Early deficit too much for Illini

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Playing without injured leading scorer Ella Masar finally caught up to the Illini on Friday night in a 3-0 loss to Purdue in the semifinal round of the Big Ten tournament.

Illinois managed four shots on goal and couldn't overcome an early barrage that saw the Boilermakers tally two scores within the first 15 minutes.

Westville earns shot at redemption

WESTVILLE – When the football team steps on the field tonight, the Westville Tigers will be in familiar territory. They will play undefeated Maroa-Forsyth.

The game is a rematch of last season's Class 2A state championship game. Westville's 2006 season ended when it ran into the Trojans, but the Tigers get a shot at redemption at 7 p.m. on Maroa-Forsyth's field.

Arcola coach enjoys fun, games

ARCOLA – For so long, Arcola's football program was one of the area's best. The Purple Riders won state titles in 1978, 1985 and 1988 under legendary coach Steve Thomas. Everywhere you turn on the Douglas County campus, you're reminded of past gridiron success.

There's the mural in the school's gymnasium commemorating the state champions. On the press box at the football field, signs are posted honoring the state champs. There are even more signs lining the fence inside the football field with the same message. To say the sport matters in the community would be like saying Michael Jordan was a decent basketball player.

Five keys to beating Ohio State

We called in an expert, ESPN analyst and former Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman, to help us figure out what Illinois needs to do to beat the Buckeyes:

Crystal ball

News-Gazette women's basketball writer Tony Bleill breaks down the Illinois season:

UI women's game preview

A look at tonight's 7 p.m. game at Eastern Illinois:

Big Ten football

Want to know which of Saturday's games are worth your time? Here's the scoop from sports editor Jim Rossow, who at 49-27 after a 4-2 week is bowl eligible:

Law prepared to take Illinois to another level

CHAMPAIGN – Old habits can be hard to break, and Jolette Law on Sunday assumed the assistant coach's pose during the Illinois women's basketball exhibition game.

That is to say, Law sat. Rising on occasion to offer instructions, she quickly sat back down and watched.

Ten questions for Abe Woodson

The electric halfback (40) did a bit of everything in 1956, leading the Illini in rushing, receiving, scoring and even punting en route to All-Big Ten honors. One of his best days came in a win against No. 1 Michigan State at Memorial Stadium, the Illini's last victory against a top-ranked opponent. Sports editor JIM ROSSOW caught up with the 73-year-old volunteer chaplain for the Nevada prison system – he's lived in Las Vegas since 1994 – to discuss upsets of No. 1, postgame celebrations and his golf game:

JR: You realize your 1956 bunch was the last Illinois team to beat a No. 1 team?

Lindsey up to speed

ST. JOSEPH – If coach Dick Duval asked, Will Lindsey would carry the ball 30, maybe even 40 times a game.

But with the success St. Joseph-Ogden has had in the passing game this season, the senior tailback doesn't have to worry about having his number called so often.