CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois stumbled out of the gate as Indiana scored 34 points in the game’s first minutes and cruised to a 77-58 victory at State Farm Center on Sunday. Ivory Crawford led the Illini with 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting but Indiana made 12 three-pointers and out-rebounded Illinois 45-26.
“In the locker room, I told them that we gave up 90 points to Ohio State and I would hope that our effort and our intensity on the defensive end would be really good to start the game,” Illinois head coach Matt Bollant said. “And to give up 34 points in the first nine minutes was really disappointing. Give Indiana credit, they hit a lot of shots and their freshman guards, (Taylor) Agler and (Larryn) Brooks, are really good basketball players. They played a great basketball game and we didn’t. So we’ve got to figure out how to regroup and how to play as a team and have more fight in us and be able to defend.”
Illinois shot just 39.7 percent (25-of-63) from the field while allowing the Hoosiers to hit 47.5 percent (28-of-59) of their shots, including 12-of-27 (44.4 percent) of their three-pointers. IU recorded 21 assists on its 28 field goals and the Illini forced 21 turnovers but scored only 17 points off them. Illinois shot just 4-of-24 (16.7 percent) from three-point range, including 1-of-13 (7.7 percent) in the second half.
Taylor Gleason chipped in nine points in 13 minutes off the bench, her most since scoring 11 against Alcorn State on Nov. 17. Amber Moore had eight points, while Sarah Hartwell and Alexis Smith each put in seven.
Both teams started hot, as Indiana hit 5-of-7 to start and Illinois hit six of its first seven shots from the field, as the Hoosiers led 17-14 at the first media timeout. But IU reeled off an 11-1 run that forced a timeout by Bollant with 11:42 remaining, as Indiana had pulled ahead 28-15. The Illini missed six straight shots and had a turnover during that span, as their only point came when Crawford went 1-of-2 from the line.
The Hoosiers’ run finished at 17-1 when Illinois switched to its “buzz” defense and forced six straight turnovers. But the Illini converted those miscues into only six points, then IU drew a pair of fouls and sank all four free throws, pushing its lead back to 38-23 with 7:41 remaining.
Illinois held Indiana without a field goal for over seven minutes but managed only one of its own during that stretch as the Hoosiers led 40-25 at the final media timeout of the first half. Indiana pushed its lead to 18 with a three-pointer but Illinois scored the final six points of the half, pulling within 43-31 at the break. Crawford had a team-high 12 points at the break on 5-of-10 shooting.
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