LIVE! vs. Alcorn State

LIVE! vs. Alcorn State

Final: Illinois 112, Alcorn State 28

The Illini extended their winning streak to three with a school-record 84-point victory against the overmatched Braves at State Farm Center on Sunday afternoon.

The Illiini (3-1) broke the previous record for margin of victory -- 74 points against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on March 1, 1979.

Illini forward Amber Moore scored a game-high 25 points, and six teammates joined her in double figures.

UI freshman center Sarah Livingston finished with a double-double (12 points, game-high 12 rebounds).

We'll post a complete game story later so be sure to check back.

****

6:56 left in second half: Illinois 101, Alcorn State 23

Hero: Illini offense

Scored 100 points for first time since Nov. 22, 2010, against Cal Poly. And there's more to come.

Hero II: Illini fans

For not only sticking around until now but remaining engaged with their voices and clapping.

Goat: none

See previous comment.

What I'm thinking:

-- The Peoria area got hit hard by the storms, with Washington and Pekin seeing tornado damage. Puts everything else in perspective.

-- All reserves on the floor for the Illini now, as it should be.

-- Remarkable! How can Alcorn State have scored just five points in the second half so far. This has to be horrible for the team and its coaching staff. It's a guarantee-pay game, but it's coming at a high price to their esteem.

****

12:05 left in second half: Illinois 85, Alcorn State 21

Hero: Illini ball handlers

This has very much been an up-and-down, fast-paced game. Under the circumstances -- and with as many different players as Illinois has used -- 10 turnovers at this stage is commendable.

Goat: none.

I've stopped picking on Alcorn State.

What I'm thinking:

-- It's becoming apparent that this can be a very good free throw shooting Illini team. The Illini are 20 of 25 at the line today and entered shooting 77.3 percent.

-- Time to give Illinois' deep reserves some signficant minutes,

-- The last time the Illiini scored 100 points was on Nov. 22, 2010, against Cal Poly. The most points Illinois has scored in a home game is 113 way back in 1981.

-- The largest margin of victory by an Illini team is 74 points. At home, the largest winning margin is 52. That should fall today.

****

Halftime: Illinois 60, Alcorn State 18

Hero: Sarah Livingston

The Illini freshman center has been a force on the boards, grabbing nine rebounds, including four on the offensive end. Livingston's previous high as an Illini was five boards.

Goat: Alcorn State shooters

We knew the Braves have had trouble putting the ball in the basket, but they might be headed for a new season low. Alcorn State is shooting 19.2 percent (5 of 26), including 0 for 4 from three-point range.

What I'm thinking:

-- Ten Illini played in the first half. Wonder how much court time Matt Bollant will give his deep reserves as the second half progresses.

-- Rebounding can be an issue with this Illini team, but not today. With Livingston showing the way, Illinois hols a commanding 37-17 edge in that category.

-- Freshman center Jacqui Grant has been highly active on defense, coming up with five steals. Shouldn't be a surpise. She had four in the last game.

****

7:54 left in first half: Illinois 45, Alcorn State 7

Hero: Sarah Hartwell.

The Illini point guard has been beating a path to the free throw line. Hartwell is shooting 10 of 12 there and has 12 points total.

Goat: Alcorn State ballhanders

The Braves have 13 turnovers, which explains the fact they have only put up 15 shots to this point.

What I'm thinking:

-- The Illini have gone on a feeding frenzy against the overmatched Braves. The Illini scored 16 in a row at one point, and extended that to 30-1.

-- The Illini band might want to give Alcorn State some slacking with their taunting chants.

-- Illini junior Taylor Tuck, whose offensive game is built on slashing to the basket, hit her first three-pointer of the season.

-- Not a bad crowd, considering the tornado watches and warnings prior to the game.

****

14:49 left in first half: Illinois 15, Alcorn State 6

Hero: Amber Moore

The Illini wing is off to a strong star, scoring eight poins and sinking a pair of three-pointers.

Goats: Shooters

For both teams. Alcorn State was the team that entered with a woeful shooting percentage but the Braves are outshooting the Illini to this point. Not that it's much to brag about. ASU is at 28.6 percent, Illinois at 23.1 percent.

What I'm thinking:

-- The tornado warning was set to expire a few minutes ago. Haven't heard anything here about bad news outside, so hope that is really the case.

-- If Alcorn State doesn't stop fouling, the 5 p.m. starting time for the UI men's game may need to be pushed back. The Braves already had put Illini in the bonus with 16:03 left.

-- The game today that had the attention of the Big Ten was Penn State vs. No. 1 Connecticut at State College, Pa. UConn won 71-52. Penn State senior Maggie Lucas became the sixth player in Lady Lions' history to pass the 1,900-point mark in a career while scoring a team-high 18 points.

****

A tornado warning has been issued locally, and there just was an announcement urging fans to stay within the arena and away from the concourse because of the windows in that part of State Farm Center. If things really get dangerous, I'm told fans will be asked to sit as near to the court as possible in the center of the arena bowl.

****

Welcome to our live report from State Farm Center on today's women's basketball game between the Illini and Alcorn State.

Illinois (2-1) will be looking to win its third straight while playing its second Southwestern Athletic Conference opponent in a row. On Thursday, Matt Bollant's team handily defeated Mississippi Valley State 93-70.

Good chance the Illini will roll again today against an opponent that finished 2-26 last season and is in rebuild mode this year with a starting lineup that's typically included three freshman starters.

Alcorn State (1-2) is heavily reliant on senior guard Tierro Frost, who is averaging 17.7 points but also is taking an average of 20 shots per game. No other player on the team is averaging more than 5.7 points, and only once this season has a player other than Frost scored in double figures in a game.

Scoring has been no problem so far for the Illini, however. Illinois is averaging 90.7 points and has reached the 90-point plateau in two games. The Illini are getting offensive contributions from a variety of players, with four averaging at least 14.3 points and three others between six and seven points.

Bollant has been less pleased with his team's defense, and that figures to be an emphasis with the Illini in this game. Mississippi Valley State, which entered with a modest scoring average, racked up 70 against Illinois. That doesn't bode well for when the Illini move into the tougher part of their nonconference schedule, which isn't far off.

Alcorn State was held to 33 points by Colorado on Friday. It's averarging 40.7 points and shooting 23.1 percent. If the Braves exceed their scoring average by double figures, as Mississippi Valley State did on its visit to State Farm Center, it will be even more reason for concern about the UI defense.

This is the third of four straight home games for the Illini, who have done of good job of defending their home court going back to the Big Ten race last season. Illinois has won eight of its last nine at State Farm Center.

We'll update this report periodically during the game, so be sure to check back in.

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