LIVE! Alabama A&M

LIVE! Alabama A&M

FINAL: Illinois 88, Alabama A&M 60

The 18-game losing streak is over for the Illinois women's basketball program.

Illinois collects its first win since Dec. 12, 2017, and begins Nancy Fahey's second season at the helm of the program on a good note.

After the Illini struggled from the field in the opening 20 minutes (30.8 percent from the field), Illinois found some success after the break, especially beyond the arc. 

The Illini utilized a 37-14 run during a 10-minute period spanning the third and fourth quarters to take control of the game for good. 

Illinois finished the game by shooting 47.5 percent from the field, including 50.0 on three-pointers. The Illini had five players in double figures led by Ali Andrews (17) and 10 each from the likes of Alex Wittinger, Cierra Rice, Jaelyne Kirkpatrick and Arieal Scott. 

Illinois 55, Alabama A&M 40, end third quarter

Illinois has found its offensive stroke in the third quarter.

Arieal Scott is a big reason.

Scott hit back-to-back three-pointers and the Illini closed the third quarter on a 12-2 run to take a 15-point lead after 30 minutes.

Illinois 38, Alabama A&M 33, 6:10 third quarter 

Illinois began the second half on a good note culminating with a transition three-pointer from Ali Andrews in the right corner.

But, the Bulldogs climb back into the game, with Carnethia Brown's three-pointer and a good take from DeShawna Harper to the basket for a layup.

A fired-up Alabama A&M coach Margaret Richards greets her team after UI coach Nancy Fahey decides to call timeout. 

Illinois 29, Alabama A&M 24, Halftime

Illinois held the Bulldogs scoreless over the final 2:36 to take a five-point lead into the halftime break. 

And, it was a former local star who helped the Illini stretch their advantage in the final minutes of the opening half of the season. 

Arieal Scott said Monday it's a dream come true for her to be playing for Illinois.

The Urbana native, who's life has taken a few unexpected turns in the past few years, spotted up from the top of the key to knock down a three-pointer with 2:19 left in the second quarter. 

Illinois 16, Alabama A&M 16, End 1st Q

Illinois continues to be led by Ali Andrews, whose nine points have the Illini tied with the Bulldogs through the game's first 10 minutes. 

Arieal Scott got a few good looks from outside the three-point arc — missing both — but thus far the Illini's best success on the offensive end has been inside the paint (4 points from Andrews). 

Illinois 11, Alabama A&M 10, 4:10 1st quarter

Illinois recovers from a slow start that saw the Illini miss on their first five attempts from the field.

The first six minutes have been all Ali Andrews. Andrews has knocked down 3 of 4 shots, all in the paint, to put Illinois ahead 11-10 against Alabama A&M. 

The Illini are still shooting 37.5 percent from the field. 

Illinois will be without junior guard Petra Holesinska in the opener due to a right knee injury. The extent of her injury is unknown at this moment. 

Illinois vs. Alabama A&M, 11 a.m. today

Good morning everyone, it's about time for Nancy Fahey's second Illinois women's basketball team to tip off its new season. There are 30 minutes and counting. 

This offseason has clearly been about fixing the issues that ailed the Illini last season when Illinois started the season 9-4 but dropped its final 18 games to finish Fahey's first season with a 9-22 record.

So, how will the Illini turn things around? 

Illinois wants to push the ball in transition to score more easy buckets. Players, like Cierra Rice and Alex Wittinger, told me on Monday that the Illini also believe their identity can be tied to being a tough matchup defensively. 

"I want to be a team that no one wants to play," Rice said. 

While you're getting ready for the game, here is our coverage leading up to today's season opener: 

Kirkpatrick, Rice and Wittinger aim to lead Illini turnaround

Illini work on finding identity in year two under Fahey

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