McKenzie Scores 20 As Illini Complete Season Sweep of Wildcats

(From Illinois Sports Information Office)

Media Box | YouTube Playlist | Illinois Media Guide | Highlights | Press Conference | Box score, season stats, postgame notes attached

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois secured the season sweep over Northwestern, taking down the Wildcats, 82-71, at State Farm Center on Thursday night.

Adalia McKenzie reached double figures for the third game in a row, recording 12 points in the second quarter before finishing with a team-high 20 points, which tied her season-best mark. Shooting 70% from the field, McKenzie also amassed five rebounds, including four on the offensive glass, along with two assists and two steals.

Makira Cook tallied 19 points, her eighth consecutive outing in double figures. After totaling four points in the first half, Cook went 4-for-5 from the field and 7-for-9 from the charity stripe for a team-high 15 second-half points. She also racked up three assists and one steal.

Kendall Bostic grabbed 13 rebounds, her fourth night in the last five games that she has reached double-digit boards, and she also poured in eight points. She recorded a block for the sixth straight game, while she also made one steal.

Genesis Bryant registered nine points, seven assists, and four rebounds. Her seven helpers equaled her season-high tally. Bryant also notched three steals, her fifth game with at least three takeaways this season.

Gretchen Dolan and Shay Bollin combined for 17 points off the bench. Bollin went 2-for-2 from 3-point range, while Dolan totaled nine points while grabbing two offensive boards.

Camille Hobby ended her outing with nine points, two rebounds, and one steal.

The Illini opened the game on a 7-2 run, which included four early points for Bostic. The Wildcats cut into their deficit before the Orange and Blue strung together an 8-2 run featuring points from four of their five starters. Leading by as many as 10 in the opening period of play, Illinois held a 20-12 advantage through the first 10 minutes. All five starters registered points in the first quarter, while Bollin knocked down the team's lone 3-pointer of the frame.

A McKenzie and-1 layup marked the team's first points of the second quarter before a Hobby jumper capped off a 5-0 run for the Illini. After Northwestern cut the Illinois lead to eight points midway through the frame, the Orange and Blue closed the first half on a 12-5 scoring stretch, a run that included seven points from McKenzie to move her into double figures.

The Illini took a 41-26 advantage into the break, with McKenzie's 14 points leading the offensive charge for the hosts. Bollin added eight points off the bench, her most in conference play this season, and she went a perfect 2-for-2 from beyond the arc. Bostic dominated the boards for the Orange and Blue, reaching the double-digit rebound mark late in the second quarter.

Following the intermission, Northwestern used a 5-2 run to cut the Illinois edge to 10 points, but five Illini straight points, all of which came via free throws, moved the home side's advantage back to 15 points. The Wildcats continued to scratch and claw their way back, closing the gap to six points with just over four minutes to play in the third period.

The Illini did not let that last for long, closing the frame on a 14-1 run to take a 19-point advantage into the final quarter. Cook scored eight points during that four-minute stretch, which saw the Illini take a 63-44 lead after holding the Wildcats without a field goal for over four minutes to close the third quarter.

Illinois' advantage grew to 20 points early in the fourth quarter after Hobby and Cook both got shots to fall. The Wildcats cut their deficit to 13 points before the Illini used a 5-0 run to retake an 18-point edge. Dolan scored the team's final four points of the night to help the Illini return to winning ways.

Illinois (11-11, 5-7 B1G) closes its two-game homestand on Sunday, when the Illini welcome Maryland for its Play4Kay game. The nationally televised tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT on FS1.

POSTGAME NOTES

Player Notes:

  • Genesis Bryant scored nine points, grabbed four rebounds and added seven assists.
    • Her seven assists matches her season-high mark this season.
    • Recorded three steals…has multiple steals in back-to-back contests.
  • Makira Cook scored 19 points and dished out three assists.
    • Scored in double figures for the eighth straight game.
    • Went 9-for-11 from the free-throw line, a season-high in makes from the stripe.
  • Adalia McKenzie scored 20 points, had five rebounds and two assists.
    • Is averaging 17.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists over her last three games.
    • Has scored in double figures in three-straight games, matching her season-long streak.
      • Collected her second 20-point performance of the season.
      • Reached double figures in scoring with 3:47 to play in Q2, third-straight game with at least 15 points.
      • Scored a team-high 12 points in the second quarter.
    • Went 8-for-11 from the floor, a season-high in field goals.
  • Camille Hobby racked up nine points, two rebounds, and one steal.
  • Kendall Bostic scored eight points and secured 13 rebounds.
    • Secured 10 rebounds in the first half, her 10th double-digit rebounding performance of the season.
      • Has also done so in consecutive games and in four of her last five overall.
    • Has recorded a block in six-consecutive games.
  • Gretchen Dolan came off the bench to score nine points and grab three rebounds.
    • Grabbed multiple offensive rebounds for the first time this season.
  • Shay Bollin scored eight points off of the bench.
    • Bollin made her first appearance on the court since the team was in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Jan. 31.
    • Went 2-for-2 from beyond the arc, her second game of the season with multiple 3-point field goals.
    • Scored eight points in the first half, going a perfect 3-for-3 from the floor, knocking down two 3-pointers.
  • Bollin and Dolan were the first two Illini off the bench, entering the contest with 2:30 remaining in the first quarter.

