B1G Game 19: Gophers visit Illinois (3-5-21)

Ignatius L Hoops

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The Illini Haven’t Gotten Any Better
After losing to Minnesota 83-73 in Williams Arena, Illinois went 0-5 in preparation for the regular season finale against the Gophers in Champaign.

The February loss to Minnesota loss started out as a rout with the Gophers leading 24-8 at the end of one and 42-25 at the half. A Sara Scalia three with 6:38 remaining in the third quarter gave Minnesota a 29 point lead. Then came all too common slightly nervous finish familiar to Gopher fans. After following behind 57-28, the Illini got in gear and cut the Gopher lead to 7 with :39 seconds remaining. Scalia closed down the attempted comeback with a jumper and free throw. For the Gophers Scalia finished with 20 points, Powell with 17 and Sissoko with 16.

The Ilini’s two best players had excellent days: Sophomore Jada Peebles (21 points and 4 rebounds in 37 minutes) and sophomore Jaenae Terry (16 points, 8 rebound and 10 assists in 35 minutes). Peebles, Terry and fellow sophomore Kennedi Myles have started every B1G game. Myles’ scoring has dropped off but her rebounding is still solid. Freshman Aaliyah Nye has worked her way into the starting lineup and adds a serious three point threat (21-52 for .404). Redshirt Junior Eva Rubin has yet to take a three; but she is 6’5” and puts in a useful 15-20 minutes/game.

The most interesting player off the bench is Solape Amusan who is the only other consistent three point threat (14-37 .378). The most unpredictable bench player is 6’3” Geovana Lopez who had 12 points in 14 minutes against Purdue in the Illini’s most recent game. I said some good things about Aaliyah McQueen before the last game-I hereby withdraw those comments. Nancy Fahey uses her bench; but it generally to no avail.

After the Northwestern loss Nancy Fahey said:

“We continue to work on ball handling, continue to work on passing. It was one of our emphasis the last two days,” Fahey said. “It’s just the decision making; we have to get better on our decision making.”

Other than that…

One good thing that can be said about the Illini: you can occasionally find a little bit of scrap in Fahey’s squad. Minnesota learned that in the first game. So did Indiana and Purdue. The Hoosier’s 42-25 lead early in the second half all but evaporated with Illinois closing within 1, 51-50, with 2:15 remaining in the game. IU survived the scare. More recently, Purdue’s 58-42 lead early in the fourth quarter dissolved into a 61-61 dog fight with 2:21 left in the game. The Boilers struggled but survived. It’s much safer to crush them when you can crush them like Maryland, Iowa and Rutgers did….if we play.


Illinois Big Ten Record (1-16):

Win:
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, @ Minnesota 73-83, Indiana 50-58, @ Maryland 58-108, @ Rutgers 46-75, Northwestern 61-67, @ Purdue 66-70.

Postponed:
Michigan, Michigan State



Jada Peebles Last Six Games

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Minnesota2141371
Indiana1343404
Maryland1800370
Rutgers1010370
Northwestern1536401
Purdue1322380


Jeanae Terry Last Six Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Minnesota16810354
Indiana520243
Maryland356242
Rutgers864363
Northwestern255261
Purdue635361


Probable Starters:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’10”GSoJada Peebles36.412.22.1
5’11”GSoJeanae Terry30.210.27.5
5’11”GFrAaliyah Nye24.38.72.3
6’2”FSoKennedi Myles27.48.27.2
6’5”CRJrEva Rubin19.97.13.1


Others:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
6’1”FSoSolape Amusen12.74.81.9
5’9”GJrJ-Naya Ephraim22.63.92.1
6’3”C/FJrGeovana Lopez11.02.92.9
5’9”GFrAaliyah McQueen11.32.92.8
5’11”FSrLyric Robins10.31.81.6
 
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Katogopher

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I think the Gophers are locked into the 9 seed going into the BIG Tourney regardless of this outcome. I wonder if they should continue to let Powell rest until the tourney if she is able to go Unless they are thinking of. WNIT bid. It’s still looking like a Nebraska vs Minnesota first round game. It is hard to beat a team three times in one season, not crazy about this matchup. Just hoping everyone is healthy and safe during the stretch run of this difficult season.
 

whalenfan

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According to the pioneer press article, we will only have 8 players available tommorrow.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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According to the pioneer press article, we will only have 8 players available tommorrow.


