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Illinois’ Makira Cook named Preseason All-Big Ten

The senior guard is looking to pick up right where she left off.

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 15 Div I Women’s Championship - Mississippi State vs Illinois Photo by Marcus Snowden/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Basketball is right around the corner for the Illini and the expectations heading into this season are high.

With a fearless leader in Shauna Green and a talented roster, Illinois is expected to finish fifth in the Big Ten, according to the coaches poll released on Wednesday.

On top of that, returning star Makira Cook has been named to the 2023-24 Coaches and Media Preseason All-Big Ten Team.

The senior guard is coming off a season that saw Cook earn WBCA and Associated Press All-American Honorable Mention and Unanimous First Team All-Big Ten honors.

In 2022-23, Cook averaged a team-high 18.3 points per game, and added 4.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds.

The Dayton transfer plans on making her second season in Champaign even more memorable than her first.

The Illini are coming off their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 20 years. They’ve come a long way from seven wins just two seasons ago.

Finishing this past year 22-10, it was their most wins since the 1999-2000 season.

In head coach Shauna Green’s first season, Illinois saw its first AP Top 25 ranking for the first time since the 2000-01 season. In just one season, Green and Cook have put women’s basketball in Champaign back on the map.

The Green era has seen nothing but success in its first season and the orange and blue are looking to build off of last year’s historic campaign.

Illinois opens up its season with an exhibition hosting Truman State on Oct. 30. The regular season opener will be against Morehead State at the State Farm Center on Nov. 7.