Notebook: Tech Preps for Fighting Illini

The Lady Raiders head up to Chicago to take on the Fighting Illini, and here are some needed notes before they tip-off.

* Lady Raiders (8-0) take on the Fighting Illini (4-5) at 1 p.m. central time on Saturday in Chicago


* The game will be played at the United Center, the home of the Chicago Bulls, and will be televised on the Big 10 Network


* This marks the first meeting between the two programs, but not the first time for Tech head coach Kristy Curry


* Curry in her tenure as head coach at Purdue went 10-1 against Illinois, and in Lady Raider basketball history the program is 10-5 against the Big 10 all-time


* Tech enters the game No. 15 in the Associated Press Poll, marking their highest ranking in that particular poll since 2005, and No. 20 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll – Illinois is not currently ranked in either


* In the Big 12 Conference, Texas Tech is one of three teams still undefeated joining No. 1 Baylor and Oklahoma State; in the nation the Lady Raiders are one of 15 teams remaining unbeaten


Fighting Illini Player to Watch - #00 Karisma Penn


Penn is arguably one of the best players currently in the Big 10 Conference, and leaving her mark on the Fighting Illini record books as well.  The junior joined the 1,000-point career club against Green Bay, and now has 1,062 career points putting her 21st all-time.  Penn is also 17th all-time in career rebounding with 578 and is 3rd all-time in blocked shots with 157.

So far this season Penn has been leading the team in scoring averaging 14.8 points per game, and also leads the team in rebounding averaging 7. 9 per game. Penn also leads the team in blocks (22), and field goal percentage (.556).

Penn will be the player the Lady Raiders will have to worry about stopping on Saturday, and not be taken down by an Illinois squad coming off two straight wins.


Lady Raiders Player to Watch - #20 Kierra Mallard


She is one of two seniors, but is stepping up in her final season wearing the scarlet and black. Kierra Mallard leads the Lady Raiders right now averaging 14.9 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game. The Dallas native also leads the squad with 18 blocked shots this season.

Out of Tech's eight games so far, Mallard has led the team in scoring in three of them, rebounding in five and blocked shots in six of them.

Mallard has been a force to be dealt with in the post position so far, and the Fighting Illini will have to keep her from getting in the paint or she will score.

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