Illini Women Wave Past Charlotte in Daytona Beach

By IlliniGuys Staff

November 25, 2022

(Cover photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Illini head coach Shauna Green said earlier this week that she was anxious to get out of town to see how her team would perform away from home.

She had to have liked what she saw Friday evening.

Adalia McKenzie scored 15 of her game-high and season-high tying 17 points in the first half and the Illinois defense locked down its opponent again to score a 70-43 victory over Charlotte in their opening game in the Daytona Beach invite.

The win lifts Illinois to 6-0 on the season, tying their second-best start in program history.  The Illini won their first six games in 1980 and again in 1986.  Illinois opened the 1981-82 season with a 10-0 record.

The 49ers, who won both the Conference USA regular-season and conference tournament championships last season, looked like they would provide the biggest test yet for the Illini this season. The teams were tied at ten when Illinois went on a 13-0 run, led by McKenzie.  The sophomore scored seven points during the spurt to put the Illini on top, 23-10 after one quarter.

The former Miss Basketball in Minnesota has evolved as a leader and top scorer for Green's Illini.  McKenzie has scored in double figures in every game this season, making a season-high seven field goals against Charlotte and adding six rebounds as well.  She had as many field goals in the first half (6) as the entire 49ers team.

The Illinois defense continues to evolve, forcing a season-best 19 turnovers and holding the 49ers to just 28 percent shooting from the field.  Charlotte is already the third Illinois opponent this season to shoot under 30 percent in a game.

Another challenge awaits Saturday afternoon when Illinois meets Delaware for the first time ever.  The Hens won the 2022 Colonial tournament championship to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. They lost to Fresno State 53-49 in the first game in Daytona to fall to 3-2 on the season.

The game will tipoff at 2:30pm CT on Saturday.

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