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Illinois Women’s Basketball is a Wildcard in the Upcoming Big Ten Tournament



Illinois Basketball
Feb 25, 2024; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Makira Cook (3) goes to the basket as Iowa Hawkeyes guard Kate Martin (20) and guard Caitlin Clark (left) defend during the second quarter at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Women’s Basketball is playing better basketball in the second half of the season.

To say that the season has not gone as planned is an understatement. The Illini dealt with poor shooting and injuries at the beginning of the season. All those shots that fell last season were not falling early this year. However, Shauna Green’s squad didn’t lose their heads and are playing better basketball during the last few weeks of the season. They have a 20-point upset win against #14 Indiana and a solid win against Michigan. They did lose to Iowa in their last outing, but Carver-Hawkeye Arena has proven to be the best home court in the Big Ten this year.

While Illinois Women’s Basketball might not be good enough to win the Big Ten Tournament and might have to get to the NCAA Tournament, they are certainly good enough to spoil a championship run for another team.

Makira Cook finally looks healthy. She’s averaging 16.6 points in her last five games, including a 22-point performance against Indiana. Kendall Bostic is doing her Kendall Bostic thing, churning out double-doubles every night in the low post. Perhaps no player on the team is playing better basketball than Adalia McKenzie. The Minnesota native averages 15 points in February and shoots well over 50 percent from the field. Her improved play has been a catalyst for Illinois’ improved play.

How far can the Illini go?

Illinois is limited, but they can still be a spoiler. They struggle against taller, longer backcourts. The Iowa and Missouri games proved that. Also, they rely on outside shooting, so when they go cold, they go cold. When the Illini create turnovers, spread the floor, and run, they are tough to beat. Teams at the top of the standings better be careful; Illinois could pull an upset in the tournament. Ask Indiana.

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Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.