HQ forecast: UI women 74, ISU 69

HQ forecast: UI women 74, ISU 69

Beat writer JEFF HUTH's look at Illinois State at Illinois, 7 p.m. today

Illinois (6-4)
Pos.     Name           Yr.     Ht.     PPG
G     Alexis Smith    So.     5-9     9.0
G     Ivory Crawford         So.     5-10     15.7
G     Amber Moore    Jr.     5-11     13.9
F     Kersten Magrum    Jr.     6-1     7.0
C     Karisma Penn      Sr.     6-2     18.9
FYI: Penn is shooting .531 from the field (68 of 128). The fourth-year starter’s single-season best is .514 in 2010-11.
F     Taylor Tuck    So.     6-0     6.0
F     McKenzie Piper    Fr.    6-0    3.4
F     Nia Oden    So.     5-10     2.5
Illinois State (6-4)
Pos.     Name    Yr.    Ht.    PPG
G     Alexis Jenkins    Sr.     5-6     5.4
G     Jamie Russell         Sr.     5-8     14.2
G     Katy Winge       So.     5-11     5.2
F     Janae Smith          So.     6-2     15.8
F     Maddie Oliver       So.     6-1     5.1
FYI: Smith, a transfer from College of Charleston, already is a four-time Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week.
G     Candace Sykes    Sr.     5-10    13.0
G     Alexis Foley    Fr.     5-10     4.8
G     Chloe Nelson    Jr.     5-7     2.5

TV: Streamed live at BTN.com.
Radio: WDWS 1400-AM; Dave Loane (play-by- play) and Mike Koon (analyst)
Series: Illinois leads 21-14.
FYI: Illinois State is playing its second game in three days and third in six. Illinois, having taken a break for final exams, last played Dec. 12.

Prediction: Illinois 74, Illinois State 69
The Redbirds are 1-2 against Big Ten opponents this season, with the win coming against Northwestern by an impressive 18-point margin. The Illini are 0-1 versus in-state nonconference opponents, having lost at home to a Bradley team picked to finish sixth in the 10-team Missouri Valley. ISU was No. 3 in the MVC’s preseason poll, so this appears to be a tougher task for Illinois. The teams have faced one common opponent, with the Redbirds losing by two points to Memphis at home and Illinois winning by eight at Memphis. However, it’s a shaky comparison because Memphis was without two injured starters when it faced Illinois 21 days after edging ISU. We’ll pick the Illini in a close one. After stumbling against Bradley, Illinois should be hungry not to falter again against a midmajor state rival, particularly on its home court. (N-G prediction record: 9-1)


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