B1G Game 13: Gophers Host Illinois (2-10-21)

Ignatius L Hoops

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 9, 2015
Messages
7,021
Reaction score
436
Points
83
Some Losses are Simply Embarrassing

In three plus years at the helm in Champaign Nancy Fahey’s B1G record is 5-58. Against Lindsay Whalen’s Gophers, Fahey is 2-0. To the Illini we are a B1G version of the Detroit Lions. Fahey’s other three conquests were Penn State, Wisconsin and THIS JUST IN Purdue (bye, bye Sharon). Resume building wins, they are not.

I’d be willing to type the name of Illini’s 6’3” reserve forward Nancy Panagiotopoulou Andritsopoulou a couple of thousand times if we could defeat the awful team in the orange uniforms. Nevertheless, it’s an awful team that is now on a roll.

We Remember More About the Pre-Game than the Game

Last season’s Illini win was a narrow one, 71-74. After Minnesota allowed Illinois to grab a 12 point (68-56) lead with 4:28 remaining, It took a three pointer outburst by Scalia, Hubbard and Brunson to spark a Minnesota comeback. The Gophers closed to within one 72-71 with 1:11 remaining before the comeback stalled. After missed shots by Scalia and Powell, Hubbard had the ball stolen by Brandi Beasley. Beasley was fouled and knocked down a couple of free throws for the final victory margin. Powell missed a game tying three at the buzzer.

The Illini were led by Petra Holesinska with 28 points and Brandi Beasley 12 points. Kennedi Myles (10 points and 7 rebounds) and Jeanae Terry (9 points and 5 rebounds) provided valuable minutes. Minnesota had four players in double figures: Scalia 16 points, Powell 15, Brunson 14 and Hubbard 12.

Hmm, if there seemed to be a name or two missing from Minnesota’s scoring leaders, there were. Yes, this was the game that the suspensions hit the fan. Destiny Pitts and the Bellos DNP and the game became secondary to the drama. It was the week Whalen personally learned that the chalk board may be the least important aspect of coaching.

Changes

Anyway, after winning 4 Big Ten Games in three years, Nancy Fahey was looking for a reboot. Defeating Minnesota just wasn’t enough. Changes were made.

First, the Illini’s three leading scorers: Petra Holesinska, Brandi Beasley and Ali Andrews moved on. Holesinska grad transferred her shooting prowess to North Carolina. Beasley and Andrews graduated.

Then the bench staff was revamped. Nancy Fahey, who had inherited assistants from the previous staff, made two changes. Assistant coach LaKale Malone was replaced by Scott Merritt and assistant coach Vernette Skeete replaced Tianna Kirkland.

Next, Fahey addressed Illinois’ height deficiency. Eva Rubin arrived from Arizona State. She was a lightly used bench player at ASU; but she is 6’5”. Joining Rubin was 6’3” Geovana Lopes from Odessa College.

And, of course, there are the recruits: 6’3” Erika Porter (emphasis on the 6’3”) was one of three freshmen joining the program. The other two were guards 5’11” Aaliyah Nye and 5’9” Aaliyah McQueen. McQueen is a quick, attack the basket guard who can also knock down threes-or so they say. Nye’s height and multi-position play has her putting up some decent freshman numbers.

Providing the Illini’s core were the returning sophomores: 5’11” guard Jeanae Terry, 5’10” guard Jada Peebles and 6’2” forward Kennedi Myles. They are the teams three leading scorers. Myles, who was stuck under the basket, playing out of position last season is more free to roam this season. She’s averaging 10 points and 7 rebounds. Peebles, noted for her defense, started 11 games last season. She’s averaging 11 points/game. Peebles is a mediocre three point shooter even though she takes more threes than her teammates. The big leap forward has come from 5’11” guard Jeanae Terry. Terry is averaging 12 points, 9 rebounds and 4+ assists per game.

“Best Laid Plans”:

Nye, McQueen and Porter played in the conference opener in Nebraska and nearly pulled off the upset. The Illini led 55-54 at the half and were tied at 67 with 2:52 remaining in the game. But they got Haiby’d. The Husker’s Sam Haiby (33 points for the game) led a 11-5 closing run for a 78-72 Husker win.

Promisingly, Illinois finished with five double figure scorers: Peebles 16, Rubin 13, Solape Amusen 13, J-Naya Ephraim 11 and Nye 10. Things were looking up even with the perfunctory postgame complaint about lack of toughness (from the Daily Illini):

A frustrated Rubin, after the game, questioned the team’s preparedness going into the game.

