Home win streak snapped as Buckeyes fall to Illinois
Jan. 6, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State had its 31-game home win streak snapped Sunday at the hands of Illinois with a 79-73 loss to the Fighting Illini in front of a season-high 4,516 fans at Value City Arena.
The game was a wild, back and forth affair that saw nine lead changes and seven ties.
But the Buckeyes had trouble all afternoon with Illinois senior Karisma Penn, who scored a game-high 34 points and had 12 rebounds. She hit 9 of 13 from the field and 16 of 17 from the free throw line.
The Buckeyes had their chances in the final minutes to pull out the win, but could not keep Penn in check as she recorded 10 points and four rebounds in the final 3 minutes to hold off the Buckeye charge.
Hill hit her fifth 3-pointer with 1:04 remaining to pull the Buckeyes within three, 73-70. But out of a timeout, Penn grabbed her sixth offensive rebound and scored on a putback to push the lead back to five with 31 seconds left. A 3-pointer by Maleeka Kynard gave the Buckeyes life with 14 seconds left to cut it to 77-73, but that was as close as the Buckeyes would get the rest of the way.
Illinois made a living at the free throw line Sunday, hitting 30 of 34 from the line and had 16 second-chance points.
In the first half, Ohio State trailed 20-12 in the early going, but answered with a 16-0 run to take a 28-20 lead with 3:59 left. The Buckeyes held Illinois without a field goal for nearly 7 minutes in the first half and led 35-31 at halftime.
The loss was the first in a Big Ten home opener under head coach Jim Foster. The Buckeyes also suffered another setback when senior guard Amber Stokes went down with a left knee injury late in the first half, the extent of which will be known Monday.
The BTN "Student U" production of the game will re-air at 3:30 tomorrow on BTN.
The Buckeyes hit the road Thursday at Minnesota. Game time is set for 8 p.m. ET.
Jim Foster, Ohio State Head Coach
On Amber Stokes injury
"It's the very least a sprained knee. I'll know more tomorrow. She's a great defensive player, but it will be Cait [Craft's] job to step up. Overall Cait played solid defense and she's going to get more playing time."
On Darryce Moore's technical foul
"She reacted in a very inappropriate way. She knew it and the whole team knew it, but she'll learn from this and we'll move on."
"Raven [Ferguson] and Ashley [Adams] had the rebounds for us, but Illinois ripped [rebounds] from them and we didn't."
Tayler Hill, Ohio State senior guard
On the loss to Illinois
"We're not showing determination. We're not showing heart as a team. They wanted it more than us and it shouldn't be like that. I think they just wanted it more."
On where Ohio State must improve
"We made simple mistakes, like not boxing out at the free-throw line. But that's all determination. We have to cut down on our turnovers. We have to soul-search. Some people on our team have to look in the mirror and ask if this is really what they want to do."
On making changes and moving forward
"It's determination. We have to want to play. We have to want to make changes that are necessary. Amber [Stokes] is out and now it's time for people to step up, starting with myself. I have to find a way to make us more excited and get us more energy."
Raven Ferguson, Ohio State sophomore guard
On losing Amber Stokes to a knee injury
"I think it hurt us badly, but we've been practicing and we know this happens. I should have stepped up and done a better job in taking her place. She's a big part of our team."
On how Ohio State must improve
"We have to compete in practice and want to get better. Especially with Amber [Stokes] out, now it's harder for us. We have to go harder and make each other better. I know Tayler [Hill] feels like it's going to be harder for her, but I feel like we have to step up and take the pressure off her."
On Tayler Hill
"She's our best player, so we expect her to take over the game. Big players make big plays. She makes big plays, but she needed someone to step up and help her."
Matt Bollant, Illinois head coach
On the Illini victory
"This is a really big win for our program. We've been talking about change and believing in ourselves. They stepped up and made the plays when they had to. We had to be warriors down the stretch and make tough plays and we did."
On Karisma Penn's free throw performance
"[Penn's] been working at [shooting free throws]. You can see the confidence in her eye and she wanted to be there."
On the Illini advantage
"I thought our spacing was really good, which allowed [Penn] to get some rebounds. We made some good decision's attacking the rim as well. As a team, 30-for-34 from the line on the road is a pretty amazing stat."
Karisma Penn, Illinois senior forward
On adjusting at halftime
"We're more resilient [than in previous years]. Going into halftime we were down four points and knew we had to play better. That's what we did."
On rebounding the ball
"It's all about my mentality. When I see a ball, I just think no one else is going to get it but me."
On Amber Stokes' injury affecting the game
"I wish Amber well. Whenever a starter goes down, it changes the dynamic of a team. Her and Hill in the backcourt dictate the tempo of that team. It is really unfortunate for their team."