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No. 24 Illinois wins first game as ranked team in 22 years

The Illini keep rolling in the Big Ten.

MINNEAPOLIS — The No. 24 Illinois Women’s Basketball team bounced back from a tough loss with a 70-57 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis on Sunday — Illinois’ first win as a ranked team since late 2000.

The Illini were paced by a balanced attack that included four players in double-digits. Makira Cook finished with 20 points. Genesis Bryant contributed 18 points to go along with five assists. Brynn Shoup-Hill scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Minneapolis native Adalia McKenzie had 13 points and 8 rebounds.

The Gophers were led by a double-double from Alanna Michaux, who scored 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the floor to go along with 14 rebounds.

The Illini scored seven of the game’s first nine points. But after a relatively even stretch for the remainder of the opening quarter, Minnesota freshman Maura Braun hit a buzzer-beating three-point shot to bring the Gophers within three.

In the second quarter, an 8-0 run extended the Illini lead to double figures. Illinois continued to push the pace throughout the remainder of the half, led by a 10-point second quarter from Genesis Bryant. Shauna Green’s squad closed the half on a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 42-28.

Kendall Bostic battled foul trouble throughout the game. Geovana Lopes helped shoulder the rebounding burden in her stead with 10 rebounds.

Heading into the final frame, the Illini maintained their 14-point halftime lead. By the end of the third quarter, four Illini players had already reached double-digit scoring. The Illini scored a double-digit win despite finishing the game on a 6:32 field goal drought.

Minnesota was without starting guard Katie Borowicz. The redshirt freshman missed the game due to illness and was replaced in the starting lineup by Maggie Czinano. The Gophers entered the contest on a four-game losing streak.

Illinois returns to the court at State Farm Center on Wednesday night against No. 6 Indiana. The Illini nearly upset the Hoosiers in December in Bloomington.