State historic sites schedule holiday events

Two nearby state historic sites are holding special holiday events for families.

Bryant Cottage State Historic Site in Bement is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a holiday open house on Dec. 10. The free event will include period holiday decorations, music and candlelight tours from 5 to 7 p.m. The first 50 families to visit will each get a handmade Christmas ornament.

It's your business: eBay sales firm to open Sidney store

The Prairie Wind Merchants, a business that handles eBay sales of antiques and other merchandise, will open a new store by the same name at 220 S. David St., Sidney.

Set to open Dec. 1, the store will sell antiques, folk art, candles, crafts, gift items and colonial home decor, according to owners Kendra and Scott Adams.

McCulley can't save Illinois in finale

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Earlier this season, coach Don Hardin's Illinois volleyball team defeated then-No. 16 Ohio State in three games.

On Saturday, Hardin's injury-riddled lineup was no match for the 19th-ranked Buckeyes, losing 30-26, 30-18, 30-21.

Tate: These Illini have bigger fish to fry

HOFFMAN ESTATES – The basketball gods had a plot picked out for Illinois among the growing list of midmajor victims Saturday.

Bradley's fired-up Braves held the state university squarely in their cross-hairs, confusing the proud UI defense with perimeter screens and forging ahead 21-14, 26-16 and 34-23.

Short on guards, Illini go big

CHAMPAIGN – Illinois' guard situation is getting so bad it might even grab Bruce Weber's attention.

The UI women will be without backup guard Danielle Gratton for about six weeks after she was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her left foot. Gratton missed the final nine games last season with a stress fracture in the other foot.

Smith's return energizes teammates

HOFFMAN ESTATES – Sitting still never has been one of Jamar Smith's strong suits.

He prefers to race around at hyper speeds, shoot jump shots until his arms go numb. The Illinois sophomore guard is competitive enough that he's been known to race teammates in shoe-tying contests.

Busy Bjork pointing Illini in right direction

CHAMPAIGN – With backup point guard Rebecca Harris away from the team because of a death in the family, Illinois' Lori Bjork surveyed the scene at practice this week and knew what was in store for Saturday's women's basketball game against St. Joseph's.

Bjork expected to be busy, and there wouldn't be any relief. Bjork was headed toward the full 40 minutes.

Players being recruited younger each year, just ask Illini

HOFFMAN ESTATES – While Eddie Fogler was the head coach at South Carolina, he got a phone call with information on a possible recruit.

"I was sitting in my office and the state championship games were going on in our arena," Fogler said. "My assistant coach calls and says, 'Eddie, you have to come see this kid.' "

UI men's basketball game preview

A look at today's UI men's game:

Illini no match for Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Stephanie Obermeier had 20 assists and 10 digs, but No. 5 Penn State rolled to a 30-22, 30-23, 30-13 win against Illinois on Friday.