Four of Illini Six Senior Players Honored Today Can Return For 2024-25 Season

Three Illinois starters who will be honored after this Senior Day game against Nebraska have the option of using a COVID-19 waiver to return to Champaign for the 2024-25 season.

Matt Stevens, IlliniGuys Staff Writer

March 3, 2024

CHAMPAIGN — The COVID-19 era of collegiate sports leaves fans wondering if today will be the final home game for at least four Illinois women’s basketball players.

Following today’s 3 p.m. game against Nebraska at State Farm Center, four of the six players Illinois will be honoring with their families are recognized as seniors but similarly to former Illini football player Alex Palczewski (who went through three Senior Day celebrations in Champaign during his collegiate career) but have an option for returning to the program for the 2024-25 season. Makira Cook, Genesis Bryant, Kendall Bostic and Aicha Ndour have a COVID-19 season (granted by the NCAA to all athletes following the 2020-21 calendar year that saw players either play in front of limited or no crowds or had their entire seasons canceled due to the health concerns over the worldwide pandemic.

The end of this regular season and at least one more Big Ten Tournament game could mark milestones for some of these veteran Illini players. Cook enters Sunday's game just 14 points away from 1,500 across her Dayton and Illinois career. Cook is also 86 points shy of 1,000 as an Illini player. Bryant has scored 927 points across her career, sitting just 73 away from 1,000. Senior Kendall Bostic has tallied 933 career points and 963 career rebounds, bringing her within 100 of both milestones. Bostic owns 840 points and 899 rebounds during her time at Illinois.

To date, 30 Fighting Illini players have scored 1,000 points during their career at Illinois. Only three players have scored 1,000 points and grabbed 1,000 rebounds at Illinois, and they are the only players to record 1,000 boards as an Illini.

Hobby recorded the first double-double of her collegiate for the Fighting Illini on Feb. 11, 2024, against Maryland. The center grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds while scoring 16 points. She matched her career-high with 35 minutes played after starting the contest. Hobby has started the last 14 games for Illinois and has 15 starts this season since coming over from North Carolina State.

Jada Peebles is the longest-tenured Illini on the squad, playing all five of her collegiate seasons at Illinois.

Peebles has appeared in 124 games, owning sole pos- session of sixth on the all-time list. The fifth-year player announced a season-ending torn Achilles injury on her social media accounts on Tuesday, Jan. 16 just two days after the Illinois blowout win at Northwestern.

Nebraska (19-9, 11-6 in Big Ten play) is looking to spoil the celebration of these seniors, which will take place after the conclusion of the contest. The Cornhuskers, which are 5-5 in true road games this year, would lock up the No. 4 seed and the final double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament with a win in Champaign.

Illinois (14-15, 7-10 in Big Ten) is looking for its first win over Nebraska in State Farm Center since 2017 and just third ever in program history as the two teams battled to a 56-48 decision in Lincoln on Jan. 11.

In order to guarantee at least a 15-15 overall record before postseason selections are made, Illinois must defeat the Cornhuskers in Champaign and win its first game of the 2024 Big Ten Tournament at the Target Center in Minneapolis, which is currently projected to be 8-9 seed matchup against either Maryland, Michigan or Penn State. Illinois may not need a .500 record to qualify for the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) as there is no winning percentage requirement to compete in that tournament but the last power conference program to participate in that postseason tournament was Minnesota in 2012.

Podcasts

Tyler Underwood 1-on-1 #362

Listen

May 17 Weekend (S3,Ep40)

Listen

Illini Legend David Williams & His Charity Golf Outing on June 8 #361

Listen

Huge Portal Kombat Win for Bret Bielema #360

Listen

May 10 Weekend (S3,Ep39)

Listen

Illini Baseball is Heating Up #359

Listen

Illini Add Euro Big #358

Listen

Ked's Recruiting Roundup - Interview with Ben Humrichous

Listen

May 3 Weekend (S3,Ep38)

Listen

Portal Kombat - Big Ben Commits & Portals Are Wild #357

Listen

NFL Draft Recap & Portal Kombat (Men & Women) #356

Listen

April 26 Weekend (S3,37)

Listen

Orlando is Back! #355

Listen

Illini Football Spring Game #354

Listen

April 19 Weekend (S3,36)

Listen