Big Ten Network
Mar. 01 (Wed)
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Illinois set the tone early and dominated from start to finish en route to a 75-53 road win over Rutgers in the team's final game of the regular season.
The Illini finished the regular season with an overall record of 21-8 and an 11-7 mark in Big Ten play. The team's one-year 10-win improvement in conference play ties the all-time Big Ten record, while Illinois' one-year 14-win overall turnaround ties the program record and is the third-best improvement in Big Ten history. The victory was the Illini's eighth true road win of the season, their most since the 1999-2000 campaign.
Illinois shot 56.4 percent from the field, the team's best mark in conference play and second-highest clip overall this season. The Illini held the Scarlet Knights to just one 3-pointer while forcing 18 turnovers.
Jada Peebles matched her season-best scoring performance, registering a team-high 20 points on an efficient 77.8% clip. Peebles accounted for four of the Illini's five 3-pointers, her second-most in conference play this year, and she grabbed four rebounds and two steals.
Adalia McKenzie made an impact in all facets of the game, recording 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds. McKenzie continued to make her presence felt on the glass, tallying two offensive rebounds, her eighth straight game with at least two offensive boards. She also dished out five assists.
Genesis Bryant scored all 15 of her points in the second half, and she also finished with five assists, four rebounds, and one steal.
Kendall Bostic notched 12 points, five rebounds and two steals, and she was credited for all three of the Illini's blocks.
Makira Cook ended the afternoon with eight points, three assists, and a team-high three steals.
The Illini offense got hot from deep early, with Peebles knocking down her first two 3-point attempts for the team's first six points of the afternoon. Later in the frame, Illinois used an 11-0 run, which included four points apiece from Cook and McKenzie and a triple from Peebles, to push its advantage to double digits.
Closing the first quarter with baskets from Cook and Peebles, the Illini led, 21-8, after 10 minutes of play, marking the 17th time this season that Illinois held an opponent to single digits in a quarter.
Picking up where they left off, the Illini used a 5-2 run to open the second quarter to extend their lead to 16. After Rutgers cut its deficit to 12, Illinois put together another big run, benefiting from two Bostic jumpers to fuel a 7-0 run and extend the visitors' advantage to a first half-high 19 points.
Illinois led by 16 at the break, with Peebles and McKenzie each pouring in double-digit points in the first half. Ahead 37-21 at halftime, the Illini shot 48% and forced 12 turnovers through 20 minutes of action.
Peebles hit her fourth 3-pointer of the afternoon to open the second half before Bostic and Bryant took over the rest of the frame. Bryant made her first triple of the game shortly after, and Bryant and Bostic combined to score 17 of the team's 20 points in the frame to extend the Illini lead to 21 points with 10 minutes left in the regular season.
After Bryant scored Illinois' first six points of the fourth quarter, the Illini got baskets from Peebles, McKenzie, Aicha Ndour, and Kam'Ren Rhodes to close the frame and generate some positive momentum heading into the conference tournament and clinch the 22-point victory.
The Illini have earned a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament and will open their tournament run on Thursday in Minneapolis.
Kendall Bostic turned in 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals.
Finished with 3 blocks in the game and is up to 46 on the season.
Genesis Bryant did all her scoring in the second half and finished with 15 points.
Bryant adds 4 rebounds and 5 assists.
Adalia McKenzie finishes with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists.
Had a stat line of 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists at the half.
Jada Peebles turned in her second 20-point game of the season and third of her career, finishing with 20 points.
Hit 3-for-3 from deep by the first quarter media timeout and turned in 13 first-half points.
Rutgers won the tip but Illinois would get on the board first as Jada Peebles hit a 3-pointer 1:27 into the action.
Illinois used a 9-0 run over 1:22 ahead of the first quarter media timeout (4:30) to push out to a 15-6 lead.
UI ended the first quarter on a 15-2 run.
Illinois held Rutgers to 8 points in the opening quarter, marking the 17th time this season an opponent was held to single digits in a quarter.
With the victory, Illinois has now won eight true road games this season (8-4) - the most since the 1999-00 campaign.
Four (or more) Illini scored in double digits for the 13th time of the season.
Every Illini records a rebound as the team out-rebounded Rutgers, 33-32.
Illinois shot a season-best 56.0 percent from the field, connecting on 31-of-55 shots.
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