Basketball

Women’s Basketball Welcomes Wisconsin Sunday

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Game 24: Illinois (9-14 1-11 B1G) vs. Wisconsin (11-12, 2-9 B1G)
When

Sunday, February 10, 2019 |  2 PM CT

Where

Champaign, Illinois | State Farm Center

Tickets Buy Tickets
Information  Illinois Record Book | Illinois Notes | Wisconsin Notes
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Promotions

Celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day
-$3 General Admission tickets
-Meet Illinois varsity women’s sports teams on the concourse during pregame
-Valentine’s Day card making in Kids Zone
-Post-game autographs

Scout Day
-$3 General Admission tickets
-Fighting Illini Scout patches

Men’s Basketball Carry-Over Ticket
-Going to the men’s game on February 9? Come to this game with your ticket stub for FREE general admission!

Chambana Moms February Play Date

QUICK HITS

THE COACHES

ILLINOIS: Nancy Fahey  //  18-36 at Illinois (2nd year)  //  755-169 overall (33rd year)

WISCONSIN: Jonathan Tsipis //  29-55 at Wisconsin (3rd year) // 121-93 overall (7th year)

SERIES NOTES vs. WISCONSIN

Series Record: Tied, 36-36

Last Meeting: January 28, 2018 | Wisconsin 70, Illinois 61 | Champaign, Ill. 

Series Streak: L-2

Series in Champaign: Illinois leads, 22-12

Series in Madison: Illinois trails, 9-23

Fahey vs. Wisconsin: 0-1

Illinois…

…is celebrating National Girls & Women in Sports Day on Sunday

…ranks 7th in the B1G and 34th in the nation for its 4.7 blocks per game

…ranks 7th in the B1G for its 6.9 steals per game in league play

…shooting 42.6-percent from the field to rank 8th in the Big Ten

…junior Brandi Beasley is 4th in the B1G with 4.9 assists per game

…senior Alex Wittinger ranks 11th in the country for her 57 blocks

Alex Wittinger ranks 9th in the B1G for her 14.6 points per game

…freshman Arieal Scott ranks 6th in the B1G for her 2.1 3FG per game

• SUNDAY’S GAME: UI welcomes Wisconsin to the State Farm Center on February 10. The game will honor National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Several Fighting Illini women’s teams will be on the concourse prior to tipoff to sign autographs and host interactive stations. Tickets will be available for $3, and several Fighting Illini women’s teams will be signing autographs on the concourse before the game.The game will be live streamed via BTN Plus, and fans can also listen in on WDWS AM-1400.

• COMING UP:  Illinois will travel to Iowa on Thursday for a 7 p.m. contest in Iowa City. The Orange and Blue will return to Champaign on February 17 for the annual Play 4Kay Pink Game Presented by WCIA and Health Alliance. Fans who wear pink to the State Farm Center on February 17 will receive $3 admission. 

• LAST TIME OUT: Fighting Illini junior Ali Andrews recorded her first career double-double on Thursday evening against the Purdue Boilermakers. Andrews netted 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Orange and Blue, but the Illini fell to Purdue, 72-50. Redshirt junior Cierra Rice also scored in double-figures with 11 points on the night. Illinois swiped nine steals and forced 15 Purdue turnovers and scored 13 points off of those miscues. The Illini also grabbed 16 offensive rebounds on Thursday evening. 

• SCOUTING THE BADGERS:  The Wisconsin Badgers own an 11-12 record on the season with a  2-9 mark in conference play. Wisconsin is coming off of a loss to Michigan, but has earned league victories over Nebraska and Purdue. The Badgers average 64 points per game this season, led by Marsha Howard (13.3 ppg) and Imani Lewis (12.3 ppg). Howard also leads the Badgers on the glass with her 9.0 rebounds per game, while Lewis adds 7.8 per contest for Wisconsin. The Badgers are shooting 39.2-percent from the field this season and 27.5-percent from three-point range, while averaging 15.1 turnovers per game. 

The FAHEY ERA CONTINUES

The Illini are in their second season under the direction of head coach Nancy Fahey. In her first season at Illinois, Fahey coached the Orange and Blue to a 9-5 nonconference record, which marked the best start to the season since Illinois also earned nine non-conference victories in the 2014-15 campaign (9-3). Illinois won four of its last five games leading up to league play, with the streak marking the most consecutive victories for the Orange and Blue since the start of the 2015-16 season. Under Fahey’s guidance, Illini junior Alex Wittinger garnered All-Big Ten Second Team honors, and also matched the school record for single-season offensive rebounds (125). Wittinger earned the program’s second-ever triple double during the 2017-18 campaign, and set a new single-game record for blocked shots (11).

