Illini Women Rally to Post WBIT Win Over Missouri State

(From Illinois Sports Information Office)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – [4] Illinois overcame a double-digit second-half deficit to take down Missouri State, 74-69, in the first round of the Women's Basketball Invitation Tournament at State Farm Center on Thursday night.

The Fighting Illini trailed by as many as 11 but fought back to secure their first postseason victory since March 28, 2013.

Adalia McKenzie recorded her third double-double of the season, totaling a season-high 21 points along with 11 rebounds. Shooting 50% from the field, McKenzie also totaled two assists and two steals while achieving the 1,000-point scoring milestone in her collegiate career.

Makira Cook tallied a season-best 27 points, which included a 9-for-11 performance from the free-throw line. Making both of her 3-point attempts, Cook also amassed three rebounds and two assists.

Genesis Bryant totaled 14 points, and she went 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. She also tacked on one rebound, one assist, and one steal.

Kendall Bostic poured in four points and grabbed 17 rebounds, which brought her above 1,000 career rebounds. Bostic also recorded a block.

The Fighting Illini 56.5% went from the field in the second half, while the hosts also shot 6-for-8 (75%) from 3-point range in the contest, which tied the single-game program record.

Trailing by as many as four points through the opening four minutes, the Illini used a 4-0 run to even the contest at 8-8 at the first-quarter media timeout. The Lady Bears briefly retook the lead before a Bryant 3-pointer and a Cook layup gave the Orange and Blue their first advantage of the contest. Cook accounted for Illinois' final six points of the frame, though Missouri State held a 19-17 edge through the opening 10 minutes of play.

The Lady Bears used a 9-0 run to extend their lead to double digits before Cook moved into double figures with two 3-pointers in less than one minute. A 7-2 Illini run, which featured points from four of Illinois' starters, cut into their deficit, but the home side went into the break facing a 37-32 deficit.

Cook totaled a team-high 15 points before the halftime intermission. The opening 20 minutes featured four lead changes, though the Illini held an advantage for less than three minutes across the opening two quarters.

Missouri State started the second half with five straight points, which put the visitors back in front by 10 within one minute of the frame. Illinois bounced back with an 8-0 run, as Cook accounted for six points during that two-minute stretch to move above 20 points on the night. The Lady Bears answered right away with a 6-2 scoring streak to take a 48-42 edge with four minutes left in the third quarter.

Illinois did not stay quiet for long. After Hobby cut the Illini deficit down to four points via two makes from the free-throw line, Bryant connected on her second trey of the day to move the Lady Bears' advantage down to one point.

Back-to-back buckets from McKenzie then put the Orange and Blue ahead for the first time since the opening period before Cook extended the lead from the stripe. The 11-0 Illini run gave the hosts a 53-48 edge with less than one minute remaining in the frame. McKenzie then tallied Illinois' final basket of the quarter, giving the Illini a 55-51 edge with 10 minutes to go.

McKenzie surpassed the 20-point mark within the first two minutes of the fourth quarter after she scored the Illini's first five points of the frame, a stretch that also featured just her third 3-pointer of the season. With the Illini's lead down to three points, the Orange and Blue used a 5-0 run over 41 seconds to extend their advantage up to eight points with six minutes remaining.

The Lady Bears ended their two-minute scoring drought with a layup before Bryant recorded her third 3-pointer to move the Illini's advantage up to 68-59 with four-and-a-half minutes to play. Missouri State then used a 6-0 run to move its deficit down to three points before Bostic got her first points of the second half to move Illinois' advantage back up to five, 70-65, with 2:21 to play.

Though the Lady Bears cut the Illini lead down to two points, the Orange and Blue made free throws down the stretch to clinch the victory.

[4] Illinois advances to the second round of the WBIT and will play host to Stony Brook on Sunday at State Farm Center.

