Strong Start Sends Illinois Women Past Stony Brook, Into WBIT Quarterfinals

Illinois Athletics

March 24, 2024

Adalia McKenzie courtesy Illinois Athletics

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois never trailed en route to a dominant 79-62 win over Stony Brook in the second round of the WBIT at State Farm Center on Sunday afternoon.

Three Illini scorers finished in double figures, while 10 players saw the court in the team's final home game of the 2023-24 season.

Adalia McKenzie poured in a career-high 28 points, her second consecutive 20-point performance. Missing only one shot across the first three quarters, McKenzie went 12-for-16 from the field, marking the first game of her career with double-digit field goals. She also totaled seven rebounds, including four boards on the offensive glass, along with three assists and one steal.

Kendall Bostic secured her seventh double-double in her last eight games, totaling 19 points and 17 rebounds. Reaching the double-double mark with three minutes remaining in the second quarter, Bostic went 9-for-11 from the field after going a perfect 5-for-5 in the first half. She also amassed one assist and one steal.

Makira Cook also clinched her second double-double of the season with 14 points and a season-best 10 assists, with her double-digit helpers setting a new single-game postseason program record. She also grabbed five rebounds and made one block.

Camille Hobby amassed four points and six rebounds, while Gretchen Dolan added seven points off the bench.

The Illini opened the game on a 6-2 run, though the Seawolves battled back to reduce their deficit to a single point four minutes into the contest. Illinois then pieced together a 5-0 run to move its advantage up to six points before McKenzie tallied her first points, which meant all five starters registered a basket within the first five-and-a-half minutes of action. Stony Brook got hot from 3-point range, making four in the span of three minutes, but Illinois closed the frame on a 10-0 run to take a double-digit lead, 27-16, through 10 minutes.

Starting the second quarter on a 5-0 run, the Illini extended their advantage up to 16 within the first three minutes of the frame. The Seawolves ended a scoreless drought of nearly six minutes soon after, though the Orange and Blue's edge ballooned up to 17 with three minutes to go in the first half. A 6-0 Illinois run brought the home side's advantage past the 20-point mark before going into the break with a 45-26 lead.

McKenzie led the way with a team-high 12 points in the first half, while Bostic secured a double-double with 10 points and a team-most 12 rebounds through the opening 20 minutes. Holding the Seawolves to just 28.2% shooting, the Illini dominated in points in the paint, 24-14, and on the glass, 29-15, across the first two quarters.

Stony Brook cut its deficit to 13 points following a 7-0 run just over two minutes into the second half. Illinois responded with a 14-2 run, which extended the home side's advantage up to 60-35. Scoring the final seven points of that run, McKenzie reached the 20-point mark for the second consecutive game and for the fourth time overall this season. The Seawolves used an 11-4 run over the next three minutes to reduce the Illini's edge to 18 points, but the Orange and Blue closed the frame with a 6-2 run, bringing the hosts' lead up to 70-48 with 10 minutes remaining.

Bostic scored the Illini's first four points of the final frame before Stony Brook went on a 9-0 run over the next 90 seconds to cut Illinois' lead down to 14. McKenzie then accounted for the Orange and Blue's next three points, which helped her clinch a career-best scoring output. The Illini closed out the win to secure a spot in the quarterfinal round.

With its 18-point win, Illinois will hit the road for its WBIT quarterfinals appearance to take on [3] Tulsa away from home on Thursday.

Postgame Notes

Player Notes:

