McKenzie, Cook Lead Illini To Holiday Win Over UTEP

(From Illinois Sports Information Office)


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Illinois women's basketball had four players score in double figures on the way to an 81-71 win over the Miners at Thursday to close out play in the West Palm Beach Classic.

The Fighting Illini (6-5) were led by Adalia McKenzie, who had 19 points, while Makira Cook tacked on 17 points and nine assists, while Genesis Bryant chipped in as well with 17 points and five assists.

Illinois took advantage of fantastic ball movement in Thursday's game, piling up 18 assists on 28 made field goals. Cook's nine assists paced the Fighting Illini.

Illinois forced 16 UTEP turnovers and turned those takeaways into 21 points on the offensive end of the floor.

How It Happened

After playing to an 11-11 tie early in the game, Illinois went on a 7-0 run with 4:11 left in the first quarter, culminating in a 3-pointer from Jada Peebles, to take an 18-11 lead. The Fighting Illini then lost some of that lead, but still entered the quarter break with a 21-15 advantage. Illinois relied on its 3-point shooting in the period, knocking down four shots to account for 12 of its 21 points.

The Fighting Illini maintained their lead in the game's second frame and entered halftime with a 34-31 edge. Illinois forced four UTEP turnovers in the period and turned them into seven points.

Illinois surrendered its halftime lead until, with the game tied at 46-46, they went on an 8-0 run, punctuated by a basket from Bryant, to grab a 54-46 lead with 3:37 to go in the third. Before the conclusion of the third period, the Miners had cut into that lead somewhat, but the Fighting Illini still entered the fourth quarter with a 58-56 edge and never looked back.

Illinois kept widening that lead, expanding it to 75-68 before going on a 6-0 run to grow the lead to 81-68 with 34 seconds to go in the contest. The Miners narrowed the margin somewhat before the game was over, but the Fighting Illini still cruised the rest of the way for the 81-71 win. Illinois forced six UTEP turnovers in the quarter, scoring six points off of those takeaways.


Player Notes

  • Makira Cook scored 17 points and added a game-high nine assists.
    • Her nine assists are a season high.
    • Matched her season high in points, which was set yesterday vs. Arkansas.
      • Has scored in double figures in six of eight games this season.
    • Went a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw line, a new season best in makes.
  • Kendall Bostic scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds.
    • Has double-figure scoring efforts in four-straight contests and in nine games this season overall.
    • Has secured at least six boards in nine games this campaign and has also hit that mark in six straight.
  • Genesis Bryant scored 17 points and added five rebounds and five assists.
    • Second game this season recording at least a 10/5/5.
    • Went 3-for–3 from behind the arc.
      • Eighth game this season knocking down multiple 3-pointers and third game with at least three makes from deep.
    • Has scored in double figures in three-straight games, a season-long streak.
  • Camille Hobby scored seven points and secured five rebounds in her first start of her Illini career.
  • Brynn Shoup-Hill was the first sub off the bench.
    • Grabbed three rebounds.
  • Jada Peebles chipped in eight points off of the bench, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers.

Team Notes

  • Illinois won the tip and would score on its second possession to open the scoring for the game.
  • Four players (Bryant, Cook, Bostic, McKenzie) finished in double figures for the Illini.
    • 10 different Illini have had double-digit scoring efforts this season.
  • After the Illini's 172-game streak of a made 3-pointer ended against Arkansas, UI's first two made baskets against UTEP were 3-pointers.
    • The Illini finished with seven made 3-pointers in the contest - sinking at least one every quarter.
  • Seven different Illini scored in the first half, including five with at least five points scored.
    • Four different Illini also knocked down a 3-pointer in first half action.
    • Six different Illini finished the game with at least seven points scored.
  • The Illini claimed a 27-25 advantage on the glass, including a 9-6 edge on offensive rebounds.
    • Scored seven second-chance points.
    • Have won the rebounding battle in two-straight games and seven games overall this season.
  • Illinois scored 21 points off of 16 UTEP turnovers.
    • The Illini have forced their opponents into double-digit turnovers in three-straight contests.
    • Fifth time this season the Illini have scored at least 20 points off of opponent turnovers.
  • The Illini made 18 of their 25 free throws, the second-most makes this season.
  • Illinois assisted 18 times on 28 field goals, its second-highest assist total of the season.

Misc Notes

  • Starters: Makira CookGenesis BryantAdalia McKenzieKendall Bostic, and Camille Hobby.
    • This lineup is now 1-0 on the season.
  • Shauna Green is now:
    • 28-15 at Illinois
    • 155-65 as a Division I coach
    • 184-90 overall
  • Illinois vs. UTEP: 1-0 (first meeting)
  • Illinois is now 1-1 when wearing blue uniforms
  • UI is now 1-2 when playing at neutral sites this season.
  • The Illini are now 3-5 in games played before 5 p.m.
  • The Illini are now 2-3 in December.

Score after 1st Quarter: 21-15
Score at Halftime: 34-31 (13-16)
Score after 3rd Quarter: 58-56 (24-25)
Final score: 81-71 (23-15)


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