LIVE! Iowa at State Farm Center
Final: Iowa 81, Illinois 56
The Illini women's basketball team lost its 10th game in a row, 81-56, against Iowa on Sunday at State Farm Center.
Illinois (9-20) finished the regular season last in the Big Ten with a 2-14 record and went winless in home conference games (0-8) for the first time in program history.
The Illini will have four days to prepare for Iowa again. The teams are matched in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. Iowa (23-7, 11-5 Big Ten) won for the ninth time in its last 11 games.
Amber Moore, who was honored after the game on Senior Day, led the Illini with 14 points. Junior Ivory Crawford passed 1,000 points in her Illini career after scoring 10 against the Hawkeyes. Crawford also had a game-high 10 rebounds.
Theairra Taylor led Iowa with 17 points.
Check back later for a full game story.
6:13 left in second half: Iowa 69, Illinois 43
After falling behind by as many as 35 points, Illini finally showing some life. Outscored Iowa 13-4 to draw within 26.
Amber Moore had five of those 13 points, including her second three-pointer of the game.
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder quickly put her several of her starters back in the game after that UI scoring run.
10:50 left in second half: Iowa 61, Illinois 30
Hero: Ally Disterhoft
The Iowa freshman reserve guard is leaving her imprint on this game, scoring 14 points and grabbing five rebounds. Getting to the foul line with frequency, too, going 5 of 7 there.
This one has been bad across the board. Everyone shares in the blame. Not a good sign with the Big Ten tournament four days away and this same Iowa team the first-round opponent.
What I'm thinking:
-- It's a shame Illini senior Amber Moore has run into four trouble and had to go to the bench with four fouls at 13:30 left in the half. Given that this is Senior Day, Moore surely wants to be on the floor as much as possible.
-- Illini more than holding their own on rebounding, but it hasn't mattered because they can't stop Iowa from scoring and they are struggling to score themselves.
-- Haven't seen many fans heading out early. Perhaps they should be our heroes pick.
Halftime: Iowa 40, Illinois 22
Hero: Theairra Taylor
The Iowa senior guard, who entered with an 11.9 scoring average, already has 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including three three-pointers. She also has filled up her stat line with four blocks, three assists and three steals.
Goat: Illini ball handlers.
What's happened to the Illinois team that regularly ruled the turnover battle and caused opposing ball handlers to sweat? The Illini have 12 turnovers to Iowa's eight. The Hawkeyes have scored 13 points off UI turnovers.
What I'm thinking:
-- Matt Bollant can't be happy. His Illini are getting it handed to them. Not much fight and they looked defeated for much of the first half. This team is so up and down. Coming off a strong performance at No 16 Nebraska on Thursday, this shouldn't be happening.
-- It has to be disappointing for senior Amber Moore to be wrapping up her Illini career with the team struggling so mightily. You wondered going into today if her teammates would rise to the occassion on Senior Day. Not so far.
-- The Illini have been a poor shooting team virtually the entire season, and today is no exception. Big Ten opponents typically are too skilled to get away with crooked shooting. Iowa is at 56 percent (14 of 25). Illini is chugging along at 34.8 percent (8 of 23).
-- This might be the stat of the half: Fast break points: Iowa 10, Illinois 0.
6:59 left in first half: Iowa 22, Illinois 13
The Illini fell behind by as many as 13 points with about 9 minutes left. Theairra Taylor capped a 7-0 Iowa run with her second three-pointer of the game to put the Hawkeyes ahead 22-9.
Consecutive baskets by Taylor Gleason and Ivory Crawford have pulled Illinois back within nine.
Illinois' shooting percentage is down to 29.4 percent (5 of 17).
11:47 left in first half: Iowa 15, Illinois 8
Hero: Iowa's offensive balance.
All five Hawkeyes starters have contributed to the team's scoring.
Goat: Illini shooters
Illinois off to a rough start, going 3 of 10 from the field, 0 for 3 on three-pointers, and 2 for 4 at the foul line.
