LINCOLN, Neb. — Illinois traveled into the Pinnacle Bank Arena in search of their first conference win and first road win of what’s been a disappointing start to the season.
Shauna Green’s Illinois team had just one win in its last six, the first game of that stretch being a 36-point blowout loss in their Big Ten opener against Michigan.
That would stretch to one in seven as the Illini lost in a low-scoring affair, 56-48.
There were just 39 seconds in this game that Illinois (6-8, 0-4 Big Ten) weren’t trailing Nebraska (12-4, 4-1 Big Ten).
The game was a back-and-forth tug of war, with each Nebraska scoring run being answered by Illinois's defense chipping away at the lead.
The three-ball was where Illinois was making its money for most of the game. They made 8-of-17 in the first three quarters but were 1-of-8 in the last frame.
Brynn Shoup-Hill led all Illinois players in scoring with 14, an improvement after less-than-desirable performances in recent games. She started in losses to Indiana and Wisconsin but finished with 0 points on 0-for-3 shooting.
If this game was a boxing match, the four rounds were split down the middle. Nerbaska’s 18-13 first quarter, Illinois’ 16-12 second, Nerbaska’s 19-10 third and Illinois’ 9-7 fourth.
Unfortunately for Shauna Green and the Illini, basketball isn’t played in rounds. Even if it was, the third quarter was probably enough for a split decision Nebraska win.
This Time Last Year...
Illinois was 12-2 in its first 14 games last season, and it remains to be seen if Green can get her team on track. The team is out of excuses now. They’re far removed from the 22-10 overall, 11-7 Big Ten record they had last year.
Makira Cook started the season with an injury, which might’ve been the reason for a slow start, but this team is quickly running out of excuses.
Illinois will continue onto the second leg of its two-game road trip with a match against the Northwestern Wildcats. The game will be available on B1G+ on Sunday, January 14 at 2 p.m.