Whalen said some players will miss Friday's game for COVID-related reasons but declined to identify them. Guard Jasmine Powell, who aggravated an ankle injury in a Feb. 20 loss at Maryland, is not expected to play at Illinois.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Whalen said team medical staff has given the all clear for the Gophers to travel to Illinois on Friday. Minnesota will have up to eight players available, though Whalen declined to give specifics.

"We’re planning to go with eight. I’m not going to talk about who they are, but they’re all going to play. You’re going to see tomorrow," Whalen said.

The Gophers had their first practice since their third COVID-19 pause on Wednesday. Unlikely to play Thursday is second-leading scorer Jasmine Powell, who is battling an ankle injury. She’s averaging more than 14 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in 18 starts
 

bball_craz_26

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Based on the coaches/players instagrams/twitter photos

Here is what we know about the availability today

Out Injured:
-Powell (ankle) but is on trip
-Ross (in a boot) is on trip

Seen in photos on trip

-Scalia
-Sconiers
-Smith
-Hedman
-Hubbard
-Sissoko

Unknown/Havent seen on trip

-Mershon
-Bagwell-Katalinich
-Borowicz
-Strande
-Cummings

Since Whalen said they will be running with 8, guessing three of the five "unknowns" is who willl be out.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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From the Daily Illini:

“[Minnesota's] backcourt is their three leading scorers, actually, they have four that are really good,” said head coach Nancy Fahey. “Inside we have to take advantage of our size. We didn’t do a good job of that in the first game, so we feel like we’ve got to get a little more post touches to counteract that offensively.”

Fahey also wants to make sure that the backcourt is not getting loose in transition and creating easy scoring opportunities, so the Illini need to limit their turnovers.

In the last outing, the Illini also struggled to defend the three-point line. Minnesota made 11 of their 25 attempts from distance and used it to develop a big early lead. The three-point pressure went even further, as Minnesota was willing to take much deeper threes than Illinois normally sees.

“We have to have trust that we have ball pressure, but we have to make sure we maintain our help-side defense and really move quickly on the pass,” Fahey said.

If the Illini are going to take their seniors out on a victory, they’re going to need a resurgence from their backcourt. Sophomore guard Jeanae Terry has struggled lately.

After a hot stretch between January and February, Terry ended the month in a slump. She has failed to score in double figures since the last Minnesota game and is shooting a putrid 18% from the floor during that time. Terry is also averaging nearly five turnovers a game in that span, and her effectiveness on the glass and as a playmaker has shrunk.

Sophomore guard Jada Peebles, on the other hand, has thrived of late. She has scored double digits in six straight and nine of the last 10 games. Her shooting has gotten better, and she is finally developing into a player that can lead a team. Peebles needs to keep up her recent success in this matchup
 

GringaGopher

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Based on the coaches/players instagrams/twitter photos

Here is what we know about the availability today

Out Injured:
-Powell (ankle) but is on trip
-Ross (in a boot) is on trip

Seen in photos on trip

-Scalia
-Sconiers
-Smith
-Hedman
-Hubbard
-Sissoko

Unknown/Havent seen on trip

-Mershon
-Bagwell-Katalinich
-Borowicz
-Strande
-Cummings

Since Whalen said they will be running with 8, guessing three of the five "unknowns" is who willl be out.
This has been a challenging season between Covid and injuries. The silver lining has been increased PT for the freshman.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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35 all at the half. Cumming 4-4 including a three with 9 points and 2 fouls. And it's good news that Sissoko has 9 points and no fouls.

We'll need Sconiers in second half. She played six minutes and picked up two fouls.
 

MNGirlsHoops

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Cummings gave us some much needed points, but defensively she has given up 20
 

GringaGopher

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Missed the 1sthalf but looks like we had 3 players scoring 9. FG % of 48 and 50% from 3. 7 TO's and 12 points from the bench. Go Gophers !
 