ONE OF THE GREATS

Illinois head coach Nancy Fahey is in the midst of quite the storied career. She has accumulated 755 career victories, a number that ranks among the top totals in the NCAA. Her win total currently checks in at No. 20 among all NCAA head coaches, a category that’s led by Pat Summitt (1098). Fahey’s 755 career victories also ranks ninth among current active NCAA Division I head coaches and 12th among all active NCAA head coaches. She has racked up the second-most career victories among active Big Ten head coaches as well. Of active head coaches with more than 700 victories, Fahey’s .818 winning percentage ranks second only to Geno Auriemma (.883).

TAKING DOWN THE TOP 25 

The Fighting Illini earned their first Big Ten victory of the season and the first of head coach Nancy Fahey‘s tenure at Illinois on Sunday, January 6, defeating 12th-ranked Minnesota, 66-62. The win marked Illinois’ first victory over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 17 Iowa (73-61) on January 8, 2015. The win over Minnesota also marks Illinois’ first victory over a top-15 opponent since a 77-71 win over No. 9 Kentucky on Nov. 27, 2014. Illinois also overcame a 17-point deficit to earn the win, which marks the fifth-largest deficit overcome by any team in a victory this season. 

MOST RECENTLY

Illini junior Brandi Beasley has been strong as of late, she leads Illinois averaging 13.2 points per game over the last five games. Beasley is joined in double-figures by senior Alex Wittinger, who is averaging 10.0 points per game during that span. Beasley and Wittinger lead Illinois from the free throw line over the last five games as Beasley is shooting 91.7-percent and Wittinger is knocking down 85.7-percent of shots from the charity stripe. 

FAHEY’S ALMA MATER COMES TO TOWN

Illini head coach Nancy Fahey is familiar with the Wisconsin Badgers. A Wisconsin native and 1981 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Fahey was a four-year letterwinner (1977-81) for the Badgers. She started two years at point guard, and served as a captain in her senior season. Fahey led the team in assists during the 1980-81 (117) and 1981-82 (124). She ranks ninth all-time at Wisconsin for her 4.45 assists per game in Big Ten play during the 1980-81 season. 

THE HUNT FOR 1K

Illini junior Brandi Beasley ended the hunt for her 1,000th career point on January 24 at Michigan State. She netted her milestone point on a free throw during the third quarter, and finished the game with a game-high 15 points. She has racked up 1,062 career points to date, and became the 30th Illini to reach 1,000 career points in Illinois history. Senior Alex Wittinger is also a member of the 1,000 point club as she has tallied 1,498 career points so far.  Wittinger ranks 12th on Illinois’ career scoring list.

WITTINGER ON THE GLASS

Illini senior Alex Wittinger crashed the boards last season as she closed the year tied at No. 9 all-time at Illinois for her 278 total rebounds on the year. Wittinger had a monster performance against Ohio State (Feb. 13, 2018) as she grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds. Her 11 offensive boards in the matchup mark the third-most for an Illini in a single-game in program history, and she is joined in that spot by Jonelle Polk who also grabbed 11 at Indiana in 1987. Wittinger recorded 125 offensive rebounds last season, which matches Illinois’ single-season record set by Karisma Penn (2013-13). She currently ranks second all-time for her 383 career offensive boards, and is at No. 6 on the all-time total rebounding list (900).

Wittinger is averaging 3.1 offensive boards per game this year, which puts her sixth in the Big Ten. Her 7.7 total rebounds per game rank ninth in the Big Ten. 

It’s for Free

Illinois has taken advantage from the charity stripe since starting league play, knocking down 112-of-154 opportunities. UI’s 72.7-percent free throw shooting in conference play ranks fourth in the league. Junior Courtney Joens (9-of-10) and freshman J-Naya Ephraim (12-of-13) are also among team leaders in league play as they are shooting 90-percent or better from the line in Conference play.  

A GRAND OLE TIME

Illinois boasts two members of the 1,000-point Club on its current squad this season, both reaching the milestone mark in less than 82 games. Both sit among the top-15 fastest Illini to score 1,000 career points. 

Not only that, but both Beasley and Wittinger scored their 1,000th career point on a free throw in consecutive years. The last three Illini to reach the 1,000-point mark have scored their milestone point on a free throw, and since 2000, five Illini have joined the club in that same manner (Allison Curtin: 2000-01; Lori Bjork: 2007-08; Chatrice White: 2015-16; Wittinger: 2017-18, Beasley: 2018-19).

