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Illinois’ rally comes up short in overtime loss at Purdue

So, so, so close.

TCR // David Pollak

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — With Orange Krush in attendance, Illinois traveled to the Mackey Arena in an attempt to extend their win streak to three.

On a seven-game losing streak, the Boilermakers needed to be at their best to stop the Fighting Illini, who won back-to-back heading into Monday night. Despite a late surge in the closing seconds of regulation to tie the game after trailing by as many as 14, Illinois’ comeback attempt would fall short as they lost 77-72.

Both teams were donned in white and pink for Purdue’s annual Pink Out game, and put on a show for the pink-dotted 3,953 in attendance.

It took until the 6:19 mark for Illinois’ first basket, which sparked the Orange Krush to take their hoodies and jackets off to reveal their bright orange. Chants of “ILL” followed by “INI” echoed around Mackey Arena after Adalia McKenzie’s layup that put Illinois on the scoreboard.

Illinois’ 22 first-half points were its lowest since managing just 16 in its home loss to Michigan earlier in the season.

Despite shooting 8-for-31 in the first half and finding themselves down 11 at the break, Illinois clawed its way back into this one, outscoring the hosts 20-12 in the final quarter of regulation to force overtime.

In overtime, a pair of missed free throws from Purdue’s Rashunda Jones gave Illinois light and a 3-point deficit to fight down the court, but Genesis Bryant’s game-tying attempt bounced off the rim and out of bounds.

With the game tied and seconds to go on the clock, Illinois had the ball and a chance to take the lead. With the buzzer just moments away from sounding, Illinois’ Genesis Bryant’s half-court heave was off-target, spelling overtime for both teams.

The bonus basketball period was a back-and-forth chess match, with both teams exchanging blows.

“McKenzie, man, she was just flying in and chasing them down,” Purdue head coach Katie Gearlds said of Illinois’ number 24, who finished with 12 of her team’s 21 offensive rebounds.

Camille Hobby, who was averaging 13.8 points in her last six games, managed just five points on Monday night.

“Go at her,” Gearlds said postgame. “I thought if we could go at her and get her in foul trouble, that could help us.”

Despite second-half heroics from the likes of Adalia McKenzie and Kendall Bostic, who finished with 15 and 24 points respectively, Illinois would fall short in its comeback attempt.

STAT STUFFERS

  • Kendall Bostic (ILL): 24 points, 15 rebounds
  • Adalia McKenzie (ILL): 15 points, 17 rebounds (12 OR)
  • Makira Cook (ILL): 14 points, 8 assists
  • Mary Ashley Stevenson (PUR): 25 points, 9 rebounds

UP NEXT

After the loss, Illinois will head back to Champaign to welcome another regional rival in Northwestern. Tip-off at State Farm Center will be on Thursday at 6 p.m., and the game can be streamed on Big Ten Plus.