Illinois Defeats EIU To Advance in WNIT

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Published on March 26 2013 10:16 am
Last Updated on March 26 2013 10:16 am
Written by Millie Lange

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Eastern Illinois women’s basketball fell in second round WNIT action at Illinois, 62-54, Monday night at Assembly Hall.

The Panthers dominated play on the glass with a 44-33 rebound margin.  Mariah King had 12 rebounds including five on the offensive glass.  EIU pulled down 18 offensive boards.

EIU did commit 22 turnovers which Illinois was able to convert into 18 points as both teams shot under 40 percent for the contest.  Illinois improved to 18-13 and will play Toledo in the WNIT third round. EIU closes out the year at 20-12.

Leading 29-26 at the half, EIU opened the second half with an 8-2 run as King had back-to-back lay-ups putting EIU up 37-31 with 15:48 to play.

Illinois tied the game at 44-44 with 7:35 left.  The Illini used a 9-2 run to take the lead 51-46.  Amber Moore hit a 3-pointer to start the Illini run.  King had a bucket to answer making it 47-46 with 7:06 to play.  King led the Panthers with 23 points finishing with a double-double in her final collegiate game.

Karisma Penn stretched Illinois led to 53-46 with a pair of free throws as she led the Fighting Illini with 19 points.  Kelsey Wyss drained a 3-pointer with 4:33 left to play closing the margin to 55-51.  Ta’Kenya Nixon drained a 3-pointer with 2:02 to play making it a one possession game at 57-54.  EIU would miss two field goals on the next possession and would have to foul to close out the game.

Nixon, the Panthers all-time leading scorer, finished her final game with 17 points and seven rebounds.  Wyss had six points and Sydney Mitchell did not score as the four members of the senior class closed out their careers making four straight post-season appearances (3 WNIT, 1 WBI).

The Panthers jumped out to an early 13-4 advantage on 5-for-9 shooting through the contest’s first four minutes of play. Illinois fought back and went on a 16-3 run to take their second lead of the contest, 20-16, with 4:11 left in the half. EIU went 4-for-6 from the floor and 3-for-5 from the charity stripe to close out the half and take a 29-26 advantage into intermission.