Illini blast Concordia in final exhibition

CHAMPAIGN — Taylor Tuck had 20 points to lead seven Illini in double figures as the Illinois women’s basketball team forced 53 turnovers en route to a 120-29 exhibition victory Tuesday night against Concordia.

The Illini, who led 65-13 at halftime, also got double-figure scoring from Alexis Smith (17), Amber Moore (16), Kersten Magrum (16), Karisma Penn (14), Ivory Crawford (13) and McKenzie Piper (13).

“I was really impressed with how hard we played all the way to the end,” Illinois coach Matt Bollant said. “That’s sometimes not easy to do in these kind of games. I think once again we showed how athletic we can be.”

Illinois won its two exhibition games by a combined score of 209-63 and opens the season at 2 p.m. Sunday against Evansville.

Smith had her 17 points on 8-for-10 shooting, adding eight assists, five steals and four rebounds in a solid all-around effort.

Penn (five steals) and Nia Oden (two blocks) had eight rebounds as the Illini racked up 31 steals and outboarded the Cougars 50-24.

“We’re really working on talking more on defense,” Bollant said. “I didn’t think we did a great job of that tonight. The players have done everything we have asked of them so far. That is something we’re asking them to focus on to help us get better.”

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