Illini women get Purdue in Big Ten opener
The Big Ten released its women's basketball conference schedule Thursday, and Illinois will open its league slate Dec. 28 at home against Purdue. The Boilermakers are one of five teams Illinois will play at home and on the road, and the Illini have four home-only and four road-only opponents.
Here's how it breaks down:
Dec. 28 — vs. Purdue
Illinois has lost its last two Big Ten openers at home in overtime, including by one point to Purdue two years ago.
Jan. 4 — at Penn State
A late 15-1 run and 25 points from Ivory Crawford wasn’t enough to knock off the No. 14 Nittany Lions last year.
Jan. 8 — vs. Iowa
The Illini lost three times to the Hawkeyes in a month, including twice in five days to end the 2013-14 season.
Jan. 11 — vs. Nebraska
The last time Illinois beat the Huskers in Champaign was 1985 in a 36-point thrashing.
Jan. 15 — at Michigan State
Illinois is 0-2 against the Spartans at home under Matt Bollant but won in East Lansing last season.
Jan. 18 — at Maryland
Illinois is 0-3 in its short history with the Terps, with a 79-52 loss in 2008 the last meeting.
Jan. 22 — vs. Northwestern
Bollant’s success against the Wildcats (two wins, one loss) isn’t new. Illinois has won 24 of its last 28 against its state rival.
Jan. 26 — at Michigan
The Illini haven’t won in Ann Arbor since 2008, the end of a six-game road win streak against the Wolverines.
Jan. 29 — at Nebraska
The Illini dropped both its games to Rachel Theriot and the Huskers last season, but did beat Nebraska in Lincoln two years ago.
Feb. 1 — vs. Wisconsin
The Big Ten opener last season was dramatic, but for the wrong reasons. A late stumble cost the Illini, and the Badgers won in OT.
Feb. 5 — vs. Minnesota
The Illini have to be happy to play the Gophers at home. They’re 9-4 in Champaign and 4-8 in Minneapolis since 2000.
Feb. 8 — at Northwestern
Bollant stayed perfect on trips to Evanston with last year’s two-point win.
Feb. 11 — at Indiana
The last time Illinois lost two in a row to the Hoosiers (like last year) they bounced back to win four of five.
Feb. 14 — vs. Ohio State
Last year’s 26-point defeat in Columbus, Ohio, was the worst conference loss for Illinois.
Feb. 17 — at Rutgers
This will be the first ever game for Illinois against former Illini head coach Jolette Law’s old team.
Feb. 21 — at Purdue
The Illini have only beaten Purdue six times since 1987 and five of those wins were in Champaign.
Feb. 25 — vs. Michigan State
The Illini’s win against the Spartans last year was one of just two in league play.
Feb. 28 — vs. Michigan
Cyesha Goree had 30 points and 19 rebounds in a Michigan win last year in Champaign. She’s back.