November 22, 2006

Illinois Stifles Bears Offense

Nov. 22, 2006

Box Score

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Northern Colorado women's basketball wasn't able to find an answer for hot shooting by Illinois, as the Bears fell 76-39 to the Illini on Wednesday at Assembly Hall.

Senior forward Heather Barbour produced 10 points and five rebounds. It was the fifth straight game she scored in double-figures. Freshman forward Tina Fox also had 10 points.

Coming into the game, Northern Colorado (1-4) planned on emphasizing the perimeter shot and shutting down the inside play of the Illini. But an Illinois team that is the third-tallest in the nation was able to neutralize the Bears from beyond the arc, holding Northern Colorado to 8-of-29 on 3-pointers and 29.8 percent from the floor. The Illini also had their way down low, scoring 34 points in the paint and finishing 50.9 percent from the floor.

Illinois (4-1) got off on the right foot early, jumping out to a 17-3 lead just over five minutes into the game. The Illini went up by as many as 16, but the Bears clawed back. Northern Colorado ended up going on a 10-4 run sparked by 3-pointers from Melanie Drangmeister and Tina Fox to cut the Illinois lead to 25-18 with 8:10 left in the half.

But the Illini once again took control of the flow to go into halftime with a 40-23 lead. The Bears had trouble finding the bottom of the hoop in the last eight minutes of the half, only putting up five points.

The Bears had trouble getting anything going at the start of the second half, turning the ball over in their first three possessions. Nicole Ford's jumper with 10 minutes remaining in the game was the last time the Bears scored until the 4:29 mark when Barbour drained a trey. Illinois then closed the game out with a 7-2 run.

The stout defense of the Illini made it tough for the Bears to take care of the ball, as Northern Colorado commmitted a season-high 28 turnovers, leading to 37 Illini points.

Northern Colorado will return to action on Sunday at 2 p.m. against the Big East's Louisville Cardinals at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.