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WEATHER ALERT: Hurricane Beryl’s to bring heavy rainfall and potential flooding to Illinois

Illinois women blow out Penn State 85-62 for win number 20

Illinois forward Kendall Bostic lays in two of her 22 points in an 85-62 win over Penn State on Sunday in Champaign.

CHAMPAIGN — On the day the Fighting Illini athletic department raised a banner honoring Theresa Grentz to the rafters of State Farm Center, the Illinois women’s basketball team accomplished something it had only done once since Grentz was its head coach: win 20 games in a season. 

The Illini ran away from Penn State on Sunday 85-62 behind strong performances from Kendall Bostic, Genesis Bryant and Makira Cook. Bostic scored 22 points and grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds, Bryant returned after missing a game with an ankle injury to score 21 points, and Cook added 18 points and six assists. 

Grentz coached Illinois for 12 seasons and won a school record 210 games. She led the Illini to five NCAA Tournament appearances, and took the team to the Sweet 16 twice in the late 1990s. 

Current head coach Shauna Green said it was wonderful to have Grentz back on campus. 

“I’d never met her in-person until Friday. I spent some time with her, just me and her, on Friday. I could sit there and listen to her stories for hours, so it was great,” Green said. “Yesterday, she came and was at practice. She talked to the team beforehand, which was really cool to not only see her talk but to see the kids embrace a lot of things that she was saying.”

Bostic said it was great to get to 20 wins this season, especially considering the team won just seven games all of last season. And doing it in front of the largest crowd of the season (6.299) was even better. 

“It’s huge. To think where we’ve come from and where we built this program from, I think it’s really special,” Bostic said. “Having that many people there today, too, it kind of shows they believe in us now. They’re invested in us; we’re invested in them.”

Illinois led 27-19 after the first quarter, capped off by a Cook three-pointer at the buzzer. They expanded the lead to 20 points in the second quarter before taking a 48-31 advantage into halftime.  The Illini salted the game away in the third quarter, using a 21-2 run to take a 73-40 lead at the end of the period. 

Leilani Kapinus led the Nittany Lions with 19 points. 

The Illini (20-7, 10-6 Big Ten) have one home game remaining, against Nebraska on Wednesday at 7pm for Senior Night. 

PENN ST. (13-14)

Pinto 1-4 0-0 2, Williamson 2-5 0-0 4, Ciezki 2-7 0-0 6, Kapinus 6-13 7-8 19, Marisa 4-17 8-10 18, Camden 0-2 0-0 0, Cash 4-5 1-3 9, Dia 0-0 0-0 0, Brigham 1-2 0-0 2, Thompson 0-2 0-0 0, Thomas 1-2 0-0 2, Totals 21-59 16-21 62

ILLINOIS (20-7)

Bostic 11-18 0-0 22, Shoup-Hill 0-2 2-2 2, Cook 6-15 3-4 18, McKenzie 4-7 0-1 8, Oden 2-6 0-0 5, Dewey 1-1 0-0 2, Lopes 1-3 0-0 2, Bryant 8-16 0-0 21, Peebles 0-5 2-2 2, Rhodes 1-2 0-0 3, Ndour 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 34-75 7-9 85

Penn St. 19 12 9 22 62
Illinois 27 21 25 12 85

3-Point Goals: Penn St. 4-14 (Ciezki 2-6, Marisa 2-6, Camden 0-2), Illinois 10-22 (Shoup-Hill 0-1, Cook 3-5, Oden 1-3, Bryant 5-8, Peebles 0-4, Rhodes 1-1). Assists: Penn St. 10 (Kapinus 3, Thompson 3), Illinois 18 (Cook 6). Fouled Out: None. Rebounds: Penn St. 31 (Kapinus 8), Illinois 48 (Bostic 18). Total Fouls: Penn St. 15, Illinois 20. Technical Fouls: None. A: 6,299.

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Brian Moline

Brian Moline is the Managing Editor of Illinois Newsroom and host of Morning Edition for Illinois Public Media/WILL. He's been with WILL since 2015, after a long stint at WDWS-AM in Champaign where he covered both news and sports for more than a decade. If you have story or interview ideas, you can reach Brian at bmoline@illinois.edu.

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