HQ forecast: UI women 72, Tulsa 67

HQ forecast: UI women 72, Tulsa 67

Sneak peek:

Tulsa vs. Illinois at Junkanoo Jam at Grand Bahama Island,
Bahamas, 3:45 p.m. Friday

The Lineups
Illinois (2-1)

Pos.     Name                 Yr.     Ht.    PPG
G     Alexis Smith      So.     5-9     7.7
G     Amber Moore     Jr.     5-11     13.3
G     Ivory Crawford     So.     5-10     20.3
F     McKenzie Piper    Fr.     6-0      4.7
F     Karisma Penn     Sr.     6-2     19.0
FYI: With her next three-pointer, Moore will tie Melissa Parker (1996-2000) for fourth place on school career list. Moore enters with 132 treys.
F     Taylor Tuck          So.     6-0     9.3
F     Nia Oden          So.     5-10     3.7
G    Cassie Dumoulin    Jr.    5-8    0.0

Tulsa (0-3)
Pos.     Name                 Yr.     Ht.    PPG
G     Kelsee Grovey          Fr.     5-8     6.3
G     Taleya Mayberry          Sr.     5-6     19.0
G     Ashley Clark       Fr.     5-11     7.7
F     Tiffani Couisnard         Sr.     6-1     10.7
F     Loren McDaniel       Jr.     6-2     5.3
FYI: With 10.0 rebounds per game, Couisnard is averaging a double-double.
F Mariah Turner           So.     6-2      3.0
G Antoinet Webster     Fr.     5-9      3.0
G Kadan Brady              So.     5-9     2.0

The Details
TV: None
Radio: WDWS 1400-AM, WDAN 1490-AM, Mike Koon (play-by-play)
Series: First meeting
FYI: With Dave Loane handling Illini volleyball broadcast duties, Koon moves from analyst chair to play-by-play this weekend.

Jeff Huth’s storylines
When the Illini traveled to Puerto Rico during Thanksgiving Week last year, Matt Bollant was on the opposite bench. Now, the former Wisconsin-Green Bay coach is running a UI program that lost by 20 points to his Phoenix in 2011. That UWGB team went 2-0 in the San Juan Shootout. “Those trips have been great to us,”said Bollant, who was pleased to inherit a UI schedule that included this trip. “It’s great to play good teams on a neutral court. Obviously, it helps recruiting, too. Kids like to hear you’re going to the Bahamas.” Penn, who scored 20 points and did not miss a field goal or free throw attempt against UWGB last November, has said that game is among the reasons Bollant arrived in Champaign with a high degree of credibility with Illini players. Bollant could end up coaching against another familiar foe this weekend. Last March, his final Phoenix team defeated Iowa State 71-57 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. If the Illini and Iowa State each win Friday, they will square off Saturday at 9 a.m. Bollant views the current Cyclones, who are receiving votes in The Associated Press Top 25 poll, as a team worthy of a national ranking.  “Honestly, I thought they’d be in the Top 25 with all the kids they have returning from a team that played in the NCAA tournament last year,” he said
The Illini have been outrebounded in each of their last two games, including by 13 against Cleveland State last Sunday. With starting forward Kersten Magrum sidelined by a left shoulder separation, this could be a continuing area of concern for Illinois. The 6-foot-1 Magrum was averaging 4.5 rebounds per game when she was injured during the second half against Bradley on Nov. 15. With the Illini currently needing all the help they can get on the boards, junior guard Amber Moore stepped up against Cleveland State. The 5-11 Moore pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds. The fact that all 10 were on the defensive glass was particularly significant because Illinois struggled mightily to keep Cleveland State off the offensive boards. The Vikings finished with 18 offensive rebounds and scored 20 second-chance points. Moore, best known for her impact as a three-point shooter, said afterward that she entered Sunday’s game determined to contribute more as a rebounder. “I think one thing that helped me was watching film with our coaches,” she said. “I could tell where I was lacking and where I needed to be on the court, so I made a conscious decision this game (to focus on rebounding).”
Every time Bollant walks on the practice court these days, he’s reminded of the players his team doesn’t have available. There’s Magrum. There’s senior guard Adrienne GodBold, who is academically ineligible for the fall semester. And there’s sophomore guard Sarah Hartwell, a newcomer from Georgia Tech who is sitting out this season under NCAA transfer rules. “When we lost the other day (to Bradley), to walk in the (practice) gym and see ... two of our best players that unfortunately can’t play (is difficult),” Bollant said. “But these kids are good enough. We’re not focused on what are we going to be like when Adrienne comes back. We’re focused on this group getting better and these guys accomplishing great things.” Assuming GodBold receives academic clearance, Bollant said he expects the reigning Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year to be available for the Dec. 28 game against Georgia, although there’s a small chance she might be eligible for the Dec. 21 visit by Illinois State.  As things stand, an Illini rotation down to seven players is vulnerable to the kind of foul problems that arose against Cleveland State. Two Illini fouled out and Penn picked up her fourth foul with 12:36 left in the second half, although she still managed to play 35 minutes. “We’d like to have eight (in the rotation) because it’s hard with seven because the system we run, it’s so aggressive.”

Prediction: Illinois 72, Tulsa 67
Tulsa is awfully young, with two freshman starters and five freshmen or sophomores among the top eight. That amount of youth can lead to inconsistency. Still, the Golden Hurricane has yet to be blown out, and SEC member Arkansas can attest that Tulsa is dangerous. The visiting Razorbacks needed overtime to fend off Tulsa last Thursday. (N-G prediction record: 2-1)


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lmaran wrote on November 23, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Actual score 82-75, Illinois!