No inside presence poses problems for Illini women

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Illinois coach Theresa Grentz might be inclined to burn the game film from Thursday's ugly 63-48 loss at Indiana, but the rest of the Big Ten's women's basketball coaches might want to get their hands on it.

Indiana's zone defense collapsed on the Illini frontline, and when the Illinois guards failed to locate their shooting touch, the result was a disastrous first half and a lopsided loss.

UI women's basketball box score

Hoosiers 63, Illini 48

Simpson taking medical redshirt due to surgery

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Freshman forward Lacey Simpson is ready to compete. Her body has other ideas.

Simpson, out since early December after internal surgery, will seek a medical redshirt this season. She has returned to practice on a limited basis, but the conditioning she lost – as well as losing valuable experience – will prevent her from returning this season.

Gratton displays separate, unique personalities on, off court

CHAMPAIGN – Fans who only see Illinois freshman Danielle Gratton on the basketball floor might be shocked to discover she has a nutty side.

Disregard the stern, never-crack-a-smile visage Gratton sports on the court. Off it, she might one day challenge Audrey Tabon and Janelle Hughes for the title of funniest person on the team, albeit with a sense of humor some folks might not understand.

Rossow: Strategic plan perfect idea for basketball

CHAMPAIGN – Excuse us if we missed something, but the strategic plan the University of Illinois unveiled this week is about basketball, isn't it?

How to make Bruce Weber's program even better? How to keep fans dressed in orange, players in line and coaches from jumping to Kansas?

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Freshman's practice pays off

CHAMPAIGN – Jamar Smith might be a freshman who still is learning the ropes as a college basketball player, but he's wise enough to realize when things aren't going well.

Coming into Wednesday night's game against Minnesota at the Assembly Hall, the freshman from Peoria had made one three-pointer in his last two games. His shot was off, and Smith wasn't happy.

Tate: Randle gets in on the act

CHAMPAIGN – Sometimes Brian Randle hurts himself.

He has fouled out in three Big Ten games. So when he gathered two fouls in the first two minutes Wednesday night, Bruce Weber sat him down for the next 18.

Brown enjoys the company

CHAMPAIGN – You can't pick up a newspaper this week, or turn on the TV or surf the Internet, without catching a Kobe Bryant buzz.

Even Dee Brown is talking about it – and speaking from experience.

Recruit gets in on action

On her visit to the Illinois campus last fall, Johannah Bangert saw an Illini volleyball team that barely hit a positive percentage while being swept by Wisconsin.

Not exactly the impression UI coach Don Hardin had hoped to leave with the talented recruit as she returned to her Washington, Mo., home the next day.