Frink

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Cummings gave us some much needed points, but defensively she has given up 20
Can't fault the effort but she really lacks foot speed on d. In her defense those are a couple of really soft foul calls on her.
 

whalenfan

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Sissoko is a huge loss, we dont have anyone that can create on offense right now.
 

whalenfan

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So we go to the conference tournament with 7 players available? I cant imagine Sissoko is back and radio pregame said Powell is out the year.
 

fanfromthevalley

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Three COVID pauses for us - pause on pre-season activites, for our Michigan home game, plus the players missing today. Very few teams are going to have success under those circumstances. And, more than our share of injuries this year compared to recent seasons. Let's get everybody healthy and hope we've moved on from the COVID world for the 2021-22 season.

Depending on Sissoko status, if we're down to seven players as it seems we could be, it will be tough to win a game in Indy.

Kudos to the players who gutted it out today with the very short bench.
 

Katogopher

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Only got to watch the first half, haven’t watched the second half. Hard to be too critical with the season they have had. I hope a full off season will prepare this team in defending the paint, it’s been an Achilles heel for a few seasons now. Not sure if the answer is on the roster now or with new recruits. Hope Sissoko is ok and wish her and all the other walking wounded a speedy, healthy recovery. I hope this team stays intact they are so close to breaking thru if they can solve the paint issue
 

MNGirlsHoops

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This team will get better, they have a nice core of about 5-7 players, but there are some huge gaps they have to address;
1. Defense, defense - this is really about foot speed in the front line. Kadi is a great start, but Klarke has to improve defensively, get stronger.
2. The offensive game plan, there is a lot of standing around, there is too much emphasis put on the PG roll. I dont see Smith a PG unless the offensive part of her game grows including passing, she needs to be a '3' until she develops a mid range shot.
3. We will need another scorer opposite Scalia, otherwise she will never get an open look again. Diva was that person, but it appears her body is starting to break down.

on the positive side - Kadi will continue to grow, Klarke should get stronger, Jazz and Scalia will be a year wiser, Strande has something when she figures out the defensive side, Katie brings energy and the new power forward coming in may have something to work with.
 

GringaGopher

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Putrid women's and men's programs....Good thing fans were not allowed to watch it.
I have been watching all the women's games on BTN plus. Definitely a disappointing season but she has talent and some good shooters with an excellent recruiting class on the way. Too early to tell if the program will be successful .
 

GopherGangsta

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I have been watching all the women's games on BTN plus. Definitely a disappointing season but she has talent and some good shooters with an excellent recruiting class on the way. Too early to tell if the program will be successful .
I would speculate if Whalen cant get it turned around in a couple years, that she will walk away....She has a lot pride and is a winner....Two more years of losing like this will wear on her.
 

whalenfan

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This team will get better, they have a nice core of about 5-7 players, but there are some huge gaps they have to address;
1. Defense, defense - this is really about foot speed in the front line. Kadi is a great start, but Klarke has to improve defensively, get stronger.
2. The offensive game plan, there is a lot of standing around, there is too much emphasis put on the PG roll. I dont see Smith a PG unless the offensive part of her game grows including passing, she needs to be a '3' until she develops a mid range shot.
3. We will need another scorer opposite Scalia, otherwise she will never get an open look again. Diva was that person, but it appears her body is starting to break down.

on the positive side - Kadi will continue to grow, Klarke should get stronger, Jazz and Scalia will be a year wiser, Strande has something when she figures out the defensive side, Katie brings energy and the new power forward coming in may have something to work with.
Agree with most of this but how much do you think the pauses in summer then training camp then again now along with all the injuries have impacted these things? Theres just been no way for the team to build chemistry on the court with so many different lineups during the year and all the missed practice time prior to the season. I think everyone can see post defense needs to improve dramatically but we have alot of breakdowns in our team defense as well and that should be able to improve with just time on the court together id think.
 
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adamj95

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Hopefully gophers can get a strong post presence via transfer this off season.
 
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