Kinslow enjoying time with Illini women's basketball team

Kinslow enjoying time with Illini women's basketball team

CHAMPAIGN — Cydnee Kinslow has played a combined 37 minutes in eight games this season for Nancy Fahey's Illinois women's basketball team. You won't hear a word of complaint.

"Everybody has a role on our team and some are bigger than others. Every role matters," the 6-foor-2 forward said ahead of today's 1 p.m. game between Illinois (9-15, 0-10 Big Ten) and Purdue (15-8, 6-3) at State Farm Center. "We bust our butts every day in practice. I know that. Just making sure we're all pushing each other to get better. We've all learned that every little part that we do is so important."

The Californian came to Illinois in 2016 after starting her career at Pepperdine.

"I looked for a lot of things," Kinslow said. "I wanted a bigger school. It was actually all about my academics."

"That's what drew me here," said Kinslow, who is studying business. "It totally separated itself from other people."

The Pepperdine campus in Malibu is considered one of the most scenic in the country. Was it tough to leave that behind?

"It's actually fine," Kinslow said. "We keep so busy here. We're in here (Ubben) all day. By the time we're out, we're home, getting ready for bed, doing homework and all that kind of stuff. I don't really realize the difference in scenery. We were the same way at Pepperdine. We were never truly outside. Every school has their attributes. I'm very happy to be here."

Kinslow's goal is to get on the court more. She works hard in practice with that in mind.

She had a long recovery from a hip injured suffered early in her Illinois career.

Kinslow is also adjusting to Fahey after working last season with Matt Bollant.

"It was a very nice fit for everybody," Kinslow said. "We meshed well together. I've never really cared for a coaching staff the way that I have with this coaching staff.

"They care about us in how we are off the court and in our academics and what interests us as people, not just in the confined walls of what we do every day. They teach us life skills every day."

Kinslow misses being home in Southern California. Her parents Rob and Rose make it easier.

"They are absolutely phenomenal," Kinslow said. "The most supportive people I have ever met."

Rob and Rose try to visit C-U once a month, catching a couple home games each time.

"I've got a great support system," Kinslow said. "They want me to experience everything I possibly can. Living here and not living in the fast-paced rush life of California, I've learned to appreciate so much more when I'm here."

Fahey appreciates Kinslow's contributions.

"She's a special kid," Fahey said. "Great attitude, not just good. Supports her teammates and works hard. Kids in those situations, coaches are rooting for too. I feel really fortunate she's with our team."

Early in her Wisconsin playing days, Fahey was near the end of the bench. She later worked her way into the rotation.

"I've been there myself," Fahey said. "It's made me a better coach. I understand how that can feel sometimes."

"We're all treated equally and we all care about each other equally."