Saturday's roundup: Volleyball team, Futtrell shine
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The 1-2 punch of Liz McMahon and Jocelynn Birks was at it again Saturday night.
Three days after combining for 58 kills in a five-set victory at Northwestern, the outside hitters belted 19 apiece to lead Illinois to a 26-24, 25-18, 25-21 victory against Iowa in Big Ten volleyball. The Illini (14-16, 8-12 Big Ten) concluded their season with a third consecutive victory, matching their longest winning streak in 2012.
McMahon hit .378 in 37 swings, while redshirt freshman Birks fell one kill short of her 12th 20-kill match of the season.
Illinois hit .305, its highest attack percentage since Sept. 29. Iowa hit .202.
With Jennifer Beltran and Ali Stark combining for 29 digs, the Illini outdug the Hawkeyes 58-51.
Senior middle blocker Erin Johnson, in her final match for Illinois, contributed seven kills and hit .462 in 13 swings.
In women’s basketball:
The high-scoring Illini met their match in Iowa State’s defense in the Freeport Division title game of the Junkanoo Jam at Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas.
Illinois, which had not scored fewer than 82 points in any of its previous four games, was held 31 points below its scoring average in a 68-50 loss to the Cyclones.
The Illini shot 28.6 percent in the first half and 32.7 percent for the game. Even so, Illinois was within eight points of Iowa State at halftime and rallied to tie the score, 29-29, on a three-point play by Karisma Penn with 15 minutes, 37 seconds left.
Ivory Crawford later sank a three-pointer with 14:41 remaining to give the Illini their only lead of the second half, 32-31.
With Illinois trailing 44-40, the game quickly turned as the Cyclones went on a 20-5 run. Tournament MVP Hallie Christofferson hit three three-pointers and scored 13 points during the five-minute run as Iowa State pulled away to a commanding 64-45 lead.
Penn barely missed a double-double, finishing with 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Crawford led the Illini with 11 points but shot 4 of 13 from the field, including 2 of 9 on three-pointers.
Amber Moore contributed nine points and a game-high-tying six assists for Illinois. Christofferson scored a game-high 18 points despite being limited to 22 minutes by foul trouble. Iowa State played without Chelsea Poppens, a Naismith Player of the Year Watch List selection, who was injured Friday in a win against Loyola Marymount.
B.J. Futrell became Illinois’ all-time record-holder for pins as the No. 5 Illini went 3-0 at the Journeyman Duals in Troy, N.Y. Futrell pinned three opponents at 141 pounds to raise his career total to 35. Teammate Daryl Thomas defeated two ranked opponents at 133.
The Illini defeated Princeton 46-0, No. 15 Maryland 31-6 and No. 24 Binghamton 39-10.