Women’s Basketball Game Preview 9: Illinois at No. 5, Indiana, 1 p.m., Sunday | Sports


Illinois (7-1)


P name year. Ht. PPG hometown

G Makira Cook Jr. 5-6 15.3 Cincinnati

G Jayla Oden Sun. 5-9 6.8 Baltimore

G Adalia McKenzie Sun. 5-10 16.4 Brooklyn Park, Minn.

F. Brynn Shoup-Hill Sun. 5-10 4.0 Goshen, Ind.

F Kendall Bostic Jr. 6-2 8.3 Kokomo, Ind.

FYI: Almost half of Cook’s 39 assists for the season came in his last two games for the junior point guard. Cook had a season-high 10 assists during the Illini’s loss to Delaware and followed that up by nine assists in Wednesday night’s win in Pittsburgh of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

From the bank

P name year. Ht. PPG hometown

G Genesis Bryant Jr. 5-6 13.9 Jonesboro, Ga.

G Jada Peebles Sr. 5-10 10.6 Raleigh, NC

F/C Geovana Lopes Gr. 6-3 2.6 Bataguassu, Brazil

No. 5 Indiana (8-0)


P name year. Ht. PPG hometown

G Sara Scalia Sr. 5-10 13.1 Stillwater, Minn.

G Chloe Moore-McNeil Jr. 5-11 9.8 Sharon, Tenn.

G Sydney Parrish Jr. 6-2 11.9 Fishers, Ind.

G. Yarden Garzon Fri. 6-3 12.4 Ra’anana, Israel

F Mackenzie Holmes Sr. 6-3 20.6 Gorham, Maine

FYI Parrish, an Oregon transfer, has started the last two games for the Hoosiers with veteran guard Grace Berger out “indefinitely” due to a knee injury sustained in Las Vegas last weekend. The Indiana native played in Wednesday night’s 87-63 home win over No. 6 North Carolina with 24 points and six rebounds on 9-of-15 shooting.

From the bank

P name year. Ht. PPG hometown

G Henna Sandvik Fri 6-0 0.8 Helsinki, Finland

F Mona Zaric Sun. 6-2 1.4 Novi Sad, Serbia

F Alyssa Geary Gr. 6-4 3.8 Elmhurst


Location: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall (17.222); Bloomington, Ind.

Streaming: BTN plus (subscription).

Radio: Mike Koon will have the call on WDWS 1400-AM and 93.9-FM

Series: Indiana leads 46-30.

Last meeting: Indiana won 93-61 in Champaign on February 9th.

FYI: The Illini have lost 13 straight to the Hoosiers, with the most recent win being a 73-60 win on Feb. 23, 2013 in Champaign when Karisma Penn scored 25 points to put Illinois in power. The Illini have not beaten an Associated Press top five opponent since January 2, 2000, when Illinois defeated Georgia 82-65 at home.

Defeat author Joe Vozzelli Jr.’s storylines

Fill it up from beyond the arc

How do you end a 21 game losing streak in real street games? A 14-of-24 three-point shooting performance, like Illinois’ in their 21-point win over Pitt Wednesday night, is a good place to start. That performance meant the Illini were the country’s No. 1 three-point shooting team with 44.14 percent, going into the weekend with 44.14 percent, just ahead of second-place Texas Tech (44.07).

“We really get a lot of open shots from dribbling drives and from being selfless,” said junior guard Genesis Bryant, who is 17 of 35 on three-point attempts — one of three Illini players who shoot more than 48 percent from deep. Makira Cook (13 of 26; 50 percent) and Jada Peebles (22 of 37; 59.5 percent) are the others. “We will give up a good shot for a great shot. I have a feeling a lot of teams don’t do that. I feel like having that kind of mindset across the team really helps.”

Get stuck on the defensive end

Illini freshman coach Shauna Green noted the irony during her induction press conference in late March that she was an offensive player at Canisius College — she’s still the Division I program’s all-time leading scorer (2,012 points) — but she it was a defensively oriented head coach. That defense is the first point where Adalia McKenzie – Illinois’ leading scorer at 16.4 points per game after scoring consecutive games over 20 points – has pointed to Friday as an area where the 5-foot 10-wing sophomore most seem to indicate Green’s message is resonating with her new team.

“I’m very keen on getting stops and not letting anyone score against me,” said McKenzie, whom Green sees as a potential all-conference-caliber defender. “Whether it’s taking offense, getting steals, or getting defensive rebounds, I think defense is a mindset and it’s just about having that aggression on that side of the floor and I want to have that.”

Additional preparation before the matchup with Hoosiers

Green had already seen some of Indiana’s previous games when she sat down to watch BTN’s broadcast of the Hoosiers’ dominant win over North Carolina on Thursday night. Green rewatched Friday’s game between North Carolina and Indiana before chatting with reporters for about 10 minutes on the court at the Ubben Basketball Complex early in the afternoon.

Green wasn’t that surprisingly impressed with what she’s seen of Teri Moren’s undefeated Hoosiers roster.

“They defend at a high level. They have several chances to score even if Grace Berger (with a knee injury) is out. They’re #5 in the country for a reason. Sunday we have our hands full. … They’re loaded,” Green said. “I think (when) one of your leaders and emotional leaders like Grace is (goes down) for them, everyone steps up. You play for them and you obviously play for your team.

“As I said (to my players) the other night, ‘We don’t have any pressure.’ Everyone in the world thinks Indiana will win. We come in and we have to do what we’re doing and play our game.”

Choosing the News Gazette

#5 Indiana 91, Illinois 71

There’s no doubt that the Hoosiers were a motivated team after what happened to them in Las Vegas. North Carolina bore the brunt of that frustration. A win in Pitt was a step in the right direction for the Illini, but Indiana is Final Four caliber with a deep and talented roster. Beating the Hoosiers is too tall a task — even for a burgeoning Illinois program just brimming with confidence. (NG Prediction Record: 7-1)