Team Notes:

  • Northwestern won the tip, but Illinois opened the scoring on a Kendall Bostic layup assisted by Makira Cook.
  • Two Illini scored in double figures (Cook, McKenzie).
  • Closed the third quarter on a 10-0 run over the last 2:37, part of an extended 14-1 run over a 3:50 span in the period.
    • Also held Northwestern scoreless for the last 2:59 of the third quarter.
  • Illinois held Northwestern to 12 points in the first quarter and 14 in the second, the 45th and 46th time the Illini have held an opponent under 15 points in a period.
  • Illinois out-rebounded Northwestern, 36-30.
    • The Illini have won the rebounding battle in five-straight games, setting a new season-long streak.
    • Illinois scored 10 second-chance points on its 11 o-boards.
  • The Illini out-scored the Wildcats 44-40 in the paint.
  • The Illini captured their fourth consecutive win over the Wildcats, the team's longest winning streak over Northwestern since securing 21-straight victories from 1997-2010.
    • First time winning back-to-back games against Northwestern in Champaign since 2009-10.

Misc. Notes:

  • Starters: Makira CookGenesis BryantAdalia McKenzieKendall BosticCamille Hobby
    • This lineup is now 6-4 on the season.
  • Shauna Green is now:
    • 33-21 at Illinois
    • 160-71 as a Division-I coach
    • 189-96 overall
  • Illinois vs. Northwestern: 38-49 (87th meeting)
    • Shauna Green coaching record vs. Northwestern: 4-1
      • Green spent one season on staff as an assistant for the Wildcats during the 2015-16 campaign.
  • Illinois is now 7-5 when wearing white uniforms this season.
  • UI is now 8-4 in home games this season.
  • The Illini are now 6-3 in games starting after 5 p.m. CT this season.
  • The Illini are now 1-1 in February.

QUOTES

Head coach Shauna Green:

Opening statement:

"I'm really proud of our bounce-back from the other night. I thought we came out and played really well to start. We've been talking about how every game, our start is very critical and winning that first battle. We came out and held them to 12 points in the first quarter, and then 14 in the second. I thought our defensive intensity really set the tone. We were able to really force them higher out and got them out of a rhythm early in their offense. Then, we were able to get stops, clean rebounds, and then run and play at a really good pace.

"Really great overall team effort. At the end there, I know they made a little bit of a run. I also wanted to give some other people some minutes and some critical time to see how they responded. At one point, I had Shay at the five and Cori at the four, and Shay and Brynn on the floor together. I wanted to give them some opportunities when I felt like we had the game in control.

"It was just a great bounce-back win. Now, we gotta use this. We gotta learn. We gotta get better and tighten some things up going into a really big game on Sunday against Maryland."

Makira Cook

On the team's mindset heading into the game:

"I'd say our mindset heading into today was we were hungry. We knew we needed to win. It was a bounce-back game to get us back on track, and we just played how we played. We were all focused."

On her aggressiveness and getting to the free-throw line:

"Getting to the free-throw line is always a cool thing because it slows the game down. It's just free points. You have to work really hard to get to the free-throw line, but once you're there, you can take a deep breath, gather yourself, and take a breather. It also takes them out of their rhythm when you keep going to the free-throw line."

On the team's bench finishing with 17 points:

"It's awesome because behind the scenes, we see how hard everybody works each day. The people who had a really good game today off the bench, it's a direct correlation from how they worked this week and how focused and vocal they were. It's just nice to see everything come together, and we celebrate them."

Adalia McKenzie

On what has led to strong performances in three-straight games:

"I would just say a lot of prayer and a lot of focus. I'm surrounded by a great team, and they push me every single day. I just go out and be my best. I appreciate the people who I have around me."

On how she defines and views her role on the team:

"I would say that I'm needed in every area on the floor, not just on offense but on defense. Every little thing, I have to lock in and give my best. Coach Green talks about being elite and being our best, and that's just how I see it. I'm giving my best for the team."

On the team's momentum heading into the final stretch of the regular season:

"I think it's all about execution on both ends of the floor. Coach Green always talks about going 1-0. It's not about changing a lot of things; it's about doing what we do and being our best."

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