That’s one way to start 2023.
One day after picking up its first win over a ranked opponent since 2019, Illinois women’s basketball nearly entered the AP Top 25 for the first time since just after the turn of the century, checking in right outside the poll with the most votes of any team not in the top 25.
It has been 423 polls — Nov. 27, 2000 — since Illinois had a number next to its name. In that poll, the Illini were No. 24 (behind a typical 1-2 punch of UCONN and Tennessee).
But those days are behind us, with the Illini (13-2) now a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten (3-1).
In just half a season first-year head coach Shauna Green has a well-oiled machine with several big-time scorers, including Makira Cook and Genesis Bryant.
It’s not going to get any easier for Illinois, however. This week is a game against in-state rival Northwestern in Evanston, followed by a trip to a fierce Ohio State team with its own expectations of a deep tournament run.
Anywho, let’s enjoy this moment — we know the team is.
.@Shauna_Green on 12/21:— Illinois W Basketball (@IlliniWBB) January 2, 2023
"Go 2-0 your next games and I'll Griddy"
"Say less"#Illini | #HTTO | #OneWay pic.twitter.com/LKG9A0jjTZ