“We’ve got to be tougher, and that starts in practice,” said Rubin, “We know what we signed up for when we came here, we’re trying to rebuild our team, rebuild our culture, and establish a new way of doing things here.”

Fahey echoed that sentiment questioning the team’s toughness. After struggling to shoot outside in the last two games, the Illini turned it around today as they went 9-23 from beyond the arc.


More troublesome were the injuries. The most notable were to the freshman class: Nye, McQueen and Porter played against Nebraska and then were out for extended periods. All three have returned after missing significant time. Porter has played three B1G games, Nye 6 and McQueen 7.

Nye returned for the rematch with Nebraska. It was another close loss 53-57. And again, Haiby made the difference. With the score 55-53 Huskers, Haiby stole an Illini inbounds pass with 10 seconds left and then buried the game sealing free throws. On her return, Nye dropped in 15 points in 23 minutes to lead Illinois. Yes, close losses are featured Illini highlights.

Just to Reiterate:

If hasn’t sunk in, the Illini are an awful awful awful team. They are last in the B1G in scoring 59.5, last in FG% (.369), last in 3 point % and they are 13th in free throw % (.671). They are last in assist to turnover ratio (.670) and last in assists (1.64). It must be said that adding height helped in one category-blocks. The Illini are 10th in blocks; the Gophers are 13th.

The Illini starting five was Terry, Peebles, Myles, Rubin and J-Naya Ephraim. Ephraim is a junior who got her first start two years ago when the Illini defeated the #12 Gophers. She posted 7 points and 5 assists.

But, today versus the Boilers, Aaliyah Nye and Erica Porter replaced Rubin and Ephraim. Porter didn’t do much; but the move seemed to loosen the court for Kennedi Myles. Myles (14 points and 9 rebounds in 37 minutes) was running, scoring and flexing like a legend. The Nye move (8 points in 26 minutes) certainly worked out at the end. With :41 seconds remaining, Nye was the three-point shooter at the culmination of an Illini inbounds play. She nailed it. The Illini led by one and never trailed again as they topped Purdue 54-48.

Just what we need. An awful team entering Williams Arena with a history of beating Minnesota and on a win streak. Forget embarrassing, this could turn plain ugly.

Illinois Big Ten Record (1-10):

Wins:
Ha Ha Ha…Oh, wait: Purdue 54-49

Losses: Nebraska 72-78, @ Indiana 56-79, Iowa 68-107, Ohio State 59-78, @ Michigan 50-70, @ Northwestern 54-73, Nebraska 53-57, Penn State 76-80, @ Wisconsin 57-69, @ Michigan State 60-81.

Postponed: Michigan, Michigan State


Jeanae Terry Last Six Games

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Northwestern1183282
Nebraska653254
Penn State21168345
Wisconsin28112344
Michigan State10106310
Purdue1574311


Jada Peebles Last Six Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Northwestern721312
Nebraska222264
Penn State1933380
Wisconsin28112344
Michigan State1712332
Purdue632381


Probable Starters:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’11”GSrJeanae Terry30.212.29.0
5’10”GSoJada Peebles35.510.72.0
6’2”FSoKennedi Myles29.610.07.1
6’5”CRJrEva Rubin22.87.93.1
5’9”GJrJ-Naya Ephraim25.94.52.3


Others:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’11”GFrAaliyah Nye22.39.01.7
6’1”FSoSolape Amusen12.74.51.8
5’9”GFrAaliyah McQueen11.92.43.6
6’3”FFrErika Porter8.11.40.9
5’11”FSrLyric Robins12.02.01.8
 
Last edited:

fanfromthevalley

Active member
Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
277
Reaction score
31
Points
28
A reminder that this game is now a 6 PM start on Wednesday. That is a recent change from the previously announced 4 PM start. Still streaming on BTN+.
 

Frink

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
1,843
Reaction score
246
Points
63
I was really hoping that this game and the next against Wisconsin would give the Gophs a chance to really regroup and get a couple solid wins in before hitting the road against Maryland and Rutgers. Unfortunately the injuries at guard might make this another scramble to adjust.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 9, 2015
Messages
7,021
Reaction score
436
Points
83

From the Daily Illini:


Offensively, Minnesota is led by sophomore guard Jasmine Powell, who is averaging 15 points per game, but their balanced attack is much more concerning for Illinois.

