LIVE! No. 22 Iowa at Illinois women's basketball

LIVE! No. 22 Iowa at Illinois women's basketball

FINAL: No. 22 Iowa 94, Illinois 75

The Illini didn't have enough firepower to hang with the Hawkeyes for 40 minutes.

Illinois' top two scorers — Brandi Beasley and Alex Wittinger — each went for 20 points, with Beasley supplying 21 points and Wittinger chipping in 20. 

It wasn't even close to enough, not with the way the Hawkeyes were humming on the offensive end.

Iowa pulled away in the fourth quarter for their third straight win. Megan Gustafson led Iowa (14-4, 5-2 Big Ten) with 27 points and 12 rebounds. 

The Illini (9-9, 1-6) have lost four straight games. 

End third quarter: No. 22 Iowa 76, Illinois 62

The Illini got as close as five points in the third period, but the Hawkeyes have answered back to retake a double-digit advantage.

Brandi Beasley's kick-out pass to Arieal Scott led to Scott's three-pointer and Beasley followed the next time down the floor with a layup that closed Illinois' deficit to 61-56 with 6:26 left in third quarter. 

That's as close as the Illini got, however.

Iowa is shooting 69 percent from the field compared to 55 percent from Illinois. The Illini have been led by Alex Wittinger's 18 points, while Megan Gustafson has posted 25 points for the Hawkeyes. 

HALFTIME: No. 22 Iowa 55, Illinois 45

That's not a misprint. 

The first half belonged to both offenses, with the Hawkeyes shooting 72 percent and the Illini shooting 59 percent from the field. 

Iowa had three players in double figures led by Megan Gustafson's 17 points followed by 12 points from Tania Davis and another 10 points from Kathleen Doyle. Illinois countered with 14 points from Alex Wittinger. Brandi Beasley chipped in with 12 points and Arieal Scott posted nine points.

Beasley also dished out five assists. The combo of Beasley and Wittinger have gone 12 of 16 from the field.  

The Illini cut their deficit to eight points twice in the second quarter, the latest of which coming when Scott drained a three-pointer with 57 seconds remaining in the opening half. 

* * * 

No. 22 Iowa 48, Illinois 38, 4:57 second quarter 

Brandi Beasley has responded nicely after a bad game against Nebraska on Thursday at State Farm Center.

Fresh off a six-turnover game in which she fouled out late in the fourth quarter, Beasley is already up to 12 points against Iowa, including crossing over her defender at the top of the key and slashing to the basket for a layup.

The problem is Illinois has been taking the ball out of its own net far too often, with the Hawkeyes shooting 74 percent from the field.  

* * * 

After 1st quarter: No. 22 Iowa 31, Illinois 21

Stop me if you've heard this before: Illinois will begin the second quarter with a deficit to overcome.

The Illini, who have been outscored by a combined 32 points in the first quarter of their six Big Ten games this season, trail by 10 against the Hawkeyes.

Illinois has been dailed in offensively — for the most part — with three first-quarter three-pointers from Brandi Beasley, Arieal Scott and Cierra Rice.

The Illini clawed back within six with 1:34 left in the opening quarter on back-to-back jumpers from Alex Wittinger. 

But, Iowa closed the first period strong, including Megan Gustafson's buzzer-beating three-pointer. 

The Hawkeyes shot close to 70 percent in the first quarter, thanks to their transition offense. Illinois received eight points from Wittinger. 

* * * 

No. 22 Iowa at Illinois, 2 p.m. (BTN Plus) 

CHAMPAIGN —Remember the last time Illinois was on a three-game losing streak and faced a ranked opponent? The Illini completed a stunning 66-62 comeback at then-No. 12 Minnesota in Minneapolis on Jan. 6. 

Now, three weeks later, Illinois finds itself in a similar position, having lost three straight to Rutgers, Penn State and Nebraska entering today's 2 p.m. showdown against No. 22 Iowa inside State Farm Center. 

Today is the start of a difficult week for the Illini (9-8, 1-5 Big Ten), who have three games in eight days, including two against ranked opponents. 

First thing's first, Illinois must deal with the Hawkeyes (13-4, 4-2), which means dealing with 6-foot-3 center Megan Gustafson, who is averaging 26.1 points and 13.1 rebounds. Iowa has now won four its past five games, three of those wins coming by double digits. 

The Illini, who are fresh off a 77-67 home loss to Nebraska on Thursday night at State Farm Center, received a huge offensive pick-me-up from Arieal Scott. The freshman poured in a career-high 23 points, joining Alex Wittinger (14 points, 13 rebounds) and Cierra Rice (11 points) in double figures.

The problem for Illinois was the Cornhuskers got off to a fast start, and the Illini simply couldn't dig out of a 25-17 first-quarter disadvantage. 

The Illini have been outscored 115-83 in the opening quarter across their first six Big Ten games. 

Before today's tipoff, here are a few pregame reads:

Beasley chases milestone while also trying to right ship for Illini 

Scott is great, but Illini fall to Nebraska

Recent tough stretch leads to moments of reflection for Fahey, Illini

-