  • Makira Cook recorded her second double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 assists, the latter of which set a new program postseason record.
    • Scored in double figures for the eighth straight game and for the 16th time in her last 17 games.
    • Earned a double-double three minutes into the fourth quarter, her second of the season.
      • Tallied the fourth overall double-double of her career, marking the second composed of points and assists.
      • Sunday's double-double marked her first in State Farm Center.
    • Cook is now seven points away from scoring 1,000 during her time at Illinois.
  • Adalia McKenzie registered a career-best 28 points on 12-for-16 shooting while also grabbing seven rebounds.
    • Her 28 points are tied for the third-most in a postseason game in program history.
      • Her 28 points are also tied for the third-most in a postseason home game in program history.
    • McKenzie posted her 18th game with double-digit scoring for the season.
    • Tallied 20+ points in her fourth game of the season.
      • Had back-to-back 20-point games for the first time this season and for the second time in her collegiate career.
        • 22 points vs. Delaware on Nov. 26, 2022, and 25 points at Delaware on Nov. 30, 2022.
    • Shot 12-for-16, which was a career-best single-game field-goal tally.
  • Kendall Bostic secured her 14th double-double of the season with 19 points and a team-high 17 rebounds.
    • Recorded her her seventh double-double in the last eight games.
      • Secured a double-double within the last three minutes of the second quarter.
      • Her 14 double-doubles are tied for the seventh-most in a single season.
      • Her 14 double-doubles are her most in a season in her career.
    • Totaling 10 points in the first half, Bostic marked her 24th game this season with double-digit scoring.
    • Amassed double-digit boards for the eight consecutive game and for the 18th time overall this season.
      • Grabbed her 10th board with 5:27 remaining in the second quarter.
    • Her 17 rebounds tied the second-most in a postseason home game in program history.
    • Bostic is 21 points away from 1,o00 career points.
    • Bostic is now 46 rebounds away from 1,000 boards at Illinois.
  • Gretchen Dolan finished with seven points off the bench.
    • First Illini sub off the bench, checking in at the first-quarter media timeout (3:53).
    • Added seven points off the bench, her most since also totaling seven in the Illini's regular-season finale against Nebraska on March 3.

Team Notes:

  • Illinois won the tip, and the Illini opened the scoring with a Cook 3-pointer, which was assisted by McKenzie.
  • All 5 Illini starters scored by the first media timeout of the game.
  • The Illini closed the final 2:49 of the first quarter with a 10-0 run, which helped Illinois take a 27-16 advantage through the opening 10 minutes.
    • That run eventually moved to 15-0 after the Illini accounted for the first five points of the second quarter.
    • The Illini held the Seawolves scoreless for nearly six minutes and took advantage by opening up a 16-point lead with 7:21 left in the second frame.
    • Illinois' largest first half lead was 21 points at 45-24 with 1:03 left in the second quarter.
  • After Illinois began the second half with a made free throw, Stony Brook went on a 7-0 run to pull within 13 points at 46-33 but UI responded with a 9-0 run from there.
  • The Illini's largest lead of the game was 25 points, which came with 4:44 left in the third quarter. Stony Brook never led in the game.
  • The Illini had three scorers in double figures (McKenzie, Cook, Bostic).
  • UI won the battle of the paint 40-28, marking the 10th time this season the squad scored 40 or more.
  • Two Illinois players recorded a double-double in the game for the third time this season. Kendall Bostic registered 19 points and 17 rebounds while Makira Cook notched 14 points and 10 assists.
    • The last time Illinois had two players record double-doubles in a win was 8 occurrences ago in a 74-69 win vs. Central Michigan on December 12, 2015.
      • Chatrice White (20 points, 10 rebounds) and Alex Whittinger (14 points, 12 rebounds)

Miscellaneous Notes: 

  • Starters: Makira CookGenesis BryantAdalia McKenzieKendall BosticCamille Hobby
    • This lineup is now 11-8 on the season.
  • Shauna Green is now:
    • 38-25 at Illinois
    • 2-1 in postseason play at Illinois
    • 165-75 as a Division-I coach
    • 194-100 overall
  • Illinois vs. Stony Brook: 1-0 (first meeting)
  • The Illini's 37 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 52-59 in postseason play in program history.
    • Illinois is now 18-5 in postseason home games.
    • The Illini are now 2-0 in the Women's Basketball Invitation Tournament.
  • Illinois has now won eight consecutive postseason home games.
  • The Illini have held opponents at/below 15 points in 55 of 124 regulation periods.
  • Illinois is now 11-5 when wearing white uniforms this season.
  • UI is now 12-5 in State Farm Center this season and is 24-8 combined in SFC over the last two campaigns.
  • The Illini are now 8-11 in games starting before 5 p.m. CT this season.
  • The Illini are now 3-1 in March.

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