Feb. 20, 2003
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s basketball team (17-8; 8-6 Big Ten) lost to Illinois (15-9; 7-6 Big Ten), 58-54, tonight in Assembly Hall (Urbana-Champaign, Ill.). Despite having a chance to tie the game in the final 21 seconds, Ohio State could not connect and Illinois’ Aminata Yanni went 1-for-2 from the free-throw line to capture the victory. The Buckeyes were paced by senior Courtney Coleman, who recorded her 14th career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, classmate D’wan Shackleford, who scored 11 points, seven rebounds and earned three steals and no turnovers, and sophomore Caity Matter, who netted 10 points.
Illinois’ Angelina Williams opened the second half by hitting a bucket and sending her squad up 32-21, which marked the largest lead of the night. However, Ohio State answered with an 11-0 run to knot the game at 32 with 16:57 to go. Senior DiDi Reynolds began the scoring stretch with two free throws, freshman Kim Wilburn converted on a fast-break layup, Matter nailed a trey, and Coleman finished with a bucket and two shots from the charity stripe to cap the run. Illinois answered with an 8-0 scoring spurt and expanded their total run to 16-6 and once again took a double-digit lead (48-38) with 7:23 left.
A Matter bucket and trey sandwiched a Shackleford score to bring the game to within five points, but Illinois’ Williams, who led her team with 15 points, hit a shot to one again to take a seven-point advantage under the five-minute mark. Matter sank two free throws before Janel Hughes connected on a 2-pointer to earn yet another seven point lead (54-47) for UI. Wilburn made two consecutive field goals to pull it to within three points at the 2:17 mark, but Illinois’ Yanni, who was averaging 13.0 points entering tonight’s contest, hit her first shot of the night to stretch the game to five points (56-51) with 2:01 to go. Reynolds drained a shot from beyond the arc to bring the Buckeyes to within two points (56-54) at the 1:19 mark. After an Ohio State turnover, Hughes missed a shot from the charity stripe and sank the second one to give Illinois a 57-54 lead with time running out. Reynolds and Matter each got looks at the bucket, but nothing fell for the Buckeyes as they dropped their third straight on the road.
Coleman and Shackleford each netted eight points in the first half to lead the Buckeyes, but Illinois’ Tiffanie Guthrie scored nine and Jere Issenmann and Hughes added six points apiece to send the Fighting Illini into the locker room with a 30-21 lead. Unfortunately, after an aggressive start, sophomore Ashley Allen went down early in the first half with an injury.
Wilburn accumulated nine points, two assists and two steals and Reynolds earned eight points, four assists and four boards. After going 0-for-5 from the 3-point line in the first half, the Buckeyes shot .500 (4-8) in the final stanza. Additionally, Illinois did not hit a shot from downtown the second half from beyond the arc. Ohio State turned the ball over 20 times, while the Fighting Illini notched 17 turnovers.
Ohio State plays their final game in Value City Arena against No. 10/11 Purdue at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, before playing host to Michigan at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, in St. John Arena. The Buckeye-Wolverine game is the final regular-season contest for Ohio State and will commemorate both the 1993 Final Four team’s 10-year reunion and senior day for Coleman, Reynolds and Shackleford.