CHAMPAIGN — The Fighting Illini women’s basketball team lost 67-58 to No. 25 Florida State Thursday night in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Cold shooting, turnovers and bench scoring hurt Illinois throughout. Head coach Nancy Fahey says the team was competitive until the Lady Seminoles turned up the defensive pressure.
“We did a great job on the boards, early, up until halftime. They made some adjustments early in the third quarter. We adjusted well, we just … too many open turnovers and open possessions that led to, like, 22 fast break points,” Fahey said.
FSU got 29 bench points to Illinois’ 15. The Seminoles scored 34 points in the paint to Illinois’ 14. The Illini committed 18 turnovers, and FSU only 13. The visitors also won the rebound battle 40-35.
Aaliyah Nye and Jada Peebles led Illinois with 17 and 12 points respectively. De’Myla Brown added 11 points, three assists and four steals.
But Peebles converted just four of her thirteen shots. She and Nye each converted three three-pointers on eight attempts. Brown was 3-10 from the floor.
Peebles said the cold shooting wasn’t necessarily a product of FSU’s defense.
“I think that every game we’re probably gonna have to work for shots, but I would just say it was an off-night,” Peebles said. “I know personally, for me, every shot that I put up, that was wide open, felt good. It just didn’t hit.”
Nye agreed with that assessment.
“We’re always gonna be the ones that are pressured. They’re looking for us. They know we’re shooters,” Nye said. “I didn’t feel pressured, they just weren’t falling. (You) just have those nights.”
Three Seminoles — Morgan Jones, Makayla Timpson and O’Mariah Gordon — scored 12 points each. Jones grabbed 10 rebounds and Timpson nine.
Kendall Bostic also grabbed 10 rebounds for Illinois.
Much of the Illinois men’s team attended the game, including Da’Monte Williams, the latest Illini to recover from a non-COVID viral infection that’s plagued both the men’s and women’s teams over the past two weeks. Jacob Grandison, Luke Goode, Brandin Podziemski, Coleman Hawkins, Jacob Grandison, Ben Verdonk, RJ Melendez, Alfonso Plummer and Trent Frazier were also in attendance.
The men host Rutgers in the Big Ten Opener Friday night at State Farm Center. That game tips at 6 pm and will be televised on ESPN2. Head coach Brad Underwood says point guard Andre Curbelo will not play, as he continues to recover from unspecified neurological problems.
The women return to action Sunday, hosting Eastern Kentucky for a 2 pm tip at State Farm Center.
Rob McColley covers University of Illinois sports for WILL.