Well, the season is mercifully coming to a close.
The Illini came up short again last week in their quest to win their first Big Ten matchup of the season. They remained competitive, but could not overcome their deeper, more talented counterparts.
It's unfortunate, really, because there have been some truly remarkable bright spots in this lost season, most notably junior Alex Wittinger and sophomore Brandi Beasley.
HIGHLIGHTS: Three #Illini finished in double-figures, led by Alex Wittinger's career-best 30 point performance against Ohio State. Brandi Beasley & Ali Andrews added 15 points each pic.twitter.com/0yo0EERrdj— Illini W Basketball (@IlliniWBB) February 14, 2018
Last week started with a tough opponent in No. 14 Ohio State, but Wittinger really put on a show, as she poured it on with 30 points and 16 rebounds in the losing effort. The Buckeyes pulled away in the second half for the 88-69 victory.
She was joined by Beasley (15 points) and sophomore forward Ali Andrews (15).
Unfortunately, that was, ostensibly, the extent of their offense as no one else even managed five points from the bench.
For the Buckeyes, it was guard Kelsey Mitchell who led the team with 28 points, followed closely by senior guard Linnae Harper with 20 points and 12 rebounds, impressive numbers for the 5-foot-8 guard from Chicago.
It has truly been a magnificent season for Alex Wittinger, and combined with Beasley and some of the incoming recruits, it could be (with any luck) a fairly quick turnaround.
In the second game of the week, Illinois put up arguably its best effort in its best chance for a win the rest of the season against Northwestern. Again they came up a bit short, falling 68-61 to the Wildcats.
Again it was the Wittinger/Beasley tandem that paced the Illini, as they scored 18 and 21 points, respectively. For Northwestern, it was sophomore Bryana Hopkins with 15, followed by Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah with 13.
The Illini close out the season with games against Purdue on Wednesday in West Lafayette and the regular season finale versus Minnesota on Sunday.