What I'm thinking:
-- After Illini coach Matt Bollant strongly indicated Saturday that Jacqui Grant (mononucleosis) was ready to return to action today, the freshman center was indeed in the starting line.She took a quick rest at 15:15 but was back on the court at 12:36. Grant has 3 points and 1 rebound.
-- The crowd really responded to senior Amber Moore in the starting lineup introductions. It's Senior Day today, and the guard-forward is playing her final home game.
-- Not necessarily surprised that Purdue defeated Nebraska today, denying the Cornhuskers a share of the Big Ten title, but I am surprised by the margin. Even with Purdue on is home floor, Nebraska's 82-66 loss makes you wonder about the Cornhuskers' readiness and surely is disappointing to the team and its fans.
Wisconsin just lost 77-73 in overtime to Northwestern, so the Illini could tie the Badgers for 11th place in the Big Ten by beating Iowa.
Wisconsin finishes with a 3-13 league record. Illinois is 2-13. As we reported earlier, however, the Badgers win the tiebreaker (head to head) for a higher seed in the Big Ten tournament. The Illini are the 12th seed, win or lose today.
The Illini and Iowa have yet to tip off, but each already knows its opponent for the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
It's each other. Illinois and the Hawkeyes will meet at approximately 1:30 Thursday at Indianapolis.
With Purdue just having defeated Nebraska 82-66, the Boilermakers clinched the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye.
Iowa, which entered the day tied for fourth place with Purdue, fell to a No. 5 seed with that result and will draw the No. 12 seed.
Win or lose, the 12th seed is Illinois. If the Illini win and Wisconsin loses to Northwestern, each would tie for 11th place, However, because Wisconsin defeated Illinois in their lone meeting this season, the Badgers win the tiebreaker and are the No. 11 seed.
Welcome to our live report from State Farm Center for today’s Big Ten women’s basketball game between the Illini and No. 25 Iowa.
Illinois (9-19, 2-13 Big Ten) enters on a nine-game losing streak and has yet to win a conference home game this season in seven tries. This regular-season finale is their last chance to avoid becoming the first team in program history to go winless at home during a Big Ten race. The 2010-11 Illini barely avoided that dubious distinction, going 1-7.
Meanwhile, Iowa (22-7, 10-5 Big Ten) is hoping to land one of the top four seeds for next week’s Big Ten tournament and the coveted first-round bye that comes with it. The Hawkeyes are tied for fourth place with No. 19 Purdue, which is playing host today to No. 16 Nebraska.
Today is Senior Day, with the UI honoring the team’s lone senior, Amber Moore, following the game. The fifth-year senior is the program’s all-time leader in three-point field goals and three-point attempts, both for a career and a single season. Moore has scored 19 points in two of the her three games and leads Illinois in scoring at 14.9 points per game.
Speaking of three-pointers, the Illini broke the program record for made treys for the second season in a row on Thursday. Illinois enters with 187 three-pointers, surpassing last season’s mark of 184. The latter number was accomplished in 33 games. Today is the Illini’s 29th contest of the season.
Illinois will try to slow a streaking Iowa team. The Hawkeyes have won eight of their last 10 games — and 10 of 13 since starting the conference race 0-2.
Iowa is led by junior guard Samantha Logic, According to Iowa’s sports information office, Logic is the only player in the nation to average 13-plus points (14.1), 6-plus rebounds (6.6), and 7-plus assists (7.6).
With 572 career assists, she needs five to surpass Cara Consuegra (1997-2001) as Iowa’s all-time assists leader, and seven to overtake Stephanie White (Purdue) and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota) for ninth place in league history (578). White will be on hand today at SFC as an analyst for the BTN telecast of the game.
Logic, the Big Ten leader in assists, has notched three triple-doubles this season. She’s the first Big Ten player to do so in a single season.
Speaking of milestones, Illini junior guard Ivory Crawford needs only six points to become the 27th player in program history to score 1,000 for her career. Notably, she would become the 15th to do it in three seasons.
We’ll update this report periodically during the game so be sure to check back.