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Illinois women’s basketball falls to No. 16 Missouri

The Illini couldn’t win their Braggin’ Rights matchup.

2004 NCAA 1st Round: Murray State v Illinois

Unfortunately, not everyone could brag this past weekend.

The Illinois Women's basketball team couldn't finish the trifecta — four-star recruit Verdis Brown chose Illinois over Missouri and the Illini upset the Tigers in the men’s basketball Braggin’ Rights game — as they lost a hard-fought contest to the No. 16 Missouri Tigers, 72-55, on Friday.

Sophomore point guard Brandi Beasley led the Illini with 14 points and five rebounds in 36 minutes. Junior forward Alex Wittinger chipped in with 13 points and 3 rebounds in just 21 minutes of action.

Needless to say, first-year Head Coach Nancy Fahey didn't get nearly enough productivity from the rest of the team as the next best scorer was Ali Andrews with nine points. The bench was a non-factor as the Illini struggled to score throughout the game.

Missouri, on the other hand, was a model of consistency through both halves, scoring almost identical point totals in each half on its way to the 16-point victory.

Leading the charge for the Tigers was Sophie Cunningham, who proved to be all but unstoppable with 27 points in a very efficient 36 minutes.

Illinois played tough early on, even holding the lead momentarily, but Cunningham and junior Cierra Porter (11 points, seven rebounds) were too much to handle down the stretch.

Fahey seems to have the team pointed in the right direction, as the Illini have already matched last season’s win total of nine, but it’s going to take some time.

It won’t get much easier, as the Illini travel to College Park to face the No. 15 Maryland Terrapins in the Big Ten opener on Thursday.