“(Sara) Scalia has really deep range, Powell can be really explosive, as is (Gadiva) Hubbard, so you have to be moving on airtime,” said Illini head coach Nancy Fahey. “When you go man, you have to make sure you can take Powell off the bounce, so that’s where you have to keep your team intact, and, at the same time, keep (Minnesota) off balance.”

The Golden Gophers also like to take threes, averaging nearly 24 attempts per game, though they’re shooting just 32% on those shots as a team.

Minnesota relies mostly on Scalia, Powell and Hubbard to stretch the floor, and the trio has combined for 84 of the team’s 107 made threes. For the Illini to win this game they need to limit the Golden Gophers’ three-point production.

“We need to make them attack off the dribble, knowing that we have to close out tight and not close out short,” said sophomore guard Jada Peebles. “In transition we have to make sure we’re not getting too deep and making sure we’re getting out to the three.”

[...]

This could be a potential breakout game for Illini redshirt junior center Eva Rubin. At 6-foot-5, Rubin has the size advantage over Minnesota. In the Illini’s last three games, however, Rubin has only scored nine combined points, attempting just eight shots in that stretch. This would be a good time for Rubin to right the ship.

[...]
A key piece as of late for Illinois has been sophomore guard Jeanae Terry. Over her last four games, Terry is averaging 18.5 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and 2.5 steals per game. Her two-way ability has been essential for Illinois, and her rebounding has helped an Illini team with a depleted frontcourt throughout this season.
 

MNGirlsHoops

Active member
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
130
Reaction score
47
Points
28
I would run Scalia at point more especially if Jazz is limited, to be more of a double threat, since most of decisions come from the PG spot, otherwise your expecting your freshman PGs to read the defense and get the ball to her teammates in rhythm. We have to get players that we rely on for scoring, touches, to get them in the flow of the game, otherwise we are saying Scalia or Hubbard make a 3 even though you havent touched the ball in 5 minutes, as a shooter you have to feel the ball, get touches in the offense to have success shooting 3's. Paige touched the ball sometimes 3 or 4 times in each possession against SC, players need touches.
 

whalenfan

Well-known member
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
860
Reaction score
573
Points
93
Powells playing and Mershons starting at C tonight
 

Waffle

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Messages
207
Reaction score
23
Points
18
Not sure who got the lane violation, but it cost them winning the quarter.
 

Aesop70

Active member
Joined
Feb 12, 2019
Messages
153
Reaction score
28
Points
28
Not finishing strong at all. This should be a blowout. Losing their concentration in the 4th.
 

GringaGopher

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 21, 2015
Messages
2,891
Reaction score
526
Points
113
Well we did avoid the 3rd quarter let down but saved it for the 4th quarter. The rebounding remains an issue but we made enough 3's n FT's to secure the W. You should win when you shoot over 50% from the field and 87% from the line. They have another winnable game against WI. coming up next. Go Gophers !
 

ndnae

New member
Joined
Apr 6, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
6
Points
3
I think sara's shoulder was hurting by the end of the game! With 1 minute 17 seconds left in the game Powell gave her a high five and Sara used her left hand. Then Powell had Sara use her right hand and Powell grimaced as if to say that must hurt!
 
Last edited:

MNGirlsHoops

Active member
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
130
Reaction score
47
Points
28
I think sara's shoulder was hurting by the end of the game! With 1 minute 17 seconds left in the game Powell gave her a high five and Sara used her left hand. Then Powell had Sara use her right hand and Powell grimaced as if to say that must hurt!
you could tell on some of those late traps, she just didnt have the strength to secure the ball and fight through the double teams.
 

MNGirlsHoops

Active member
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
130
Reaction score
47
Points
28
Well we did avoid the 3rd quarter let down but saved it for the 4th quarter. The rebounding remains an issue but we made enough 3's n FT's to secure the W. You should win when you shoot over 50% from the field and 87% from the line. They have another winnable game against WI. coming up next. Go Gophers !
Over the course of a game there are going to be runs by both teams, the key was our runs were bigger and we got the W. You can't expect to win every qtr, and this is how young teams grow. I like the quicker lineup with Mershon, she is more active, and I really like the minutes Katie and Strande gave us, that might of gave Scalia the legs to have a big second half, and for us to make FT's down the stretch. Again, we say this a lot, but Kadi was the wildcard, she started off hitting shots and being very active, had a real nice game, it tells team you can't just faceguard our guards, you are going to have to deal with Kadi... Still a couple wild out of control turnovers, but really liked her overall game against IL.
 
Top Bottom