Name Years Played Games to reach 1K Points     

1. Ashley Berggren (1994-98) 56 games

2. Lisa Robinson (1978-92) 61 games

Chatrice White (2014-16) 61 games

4. Susan Blauser (1998-00) 64 games

5. Kendra Gantt (1981-85) 65 games

6. Jenna Smith (2006-10) 66 games

7. Allison Curtin (1998-01) 66 games

8. Jonelle Polk (1983-87) 70 games

9. Mandy Cunningham (1990-94) 72 games

Karisma Penn (2009-13) 72 games

11. Lynnette Robinson (1978-82) 77 games

Angie McClellan (1984-88) 77 games

Angelina Williams (2001-05) 77 games

14. Alex Wittinger (2015-present) 79 games

15. Brandi Beasley (2016-present) 81 games

16. Alicia Sheeler (1996-99) 82 games

17. Sarah Sharp (1987-91) 83 games

18. Kris Dupps (1991-95) 85 games

19. Krista Reinking (1994-98) 86 games

20. Tauja Catchings (1996-2000) 89 games

Lori Bjork (2005-08) 89 games

STEALING AWAY

Illinois has snatched 148 steals this season with 83 of those coming in Big Ten play. UI ranks sixth in the league for its 6.9 steals per game in conference play. Junior Brandi Beasley is a major contributor to those numbers as she leads the team with 21 steals in Big Ten games (1.8 per game). Beasley comes in sixth in the league for her steals in conference play.

BLOCKING UP THE RECORD BOOKS

Now in her senior season, Alex Wittinger has already had quite the career for the Illini. She tallied 75 rejections through 31 games last season, a number that ranked 18th in the country and is just three shy of Illinois’ single season record. She tallied 74 blocks in the 2016-17 season, which sits in the No. 3 single-game spot all-time at Illinois. Wittinger has recorded five or more blocks in five career games and reset her own Illinois single-game blocks record with 11 rejections at Penn State. That number also reset the Bryce Jordan Center blocked shots record. 

Wittinger became just the eighth player in Illinois history to record 100 career blocks on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 and also set a new single-game record with her eight rejections against Wright State during the 2016-17 season. She currently ranks second all-time with her 256 career blocked shots and will chase the No. 1 spot this season. Wittinger is 15 rejections away from tying the top spot and will need to average 2.2 blocks per game throughout the regular season to own the record. 

Illinois Career Blocked Shots List

1. 271 Karisma Penn 2009-13

2. 256 Alex Wittinger 2016-

3. 231 Jenna Smith 2006-10

4. 163 Lacey Simpson 2005-10

5. 156 Kendra Gantt 1981-85

BEASLEY’S BACK

The Illini return junior point guard Brandi Beasley for her junior season in 2018-19. After a standout freshman season, Beasley returned in her sophomore year to appear in all 31 of Illinois’ matchups. She was among Illinois scoring leaders last season as she averaged 12.3 points per game. She led Illinois in assists, dishing 3.6 per game and totaling 111 on the year. Beasley has racked up 344 assists so far in her career in the Orange and Blue, and ranks seventh all-time for that number.

Beasley is averaging 5.0 assists per game this year, a number which leads Illinois and ranks among the nation’s best. Beasley ranks third in the Big Ten for her 5.0 dimes per game, and ranks 43rd in the country for that  number. Her 113 assists rank 34th in the nation. Beasley’s 1.92 assist turnover ratio ranks eighth in the league as well.  Beasley has dished at least one assist in every game of her career thus far (85), and has passed out five or more dimes in 28 contests. She’s passed out 10 dimes in two games this year. 

GOING THE DISTANCE

The Orange and Blue have knocked down 144 three-pointers this season, with 80 of those coming during Big Ten play. UI is averaging 6.7 treys per game in league play to rank fourth in the Big Ten. Freshman Arieal Scott leads the Illini with her 2.7 treys per game in conference play and 2.1 per game this season. She is shooting 31-percent from beyond the arc this season, a number that sits seventh in the conference.

THE CENTURY MARK

Illinois posted a season-best 107 points in a loss to Sacramento State in San Luis Obispo, California. Illinois’ 107 points mark the fourth-most in a game in Illinois history and the first time since Nov. 17, 2014 that an Illini squad has put up more than 100 points in a game. 

