though I haven't written about them before, that doesn't mean I'm going to ignore the team's latest accomplishment.

The Illini are on their way to the Elite Eight in the WNIT after beating Toledo 63-55 on Thursday night, which is the furthest the women's basketball team has ever advanced in the WNIT.

The Illini finished last night's game on a 16-8 run after the game had been tied at 47-47 and got big efforts from Karisma Penn and Amber Moore. Penn finished with a double-double, scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds while Moore went off from deep, dropping five of her ten three-pointers.

It's the second time in three WNIT games that Moore has hit five threes in a game, so she's going all Brandon Paul on opponents.

"[Toledo] made several runs at us and earlier (in the season), we may not have responded like we did tonight," said coach Matt Bollant. "We had a lot of poise tonight and played with a lot of heart, which was really encouraging to see. I think this is as good of a road win as we've had in a long time. To come into this really tough environment against a Toledo team that is in the top 40 in the RPI, this is a really good win for our team.

"Karisma (Penn) was a warrior down the stretch. Made every play that she had to. And this postseason has been so good for Amber (Moore). To get three great games and play with a lot of poise and a lot of heart, and hit five threes for us and also was great in the 'Buzz' for us as well. To force 23 turnovers against this team...they're a really good basketball team. And tonight, we broke the Big Ten steals record, which I'm so proud of this team for the heart that they played with and the passion."

The ladies are now on their way to Manhattan, Kansas where they'll play Kansas State Saturday at 4pm Central.

No word on whether Bruce Weber will be courtside yelling at all the players to stop shooting.

Follow The Champaign Room on Twitter at @Champaign_Room. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter at @TomFornelli.