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This Week in Illini Athletics: Nov. 21-27, 2022

It’s that time of year to give thanks... because it could be so much worse.

Craig Pessman

Welcome to “This Week in Illini Athletics,” a weekly review of the past week of Illini sports and a preview of the week to come.

Football (7-4 Overall, 4-4 Big Ten)

Last Week: The Illini had #3 Michigan on the ropes late in the ball game last week, but were unable to come away with the massive upset. It was a great performance by a team who lost their previous 2 games to inferior opponents. The Illini could have given up and tossed in the towel while looking forward to destroying Northwestern and a Bowl Game, but they stuck with it.

Final: Illinois 17, #3 Michigan 19

This Week: The Land of Lincoln trophy is up for grabs has the Illini go visit little brother Northwestern on Saturday.

Volleyball (15-13 Overall, 10-8 Big Ten)

Last Week: Illinois volleyball had a great week, as they are heading towards the home stretch on their regular season.

  • vs. Michigan State - Facing off against the Spartans for the second time in less than a week, the Illini knew this wasn’t going to be an easy task. 1st set went back and forth until the Illini went on a run to take a 16-13 lead of Michigan State, but the Spartans would return the favor. They successful completed a 12-4 run to over take the Illini in the first set; 25-20. The first set seemed to carry over to the second as very identical play took place. Close set all threw out came to a standstill at 18-19 in favor of Illinois. Brooke Mosher and Raina Terry combined for 5 of the Illini’s next 6 points lifting them to a set 2 victory. This match was entering Instant Classic territory as both teams were knotted up at 24 in the 3rd set. Michigan State handed it to the Illini however, after two service errors. The Illini held the advantage, and that was enough motivation to push them over for a set 4 win, and a match victory.

Set 1: ILL 20 - MSU 25 | Set 2: ILL 25 - MSU 22 | Set 3: ILL 26 - MSU 24 | Set 4: ILL 25 - MSU 18 | Final: ILL 3 - MSU 1

  • vs. Iowa - The Hawkeyes have been struggling in regards to Big Ten play. They are 2-16 in a year they certainly want to forget. Iowa came out strong however, chasing the Illini all the way to the end in the 1st set. With the score at 22-24 in favor of the Illini, Iowa was able to tack on one more before Illinois shut the door. The 2nd set was dominated by the Illini, in a 25-15 route. With the Hawkeyes on their last leg, a sweep was inevitable... unless Iowa had something to say about it. The Hawkeyes came in determined as they held a massive commanding lead of 20-13, 5 points away from a set lead. Not on Illinois watch however, as they made a massive comeback to tie it up at 23 a piece. At this point Iowa was shell-shocked as they saw their first set win fall between their fingers. Illini would go on to win the set 26-24.

Set 1: ILL 25 - IOWA 23 | Set 2: ILL 25 - IOWA 15 | Set 3: ILL 26 - IOWA 24 | Final: ILL 3 - IOWA 0

This Week: The regular season wraps up with the Spike Squad facing off against Indiana & Northwestern on the road.

#19 Men’s Basketball (Overall 4-1, Big Ten 0-0)

Last Week: The boys competed in the Continental Tire Main Event in Las Vegas last week and wow... there’s a-lot to unpack here.

  • vs. #8 UCLA - “Sloppy but Fun” was the terminology used by Illini fans describing the first half of basketball play. Both teams struggled to get in a rhyme as it was mayhem all over the place. Illinois’ Mathew Mayer seemed to find his footing with the Illini after some questionable short performances against Monmouth and Eastern Illinois. The UCLA duo of Tyger Campbell and Jamie Jaquez Jr. were toasting the Illini defense boosting them to a 37-28 lead heading into half. Coming out of half, Illini’s Terrence Shannon Jr. decided to take over. He went nuclear... going 8-9 from deep. Shannon couldn’t do it by himself, however, aided by a supporting cast of Dain Dainja, Skyy Clark, Coleman Hawkins, and Sencire Harris (who had a crazy impact in his 9 minutes on the floor) The Illini shocked the Bruins in the second half, taking the win 79-70.

Final: #19 ILL 79 - #8 UCLA 70

Top Performers:

Terrence Shannon Jr: 29 pts | 10 rebs | 3 ast | 1 blk | 8-9 3pt

Dain Dainja: 13 pts | 3 rebs | 1 stl | 6-6 fg

Mathew Mayer: 11 pts | 4 rebs | 5 ast

Coleman Hawkins: 5 pts | 5 rebs | 7 ast

Sencire Harris: 4 pts | 1 ast | 2 stl | 9 minutes of Greatness

  • vs. #16 Virginia - After their upset over UCLA the Illini found themselves in the Continental Tire Main Event Championship game against Virginia. The game started, and it was pretty clear the the Cavaliers were trying to prevent Terrence Shannon from repeating his performance against UCLA. With Shannon being the vocal point to the Virginia defense, the Illini looked to others to get the offense rolling. Jayden Eeps became a massive contributor, dropping 14pts in the contest, but the rest of the team failed to find a groove. Looking back on the game one stat shines the brightest. Virginia was able to score a total of 25 points from the free throw line out of 32 attempts, Illinois... shot an embarrassing 9-26 from the line. And when the final score is 61-70 — you know where nine points were left at the strip.

Final: #19 ILL 61 - #16 Virginia 70

Top Performers:

Jayden Eeps: 14 pts | 4 rebs | 2 stls

Coleman Hawkins: 10 pts | 1 rebs | 3 ast | 3 blk

Terrence Shannon Jr: 9 pts | 4 rebs | 6 ast | 6 to

This Week: The Illini will try to learn from the trip to Vegas as they compete against Lindenwood this week.

Women’s Basketball (Overall 4-0, Big Ten 0-0)

Last Week: The Illini and new head coach Shauna Green are on a roll, and are looking like a force to be messed with.

  • vs. McNeese State - Domination. Pure Domination. Everyone was apart of this win, and by everyone I mean everyone. Thirteen total players hit the court for the Illini, with 12 playing 10 or more minutes. Illinois was able to reach the magic No. 100 as they took this one with their eyes shut.

Final: ILL 100 - McNesse St. 38

  • vs. Evansville - Once again the Illini took care of business. Genesis Bryant and Makira Cook led the team in scoring respectively with 19 and 17 — with others right behind them. The Illini owned the paint, scoring over 50 points near the restricted area. They sweep the week winning 93-54.

Final: ILL 93 - EVILLE 54

This Week: Oakland, Charlotte, and Delaware are on the schedule this week for Illinois.


Last Week: The Wrestling team last week was able to pick up a monster win against Buffalo winning 28-9, but they also took a loss against NC State 12-27. Danny Braunagel, Matt Wroblewski, Lucas Byrd, and Edmond Ruth picked up winnings in their respective weight classes.

This Week: The wrestling team will be off this week.

Cross Country

Last Week: Senior Olivia Howell was the lone Illini to compete at the NCAA Championships last week. Olivia ran a 21:27.9 in the 6k which slotted her in at 208th place. Congratulations to Olivia and the rest of the xc teams on a great fall. On to Track!