BENCH POINTS 

Illinois’ bench has been strong this season, contributing 35-percent of Illinois’ scoring. Freshman Arieal Scott leads the Orange and Blue when coming off the pine, averaging 10.8 points per game. She’s leads the team with her 40 three-pointers on the year as well. Graduate transfer Sarah Shewan is averaging 5.5 points per game off the bench, and joins freshman J-Naya Ephraim among Illinois rebounding leaders when coming off the pine. The Illini bench has contributed 30 or more points in five games this season, led by a season-best 39 points against Alabama A&M and Nebraska. 

THE BIG 2-0-0

Fighting Illini senior forward Alex Wittinger earned her 200th career block on Nov. 7 in Illinois’ season opener against Alabama A&M. Wittinger is just the third Illini in school history to reach the 200 blocked shots mark, and she needs just 15 more blocks to take sole ownership of Illinois’ career blocked shots record. 

Wittinger has totaled 57 blocks this season, which ranks third in the Big Ten and 11th in the country. She is averaging 2.5 blocks per game this year, which comes in at 16th in the country and third in the Big Ten. Her 26 blocks in league play (2.2 per game) rank third in the conference. 

ON THE BOARDS

The Fighting Illini posted quite the rebounding performance against Valparaiso, outrebounding the Crusaders, 51-23. The 28-rebound margin marks the largest rebounding advantage posted by an Illinois squad since outrebounding Fort Wayne (then IPFW), 51-22, on February 22, 2005.  Illinois followed that up with a season-best 56 rebounds against Sacramento State. The Illini have outrebounded three opponents by 10 or more boards this season, and have outrebounded 11 opponents overall. 

ANDREWS ON POINT

Illinois junior Ali Andrews is among Illini returners this season. Last season, Andrew’s matched Illinois’ single-season three-point field goal percentage record with her 41.2-percent shooting from distance (40-97). Andrews recorded a carer-high 26 points against Wichita State at the New Mexico Thanksgiving Tournament last season, highlighted by another career-best six three-pointers (6-of-8) and 81.8-percent shooting from the floor. In her freshman season, Andrews netted 37-of-94 three-pointers. Her 101 career treys made currently rank 9th all-time at Illinois.  

HOME SWEET HOME

The Illini got off to a strong start inside State Farm Center this season, opening the year with a 7-0 record on Lou Henson Court. The last time an Illinois squad started the year with a 7-0 record at the State Farm Center was the 2006-07 season. Illinois went 7-0 at home to start the 2015-16 campaign, but the first four games were played at Parkland College due to arena renovations. 

The Illini are shooting 44.3-percent from the floor and outscoring opponents by 2.9 points per game inside State Farm Center this season. Alex Wittinger leads the Illini at home, averaging 15.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game this season while also shooting 54.6-percent from the floor. Brandi Beasley is also among scoring leaders at the State Farm Center, averaging 11.4 points per game. She’s dished 72 of her 107 dimes at home. Ali Andrews is strong from distance at home, She’s made 18 of her 23 treys at home. Freshman Arieal Scott has also knocked down 20 treys on Lou Henson Court so far this year. 

WHAT A START 

The Orange and Blue opened the 2018-19 campaign with an 8-3 start in nonconference play. UI won four consecutive games to start the season, and also went on a four-game winning streak inside the State Farm Center from Dec. 1 to Dec. 15. Illinois’ .727 nonconference winning percentage this season marks the highest for an Illini squad since starting the 2014-15 campaign with a 9-5 nonconference record (.750).

DOUBLE-DOUBLE THE FUN

Senior Alex Wittinger (32 pts, 14 rebs) and junior Brandi Beasley  (12 pts, 10 ast) combined for two double-doubles in Illinois’ loss to Sacramento State. The two double-doubles in the contest mark the first time the Illini have seen two players record double-doubles since November 30, 2016 in a 76-70 loss to Wake Forest, when both Wittinger and Beasley also combined for a pair of double-doubles. Wittinger finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds in that contest, and Beasley tallied 14 points and 11 boards. 

OVERTIME EXTRAVAGANZA

The Fighting Illini entered into new territory against Eastern Michigan on Dec. 1, playing their second-consecutive overtime contest. Illinois’ pair of games (Clemson, EMU) marks the first time in program history that an Illini squad has played back-to-back overtime games. Including this season, Illinois has played two or more overtime games in nine seasons all-time.

The Illini continued to set new trends in December, taking on Indiana in their third overtime matchup of the season. The contest marks the first time in program history that the Orange and Blue have played three extra frames in one season. 

RACING AHEAD

Illinois earned a 32-point victory over the Murray State Racers on Dec. 11, which marked the largest margin of victory for Illinois this season and the widest since earning a 37-point win over Rutgers on January 7, 2017. Illinois has won three games by 20 or more points this season, and the Orange and Blue have earned four 20+-point victories under head coach Nancy Fahey in the last two seasons. 

