CHAMPAIGN, Ill — It might be time to hit the panic button.
The Illini’s return to Champaign, after falling in a tightly contested matchup with No. 16 Indiana on New Year’s Eve, did not go as planned.
With Illinois back home, and with a week to prepare, they failed to pick up their first Big Ten win of the season against Wisconsin on Sunday in a 67-61 loss.
Illinois (6-7) has not won a home game in over a month, the last time being Dec. 6 against Northern Kentucky. Since then the Illini have went 1-5 in their last six, losing four of those games by less than two scores.
With Illinois coming out of the gate slow, Wisconsin was able to grab the lead from the jump. Going into the second quarter with the lead, it allowed the Badgers’ Serah Williams to attack the rim at will. The same went for Illinois’ Adalia Mckenzie, propelling the Illini to catch up to the Badgers. Illinois went into the half trailing by only one.
Despite a rough day from the field, Illinois’ Makira Cook was finding ways to put the ball in the bucket giving the Illini a fighting chance. She finished with a team-high 18 points, going 8-of-20 from the field. Her along with Genesis Bryant flipped the script, and after a half-court Cook buzzer beater the Illini held a one point lead after three.
The first possession of the fourth the Badgers took back the lead with a Halle Douglass three. Illinois would be playing catch up for the rest of the final frame. With three minutes left in the game, the Illini made six of their last eight shots, holding Wisconsin without a field goal for the remainder of the game. Wisconsin, however, was able to make its free throws to hold off Illinois.
- Serah Williams (WISC) — 27 Points | 15 Rebounds | 10-17 FG
- Makira Cook (ILL) — 18 Points | 8-20 FG
- Ronnie Porter (WISC) — 14 Points | 8 Assists | 12 Rebounds
- Genesis Bryant (ILL) — 14 Points | 4 Assists
- Adalia McKenzie (ILL) — 13 Points | 10 Rebounds
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
WBB will be back in action as they travel up to Lincoln to take on the Cornhuskers.
The game will be available on Big Ten Network on Thursday at 7 p.m.