Illini Women Roll Into WBIT Semifinals with 69-61 Win at Tulsa

(From Illinois Sports Information Office)

March 28, 2024

TULSA, Okla. – [4] Illinois booked its ticket to Indianapolis with a 69-61 road win over [3] Tulsa in the WBIT quarterfinals, securing its spot as one of the final four teams remaining in the competition.

Trailing for less than 90 seconds, all of which came in the first three minutes of play, the Fighting Illini had four scorers finish in double figures en route to the eight-point away victory.

Genesis Bryant led the way with a team-high 19 points, including 12 points in the first half. Shooting 5-for-7 from the field through the opening two quarters, Bryant finished with four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Kendall Bostic recorded her second consecutive double-double, tallying 10 points and a team-best 16 rebounds. Bostic also dished out a team-high four assists.

Makira Cook amassed 13 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter, as she accounted for the Illini's final 13 points of the night. She went 7-for-11 from the field, and she added three rebounds and one assist.

Camille Hobby notched eight points and eight rebounds, while she went a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

Scoring in double figures in each of the Illini's three WBIT games thus far, Adalia McKenzie totaled 10 points, three rebounds, and two steals.

The Golden Hurricane opened the scoring and took an early 2-0 lead, but the Illini did not trail for long. Hobby recorded the visitors' first points with a jumper before Bryant's layup put the Orange and Blue in front for the first time. Two free throws from Hobby came soon after, and a 3-pointer from Bostic added to the Illini's scoring streak. McKenzie's first points of the night capped off a 12-0 Illinois run that spanned nearly five minutes.

Bryant accounted for the Orange and Blue's next four points before Hobby knocked down two free throws, the Illini's final points of the frame. The away side led by as many as 12 through the opening 10 minutes, though the Illini took an 18-9 advantage after the first period of play.

Cook extended the Illinois edge to 13 by scoring the first four points of the second quarter, which forced Tulsa to call a timeout within the first minute of the frame. The Golden Hurricane snapped a scoreless drought of nearly three minutes before Hobby responded with a jumper. Bostic tallied the team's next five points, including her second trey of the day, though Bryant scored the Illini's final six points of the opening half.

Illinois took a 35-24 advantage into the break, led by a team-high 12 points from Bryant. Forcing nine Tulsa turnovers, the Illini registered 10 points off those takeaways, while the Orange and Blue amassed seven second-chance points on four offensive boards.

After Tulsa started the second half with a 4-0 run, Bostic moved into double figures for the Illini's first points of the frame just under 90 seconds in. The Golden Hurricane responded with a bucket of their own before Bryant connected from downtown to put the Orange and Blue back in front by double digits.

An 8-0 Illini run over the next three minutes pushed Illinois' advantage up to 15 points halfway through the frame before the Orange and Blue held a 54-41 edge with 10 minutes to go.

McKenzie moved the Illini's lead back up to 15 after McKenzie moved into double figures.

Cook then tallied the team's final 13 points of the contest, though the Golden Hurricane reduced their deficit down to six points with 1:34 to play. Cook made two free throws in the clutch, which sealed the Illini's berth in the next round.

[4] Illinois moves on to the WBIT semifinals at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Monday, when the Illini will take on either [1] Washington State or [2] Toledo.

POSTGAME NOTES

PLAYER NOTES

  • Genesis Bryant scored a team-high 19 points and added four rebounds and two assists.
    • Recorded her 22nd double-digit scoring performance of the season and her fourth in the last five games.
    • Had a game-high 12 points at halftime, going 5-for-7 from the floor.
  • Makira Cook scored 17 points, had three rebounds and an assist.
    • Reached the 1,000-point mark in her Illinois career.
    • Poured in double-digit points for the ninth-straight game and for the 25th time this season.
    • Scored 13 of the Illini's 15 points in the fourth quarter, going 5-for-5 from the floor, including 1-for-1 from deep and 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
  • Adalia McKenzie scored 10 points and secured three rebounds.
    • Recorded her third-straight double-digit scoring performance and her 19th such game this season.
  • Camille Hobby scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds.
    • Has scored at least eight points in three of her last four games.
    • Third game this season with at least eight boards.
  • Kendall Bostic scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds, while adding four assists.
    • Recorded her 15th double-double of the season.
    • Went 2-for-2 from beyond the arc in the contest, matching a season and career-high mark.
    • Secured her 25th game with double-digit scoring.
    • Has recorded double-digit rebounds in nine-straight games and in 19 games overall this season.
    • Tallied her sixth game this season with at least 16 boards.
      • Has secured at least 16 rebounds in three-straight games.
  • Gretchen Dolan came off the bench and scored three points, adding a rebound and two assists.
    • Was the first Illini to enter in off the bench, subbing in with 5:51 remaining in the first quarter.

TEAM NOTES

  • Tulsa won the tip, and the Golden Hurricane opened the scoring on the first possession of the game.
  • After Tulsa scored the opening basket, Illinois went on a 12-0 run that included 5 Tulsa turnovers and spanned 4:54 through the media timeout.
  • Illinois used an 8-0 run over a 2:22 stretch in the third quarter to build a 15-point lead.
    • Held Tulsa scoreless for a span of 2:47 during the run.
  • The Illini had four players score in double figures (Bostic, Bryant, Cook, McKenzie).
  • Illinois out-rebounded Tulsa 42-26 and held a 9-6 advantage in offensive rebounds.
    • Scored 11 second-chance points.
  • The Illini out-scored the Golden Hurricane 14-7 in transition.
  • Illinois held a 28-24 advantage in points in the paint.
  • The Illini converted 14 Tulsa turnovers into 16 points.

MISC. NOTES

  • Starters: Makira CookGenesis BryantAdalia McKenzieKendall BosticCamille Hobby
    • This lineup is now 12-8 on the season.
  • Shauna Green is now:
    • 39-25 at Illinois
    • 3-1 in postseason play at Illinois
    • 166-75 as a Division-I coach
    • 195-100 overall
  • Illinois vs. Tulsa: 2-0 (second meeting)
  • The Illini secured their first back-to-back .500 seasons for the first time since the 2006-07 and 2007-08 campaigns.
    • Green is the second Illini head coach in program history to record .500+ seasons in each of their first two seasons at the helm.
  • Illinois' contest at Tulsa marked its second-latest contest (March 28) in program history.
  • Tulsa is 15-2 playing at home this season.
  • The Illini's 39 overall wins in Green's first two seasons are the program's most over a two-year span since the 2006-07 and 2007-08 campaigns, when Illinois recorded 39 combined victories.
  • The Illini moved to 53-59 in postseason play in program history.
    • The Illini are now 3-0 in the Women's Basketball Invitation Tournament.
  • The Illini have held opponents at/below 15 points in 57 of 128 regulation periods.
  • Illinois is now 5-5 when wearing blue uniforms this season.
  • The Illini are now 9-4 in games starting after 5 p.m. CT this season.
  • The Illini are now 4-1 in March.

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