Illini Run Past Lions for 1st 20-Win Season Since 2008

By IlliniGuys Staff

February 19, 2023

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- On a day when all-time coaching wins leader Theresa Grentz was in attendance, this edition of the Illini put on a performance she could be proud of.

Kendall Bostic scored 22 points and pulled down a season-high 18 rebounds and Genesis Bryant returned from injury to add 21 points as Illinois cruised to an 85-62 win over Penn State Sunday afternoon at State Farm Center.

The victory gives Illinois (20-7, 10-6 Big Ten) its first 20-win season since the 2007-08 campaign as it takes another step toward a potential NCAA tournament berth.  The Illini women haven't played in the top postseason tournament since 2003.

Grentz was the program's coach back then and she had to be pleased with the Illini's effort.  Grentz is the all-time winningest coach in Illini women's basketball history with 210 victories, including a program-record 24 in 1996-97.   She was honored in a pre-game ceremony with her banner being raised to the State Farm Center rafters as the first woman from the Illini program to enter the Basketball Hall of Fame, which Grentz did last fall.

All-time Illini women's basketball wins leader and new Basketball Hall of Famer Theresa Grentz visits with well-wishers prior to today's game. (Photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)

That single-season mark, however, may not be hers for long.  In Shauna Green's first year as Illinois' head coach, the team has almost tripled last season's win total (7) and its 10 Big Ten wins this season equals the Illini's number of conference wins over the last six years combined.  All which has put Green on several national coach of the year lists.

Today, Illinois jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on back-to-back buckets by Jayla Oden and a pair of free throws by Makira Cook and never looked back.  Bostic rebounded from a 1-for-5 shooting effort in Thursday night's loss at Maryland to go 11-of-18 from the field to get her first 20-point game since early January and post her second highest rebounding total of her career.  Only the 23 boards against Eastern Kentucky last season was higher.

Cook finished with 18 points, her 25th double-double scoring effort in 27 games this season.

Penn State (13-14, 4-12) was led by Leilan Kapinus with 19 points.

Illinois closes out the regular season with a home game against Nebraska on Senior Night this Wednesday before traveling to Rutgers on Sunday.  They will then open Big Ten tournament play in Minneapolis on Thursday, March 2nd.

Stay with IlliniGuys.com for complete coverage of today's win.

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