Second Half Explosion Keys Illini Win

<b>Champaign, IL --</b> The Illini enjoyed an exciting afternoon of basketball as they were winners against the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday, 94-78. Illinois ended their six-game losing streak in the Big Ten by pasting the Wolverines 56-35 in the second half after trailing 43-38 at the half.

Illinois' 94 points were the most by the Orange and Blue since Jan. 26, 2003, last season vs. Minnesota (94-80). Nearly a third of the 94 points were produced by junior Angelina Williams. Williams 31 points were a career-high and gave her 1,002 points for her career, surpassing the 1,000 point milestone.

The Illini who improved to 8-12 on the season and 2-7 in the conference were hitting on all cylinders in the second half. Illinois played at an electrifying pace throughout the second half burning the Wolverines repeatedly for uncontested lay-ups. Part of the difference in the second half was a key adjustment by the Illini staff who switched to a zone on the defensive end. Michigan wasn't able to attack inside like they had in the first half and was held to 36 percent shooting in the second frame compared to 51 percent they shot in the first half.

Williams and senior Cindy Dallas put on a magnificent show Sunday for the 2,962 fans as they both recorded career-highs in points and closed in on career milestones. Williams was 13-24 from the field for the game and scored 21 of her 31 in the second half. The junior also added four assists and four steals.

Dallas was looking to Illinois all-time rebounding record in front of the home crowd, needing 15 rebounds set the mark. Dallas ended the game with a sparkling 26 points which was a career-high. She had seven rebounds bringing her to within seven of the record 933 held by Jonelle Polk.

Freshman Erin Wigley came alive Sunday as she scored 15 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Tiffanie Guthrie was solid as always contributing 17 points, nine rebounds, and six assists.

Illinois shot 56 percent for the game, including 73 percent in the second half on 22-30 from the field. Excellent free throw shooting also helped the big scoring effort as the Illini hit 21 of 23 from the stripe.

The Wolverines were led by center Jennifer Smith who dominated the post in the first half going for 21 points in the half and finished with 31 points for the game. Three Wolverines joined Smith in double figures. Tabitha Pool went for 15 points, while Stephanie Gandy and Niki Reams both scored 12.

Illinois hits the road this week as they travel to Evanston, Ill. on Thursday to take on the Northwestern Wildcats at 7 p.m. On Sunday, the Indiana Hoosiers will be waiting in Bloomington, Ind. for the Illini at 1 p.m. CST.

Story courtesy the University of Illinois

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