By IlliniGuys Staff
January 29, 2023
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Makira Cook scored 26 points and Genesis Bryant added 21 as #22 Illinois put together one of its best shooting performances of the season to deny Michigan State's upset bid, 86-76 Sunday afternoon at State Farm Center.
The win lifts Illinois (17-5, 7-4) into a 5th place in the Big Ten with Michigan ahead of Thursday night's clash of Top 25 ranked teams in Ann Arbor.
The Spartans (11-10, 3-7) built their biggest lead at 20-15 early in the second quarter before Illinois began to chip away and take control. Jayla Oden came off the bench to score the Illini's first six points of the second quarter to keep them close and then the Illinois defense took over. The home team held Michigan State scoreless for nearly 4 1/2 minutes to allow Cook to heat up. Illinois' leading scorer missed six of her first seven shots, but scored six points on an Illini 10-0 run as they took a lead they would never relinquish.
Adalia McKenzie added 14 points, but played a major role away from the ball with 11 rebounds to complete a double-double and setting season highs with 6 assists and 5 steals. Kendall Bostic just missed her 9th double-double of the year with 10 points and 9 rebounds.
The Spartans, who have suffered all seven Big Ten losses either in overtime or to ranked teams, rallied in the 4th quarter to close within four points, but the Illini sealed the win at the free throw line. Bryant and Cook combined to go 10-f0r-10 at the line in the final minute, as Illinois overall was a near perfect 22-of-23 at the charity stripe.
Illinois was also effective in its overall shooting. They shot 50.9% to improve to 6-0 this season when hitting more than half of their field goal attempts.
Stay with IlliniGuys.com for more coverage from the Illini's big win at State Farm Center.
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