Half and half:Illini creamed

IOWA CITY, Iowa – After squandering a 17-2 lead Sunday against Iowa, the Illinois women's basketball team figured to learn something about itself.

The early returns were positive. Illinois rebounded, took a five-point lead into the second half and seemed to have regained its ways.

UI women's basketball box score

Iowa 84, Illinois 65

Letter rip

This week's letters from readers:

Who's that Illini?

An Olympic silver medalist, I am linked in Games history to Great Britain's Eric Liddell, one of the primary subjects of the Oscar-winning film "Chariots of Fire." The movie focused on Liddell's religion-based decision not to enter the 100 meters at the 1924 Olympics because race heats were scheduled on the Sabbath. That choice prevented a much-anticipated duel with fellow countryman Harold Abrahams from taking place. Instead, Liddell entered the 200 and 400, beating me in the latter in 47.6 seconds. I was second in 48.4.

One shining 2005

A look back at the best year in Illini basketball history:

Tate: Big Ten's back on upswing

After coming dangerously close to grounding itself, the arrow is pointing up again in Big Ten basketball.

Yes, the conference fell short again in late November's Big Ten/ACC Challenge (6 to 5), but with the exception of Purdue, the general health and vitality is on the rise.

Tisdale set to pick Illini

CHAMPAIGN – Riverton center Mike Tisdale has received a scholarship offer from Illinois and is expected to commit to Bruce Weber's Illini within the week.

Tisdale, a 7-foot junior, would become Illinois' third oral commitment in the high school Class of 2007, joining Indianapolis guard Eric Gordon and Peoria Richwoods forward Bill Cole.

Dietz: Hopkins' time in Tennessee, league could be limited

NASHVILLE – How long has Brad Hopkins been in the National Football League? Long enough to confuse some of his young Tennessee Titans teammates.

"Some of them don't know we were ever in Houston," Hopkins said. "I tell them I've been on the team for 13 years, and they see that we've only been in Nashville for nine years. It's funny."

Corn-fueled stoves causing a real heat wave

Corn is the new king when it comes to heating stoves.

It appears that every manufacturer of corn-fueled stoves in the United States and Canada is facing a backlog of orders because of the huge demand. Both manufacturers and dealers seem to have been caught by surprise by the wave of consumer interest.

Illini ready to ring in Big Ten

CHAMPAIGN – Tonight the ball drops and Dick Clark (sort of) rocks and folks coast to coast butcher "Auld Lang Syne."

But the Illinois basketball team is ringing in a different kind of new year.