NEWCOMERS IN ACTION

All five Illini newcomers made their debut in the Orange and Blue against Alabama A&M, each tallying at least two points. Freshman Arieal Scott led the way with 10 points for the Illini, and freshman J-Naya Ephraim added eight rebounds on the day.  Freshman Mackenzie Blazek was also a standout performer as she recorded seven points and three boards. 

The Illini freshmen have continued to make an impact throughout the season, led by Scott who is averaging 9.9 points per game and leads the squad with her 40 three-pointers made. Ephraim and Blazek are averaging more than three points per game for the Illini this season. 

TRIPLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE

Illini senior Alex Wittinger reached several milestones on January 23, 2018 at Penn State. In addition to recording her 1,000th career point, she carded the second triple-double in Illinois’ history with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 blocked shots. The last Illini player to record a triple-double was Kim Brombolich on Jan. 22, 1982. Wittinger is just second player in the Big Ten Conference to record a triple-double this season and 17th player in the nation. She recorded the fifth points-rebounds-blocks triple-double in the nation this season. Wittinger is the first Illini in program history to earn a triple-double with points, rebounds and blocked shots.

PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN HONORS

Fighting Illini senior forward Alex Wittinger was honored by the Big Ten Conference as she was named to the 2018-19 Preseason All-Big Ten Team as chosen by both the league’s coaches and media. Wittinger led Illinois in several statistical categories last season, including scoring (15.0 ppg.), rebounding (9.0 rpg.), blocked shots (75) and field goal percentage (48.8). She ranked among the top five in the Big Ten for her total rebounding, offensive rebounding and blocked shots numbers.

LISA LESLIE AWARD WATCH LIST

Fighting Illini senior Alex Wittinger was named to the 2019 Lisa Leslie Award Watch List, as announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Named after the three-time All-American and 1994 National Player of the Year, the annual award in its second year recognizes the top centers in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball. Wittinger is one of 20 candidates named to the watch list. By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2019 Lisa Leslie Award will be narrowed to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Ms. Leslie and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The Selection Committee for the Lisa Leslie Award is composed of top women’s college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers. Fans will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite finalist at www.hoophallawards.com. The winner of the 2019 Lisa Leslie Center Award will be revealed on an ESPN platform during the 2019 Women’s Final Four in Tampa, Florida.

CLEAR BAG POLICY

Beginning with the 2018-19 season, fans attending events at State Farm Center will be permitted to carry one clear plastic or vinyl bag that does not exceed 12″x6″x12″, or one clear drawstring bag not to exceed 12″x12″, or one, one-gallon clear plastic or zip-lock bag. A small clutch no larger than 4.5″ x 7″ may also be carried in addition to one clear bag. Diaper bags (with child) and bags approved for medical needs will be permitted after search by security personnel. All other bags, backpacks, totes and coolers are strictly prohibited. To present a safe event for everyone, jackets may be searched upon entry. If prohibited items are found, the item will be confiscated OR the guest may personally return it to their vehicle or otherwise dispose of the item away from the facility. State Farm Center does not check or otherwise safeguard personal belongings. This bag policy is subject to change. Please check the event details for any additional specific event restrictions.

ILLINI ON THE NETWORK 

Three of Illinois’ games will air live on the Big Ten Network, and the remaining conference games will be streamed on BTN Plus.The Illini will make their Big Ten Network debut on December 31 at Northwestern, with a tip time set for 2 p.m. CT. Illinois will have two home games televised live on the network, beginning February 4 against Maryland. Illinois will also host Penn State on BTN at 6:30 p.m. February 24. The 2019 Big Ten Tournament will also be aired on the Big Ten Network, with games beginning at 12:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday, March 6 and continuing through Game 12 on Saturday, March 9. The Big Ten Tournament Championship Game will air on ESPN2 on Sunday, March 10 at 5 p.m. CT. All BTN basketball programming can be streamed via the web, smartphones, tablets and connected devices on BTN2Go and the Fox Sports app.

ILLINI WBB TICKETS

Season and single-game tickets for the 2018-19 Fighting Illini women’s basketball season are available now. Fans can renew, upgrade or purchase new season tickets online, at the Illinois ticket office located inside the West Main entrance of State Farm Center, or by phone at 1-866-ILLINI-1.  General admission women’s basketball season tickets are available for $40 each, while reserved season tickets are available for $75. Single-game general admission, reserved tickets and floor seating are available for as low as $5 per game.

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