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Illinois scores 16 in first half, blown out in Big Ten opener

Big Blue too big for the Illini.

TCR // David Pollak

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — On Sunday, State Farm Center hosted a clash between two two-loss Big Ten teams looking to start their respective conference campaigns on the right foot. Attendance was called at 3,763 just days after Illinois head coach Shauna Green called for more fans to show up.

In a battle between the Maize and Blue and the Orange and Blue, the Michigan Wolverines sprinted past the Fighting Illini for 40 minutes, leaving them in the dust 84-48.

Genesis Bryant, Illinois’ leading scorer this season, finished the game with 0 points, down from her average of 16.9. Makira Cook did just about everything she could to help bad turn to worse, but her 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting was not enough.

If the first half was Michigan out-playing Illinois, the second half was a reminder that college basketball doesn’t have a mercy rule. The third and fourth quarters were more of the same, if not better, for Michigan’s offense. Everything found the bottom of the basket.

Michigan shot extremely well. 33-73 from the field and 13-30 from three-point land. Their starting five alone combined for 65 points, outscoring Illinois’ total of 48.

Much of their scoring came early in the shot clock and in transition, coming from turnovers, and rebounds off of Illinois misses.

“We got absolutely killed in transition today,” Green said after the game. “[The stat sheet] doesn’t show it. That’s not right, two points in fast break? No.”

The Fighting Illini played a more polished second half, too. They shot 41.4% from the field, up from their 17.9% in the first half. They couldn’t get things figured out on defense.

Michigan got it done inside and out. They scored the ball better and defended better. They out-rebounded, out-defended, out-shot Illinois. The Fighting Illini were out-basketballed on Sunday.

Illinois, 31st in the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings, just lost a home game to Michigan, 38th in the NET.

Illinois was coming off of their two best practices all year long, according to Green and Kendall Bostic, who joined her head coach alongside Adalia McKenzie for postgame. Despite that, Michigan was too much.

“I wouldn’t have in my wildest dreams thought that we’d come and perform like this,” Green said.

WATCH THIS

Arguably Illinois’ best offensive action came right after tipoff.

Halftime’s Toys for Tots Teddy Bear Toss. More stuffed animals found the boxes on SFC’s court than Illinois (3-19) made three-pointers today.

STAT STUFFERS

  • Makira Cook (ILL): 14 points
  • Kendall Bostic (ILL): 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks
  • Jordan Hobbs (MIC): 22 points, 8/11 FG, 4/5 3PT
  • Lauren Hansen (MIC): 14 points, 5 assists

UP NEXT

Heading into Sunday, Michigan was coming off of a loss to Toledo, and walked into Champaign looking to bounce back.

“Michigan beat Toledo and they came in and they were ready to play,” Kendall Bostic said. “When we play Missouri, we need to have the same mentality Michigan did today.”

Illinois will stay at home to host the Missouri Tigers in the Braggin’ Rights game next Sunday, December 17. Tipoff at State Farm Center will be at 3 p.m., and you can catch the game on the Big Ten Network.