UI women 78, SIU 43: 'We're growing'

UI women 78, SIU 43: 'We're growing'

CHAMPAIGN — Sarah Hartwell did a little bit of everything Thursday night.

The Georgia Tech transfer had nine points, nine rebounds and seven assists, leading the Illini to an easy 78-43 victory against Southern Illinois at State Farm Center.

Four Illinois players scored in double figures, led by 15 points from Jacqui Grant. Amber Moore (four three-pointers) and Ivory Crawford scored 14 apiece, and Sarah Livingston added 10 points off the bench.

“On a night we didn’t shoot well — we made 10 threes average in the first four games and tonight only made four — and to still win by 35 says something about the growth of our team, that we’re growing, getting better defensively, and we’re doing the right things as a team,” Illini coach Matt Bollant said.

Coming off an 84-point victory Sunday against Alcorn State, the Illini (4-1) bolted to a 20-point cushion at halftime Thursday and never looked back.

Seven of the 10 players who saw action Thursday scored at least six points — and five of them had at least two assists.

Illinois forced 21 turnovers in the win.

“In the second half they made a little run. I think they cut it to 18 or 16, and we call timeout and challenge them,” Bollant said. “Let’s step up and let’s have some good possessions defensively, both in man and buzz, and see if we can take some things away and see if we can dictate. And that’s exactly what we did.”