LINCOLN, Neb. (UI Release) - Illinois forced Nebraska into a season-high 26 turnovers and held on for a 62-52 win at the Devaney Center, as the Illini won their third-straight Big Ten road game for the first time since 2000-01 and collected the first victory in Lincoln in school history.
Senior guard Adrienne GodBold led all scorers, putting in 19 points in only 25 minutes while added seven rebounds. Senior forward Karisma Penn contributed 12 points and 18 rebounds, including a career-high 10 offensive boards, for her ninth double-double of the season and 37th of her career. Sophomore guard Ivory Crawford added 15 points, six rebounds and four steals for the Illini.
"They're a really good basketball team, so to come in here and win by double-digits, I'm really proud of our team," Illinois head coach Matt Bollant said. "Obviously, we're a different team with Adrienne back. And I thought we did enough defensively to win. I thought our 'buzz' defense changed the game in the first half. Karisma got every rebound down the stretch; when we had to have some rebounds, she went and got them. And our bench - Taylor Tuck and Mckenzie Piper - didn't score a whole lot, but they gave us a lift."
The Illini (10-7 overall, 3-2 in the Big Ten) scored the game's first nine points, taking advantage of two turnovers and three missed shots by the Huskers, but Nebraska (12-6, 2-3) responded by scoring the next 14 points. Illini senior Adrienne GodBold picked up her second foul just 3:06 into the game and headed to the bench, but Illinois bounced back after a momentary lull, scoring four straight points to start a 14-2 run that resulted in a 23-16 Illini lead at the 7:26 mark.
With Illinois ahead 25-18 at the 5:49 mark, GodBold was whistled for her third foul. But the Illini held on for the rest of the half, holding a 27-20 lead at the break. The Orange and Blue forced 16 Husker turnovers in the first stanza, 1.2 more than NU's season average of 14.8.
Nebraska cut the Illini lead to 35-32 on a jumper by Tear'a Laudermill, but Illinois responded with a 9-0 run that included four from Crawford to go up 44-32 with 13:35 remaining in the game. The Illini forced the Huskers' season-high 21st turnover with 10:11 left then scored six straight points after NU had cut the margin to nine, pushing the advantage to 50-35 with 8:45 on the clock.
Illinois led 56-43 when GodBold was whistled for going over the back on an Illini miss, then Nebraska went the other way and drained a trey to get within 10 at the 3:06 mark. But the Huskers could get no closer despite the fact that Illinois didn't make a field goal in the game's final 7:42, as the Orange and Blue salted the game away at the free-throw line, making 6-of-6. Illinois also held Nebraska to 1-of-6 from the field from the 3:20 mark to the 36-mark, before NU made two buckets late.
The Illini return to Assembly Hall on Sunday to face Northwestern at 2 p.m.
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