LINCOLN, Neb. — The Illinois women’s basketball team played perhaps one of its best games in more than a month Thursday night.
Still didn’t end the lengthy losing streak the Illini are on, though. Nebraska held off Illinois 72-65 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, extending the Illini’s skid to nine games.
Illinois trailed 65-63 after a three-pointer by Amber Moore with 3 minutes, 3 seconds left, and it had the chance to tie the game 42 seconds later. But Sarah Livingston missed both free throw attempts with 2:21 remaining, and Nebraska closed the game on a 7-2 run to deny Illinois its first win against a ranked foe this season.
“I thought the difference in the game was at the free throw line,” Illinois coach Matt Bollant said. “Our inability to make free throws the last two minutes really hurt (our ability) to really put a ton of pressure on them down the stretch.”
Illinois opened the second half on a 9-2 run and tied the game at 40 with 16:20 left after a jumper by Moore.
Nebraska, however, countered with a 10-0 run during the next three minutes to go ahead 50-40, forcing the Illini to rally. Which they did, but not well enough to come home with a long-awaited win.
Moore paced the Illini with 19 points and six rebounds, while Ivory Crawford supplied a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), and Taylor Gleason contributed a career-high 13 points to go along with a career-high six assists.
“For a young team, I thought we were pretty impressive playing on the road in a really tough environment,” Bollant said. “I’m proud of our team. We asked them before the game to play with heart, play with joy, play with enthusiasm, and we did that.”