Starkville, Miss. - The Fighting Illini bounced back from a tough loss to Iowa on Friday, with an important road win at Mississippi State on Sunday. The Illini trailed by six at the half and lost leading scorer Tiffanie Guthrie for the majority of the second half due to foul trouble before outscoring Mississippi State 47-38 in the second frame and go onto a 75-72 victory. The win in Starkville was the first Illini victory over the Lady Bulldogs (5-7) in their three game history. More importantly this gives Illinois (6-6) their first road victory of the season, a much needed boast as they head into Big Ten play.
Cindy Dallas had a monster day for the Illini as she notched her second double-double of the season and 25th of her career with 11 points and 18 rebounds. Dallas' 18 rebounds was a career-high for one of the all-time best rebounders in Illini History. Five Illini were in double-figures overall with Angelina Williams leading the way with 17 points. Others in double-figures were Aminata Yanni who scored 16 points along with Tiffanie Guthrie who added 11 points. Freshman Erin Wigley had her best game yet as an Illini racking up a career-high 16 points to go along with six rebounds. Wigley was huge for the Illini down the stretch as she scored five big points in the remaining two minutes, including a three-point play that gave the Illini the lead for good.
Both teams looked as if they really needed to prove something today, which obviously was the case as the teams traded leads eight times and were tied five times throughout the game. The first half saw Mississippi State take some control over the Illini but wouldn't be the case in the second. Illinois stormed out of the gates in the second half, quickly making it a tight game throughout most of the half. Illinois used 59 percent shooting (19-32) the second half to overcome the Lady Bulldogs charge. Mississippi State shot 41 percent for the game while Illinois shot 45 percent and 55 percent beyond the arc (6-11).
Other areas where Illinois held an advantage was in the paint. Illinois outscored the Lady Bulldogs 36-26 in the lane where some of those came from second chance points where again Illinois held a 16-8 edge. Illinois outrebounded Mississippi State 41-38.
Mississippi State had four players in double-figures with Tiania Burns leading the way for the Lady Bulldogs with 25 points on 11 of 20 shooting. All-American candidate Tan White had 17 points and four steals. Seneca Anderson and Rebecca Kates had 14 and 11 points respectively.
Illinois returns to Assembly Hall for Big Ten season play this Thursday night as they host the No. 18 Ohio State Buckeyes at 7 p.m. On Sunday, the Illini will welcome the No. 7 Purdue Boilermakers to Champaign as they will tip things off at 2 p.m.
Team Rebounds: 0
Turnovers: 17 (C. Dallas 4, T. Guthrie 3, A. Williams 3, M. Acuna 2, A. Yanni, E. Wigley, J. Hughes, A. Tabon, J. Issenmann)
Blocked Shots: 2 (A. Yanni, E. Wigley)
Steals: 5 (T. Guthrie 2, M. Acuna 2, A. Yanni)
3-Point Field Goals: 6-11 (A. Yanni 3-4, T. Guthrie 2-3. J. Issenmann 1-2, A. Williams 0-2)