MADISON — Things looked good for the Illini women’s basketball team after 8 minutes of play in yesterday’s 69-57 loss at Wisconsin. Illinois led 17-12, and Janae Terry had already scored ten points.
Then the bottom fell out. The Illini didn’t score another field goal for 12 minutes, and the Badgers outscored them 24-5 during that stretch.
Terry said after the game that the Illini had to take their collective foot off the gas because their aggressive play caused particular problems.
“Turnovers (and) key fouls is what kind of slowed us down,” Terry said. “Eva Rubin came and got two or three fouls, and so she had to sit down. The fouls and the turnovers is what kind of made us lay back for those possessions in the second and third quarters.”
Rubin, Illinois’ six-foot-five starting center, finished the game with just two points and two rebounds — and four fouls . Without their tallest player in the middle, the Illini struggled to compete with the Badgers, according to Illinois head coach Nancy Fahey.
“I think Wisconsin came out and their length bothered us,” Fahey said. “They’re a very long, big team and their length bothered us and we just didn’t really adjust to it well in the second quarter. That was the ballgame right there.”
Kennedi Myles managed a team-high nine rebounds against the taller Badgers, but offensively, she wasn’t able to connect on any of her five field goal attempts, and finished with a single point.. In all, the Illini missed sixteen straight shots during that 12-minute drought.
Terry finished with a career-high 28 points. She also grabbed 11 rebounds, giving her a second double-double in as many games. Jada Peebles added 15 points for the Illini. The team committed 14 turnovers for the game, but forced Wisconsin into 20.
Wisconsin’s Imani Lewis was dominant on the interior, scoring 22 points, grabbing 16 rebounds, and drawing six fouls. Sydney Hilliard added 18 points and 8 rebounds, and Estella Moschkau 12 points for the Badgers.
It was Wisconsin’s first conference win of the 2021 Big Ten season. They’re now 1-11 in league games, and 4-11 overall. Illinois remains winless in conference, dropping to 0-9 and 2-10 overall. Next up for the Illini is a road game at Michigan State on Thursday. That one tips at 6 PM CT.
Rob McColley covers University of Illinois sports for WILL.