POSTGAME NOTES

Player Notes:

  • Genesis Bryant scored 14 points and added a rebound and an assist.
    • Registered double-digit points for the 21st time this season.
    • Knocked down at least three 3-pointers for the 10th time this season by going 3-for-5 from beyond the arc.
  • Makira Cook scored a game-high 27 points to go along with three rebounds and two assists.
    • Scored in double figures for the 23rd time this season.
      • Has registered double-digit points in seven consecutive games and in 15 of her last 16 appearances.
      • Recorded her seventh 20-point performance of the season and 29th of her career.
    • Cook's 27 points moved her into fourth place all-time in postseason home games and tied for sixth place overall in postseason play.
    • Cook is now 22 points away from 1,000 points as an Illini.
  • Adalia McKenzie scored a season-high 21 points and secured 11 rebounds.
    • Reached the 1,000-point mark for her career in the third quarter with a steal and fast-break layup.
      • McKenzie is the 31st player in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark.
    • Reached double-digit points for the 17th game this season.
    • Recorded multiple steals in a game for the 10th time this season
    • Tallied her third 3-pointer of the season and the 12th of her career.
    • Recorded her third double-double of the season with her 10th rebound coming with 1:19 left in the fourth quarter.
    • McKenzie's 21 points saw her move into a tie for 10th place all-time in postseason home games.
  • Camille Hobby started her 18th game of the season and went on to score eight points and grab three rebounds.
    • Went 3-for-6 from the floor.
  • Kendall Bostic scored four points and secured 17 rebounds.
    • Secured double-digit rebounds for the seventh-straight game and the 17th time this season overall.
      • Sixth time this season with at least 15 boards and fourth with at least 17.
    • Bostic's 17 rebounds moved her into second place all-time among postseason home games and tied for third place overall in postseason play.
    • Bostic secured the 1,000th rebound of her career, which came on her 16th board of the game and with 19 seconds remaining in the contest.
    • Blocked one shot and is up to 92 blocks in her Illini career.

Team Notes:

  • Missouri State won the tip, and the Lady Bears opened the scoring.
  • The Illini secured their first postseason victory since March 28, 2013.
  • Illinois used an 11-0 run over a 2:57 span to take a 53-48 lead in the third quarter.
    • Held Missouri State for an overall scoreless stretch of 3:49, forcing the Lady Bears into going 0-for-8 from the floor.
    • Ended the final 4:23 of the period on a 13-3 run, taking a 55-51 lead into the fourth.
  • The Illini had three scorers in double figures (Bryant, Cook, McKenzie).
  • The Illini shot 75% (6-for-8) from deep, tying the program record for 3-point percentage in a game (min. six attempts).
  • Illinois out-rebounded Missouri State, 39-32.
    • The Illini grabbed six offensive boards, converting those into 11 second-chance points.
  • The Illini held Missouri State to 30.8% (12-for-39) shooting in the second half, including a 3-for-13 (23.1%) clip from beyond the arc.
  • Tonight marks the first time that Illinois women's and men's basketball won a postseason game in the same season since 2013.

Misc. Notes:

  • Starters: Makira CookGenesis BryantAdalia McKenzieKendall BosticCamille Hobby
    • This lineup is now 10-8 on the season.
  • Shauna Green is now:
    • 37-25 at Illinois
    • 1-1 in postseason play at Illinois
    • 164-75 as a Division-I coach
    • 193-100 overall
  • Illinois vs. Missouri State: 3-1 (fourth meeting)
    • Shauna Green coaching record vs. Missouri State: 1-0
    • Illinois vs. Missouri State in the postseason: 2-0
  • The Illini moved to 51-59 in postseason play in program history.
    • Illinois is now 17-5 in postseason home games.
    • The Illini are now 19-9 in its opening game of postseason tournaments.
    • Illinois is now 1-0 in the Women's Basketball Invitation Tournament.
  • Illinois has now won seven consecutive postseason home games.
  • The Illini have held opponents at/below 15 points in 53 of 120 regulation periods.
  • Illinois is now 10-5 when wearing white uniforms this season.
  • UI is now 11-5 in State Farm Center this season.
  • The Illini are now 8-4 in games starting after 5 p.m. CT this season.
  • The Illini are now 2-1 in March.

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