Game 2 women's basketball preview: No. 23 Illinois at Marquette, 2 p.m. Saturday

Nov. 11—Lineups

No. 23 Illinois (1-0)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Genesis Bryant Sr. 5-6 32.0 Jonesboro, Ga.

G Adalia McKenzie Jr. 5-10 6.0 Brooklyn Park, Minn.

G Jada Peebles Sr. 5-10 3.0 Raleigh, N.C.

F Brynn Shoup-Hill Jr. 6-3 6.0 Goshen, Ind.

F Kendall Bostic Sr. 6-2 15.0 Kokomo, Ind.

FYI: The status of Makira Cook, the Illini's All-Big Ten preseason point guard, is uncertain ahead of Saturday's nonconference matchup at Marquette. Cook has been out with an undisclosed injury since leaving in the second quarter of Illinois' exhibition game with Truman State on Oct. 30. Cook wasn't even on the bench for the Illini's 81-61 season-opening victory against Morehead State on Tuesday night.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Gretchen Dolan Fr. 5-11 6.0 Buffalo, N.Y.

G Kam'ren Rhodes So. 5-6 7.0 Chandler, Ariz.

C Camille Hobby Sr. 6-3 6.0 Jacksonville, Fla.

Marquette (1-0)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Rose Nkumu Sr. 5-9 12.0 Iowa City, Iowa

G Jordan King Sr. 5-11 14.0 Rockton

G Mackenzie Hare So. 5-9 17.0 Naperville

G/F Frannie Hottinger Sr. 6-1 3.0 Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

F Liza Karlen Sr. 6-2 10.0 St. Paul, Minn.

FYI: Now in her fifth season at Marquette in taking advantage of the bonus COVID year, King — who played prep basketball at Hononegah — has started all 125 games of her college career. She's done it all for coach Megan Duffy, who replaced Carolyn Kieger as the Golden Eagles' coach in the spring before King's freshman year. King has averaged 11.3 points, 3.9 assists and 4.1 rebounds with Marquette.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Lee Volker Jr. 6-1 13.0 Purcellville, Va.

F Skylar Forbes Fr. 6-3 14.0 Markham, Ontario

F Abbey Cracknell Jr. 5-11 1.0 Avoca Beach, Australia


Site: Al McGuire Center (3,700); Milwaukee.

Streaming: FloHoops (Subscription).

Series: Marquette leads 5-2.

Last meeting: Marquette won 73-56 on Dec. 21, 2010, in Milwaukee.

FYI: The Golden Eagles have an all-time record of 35-54 against Big Ten opponents. This will be the second straight year Shauna Green takes her Illinois team into a Big East venue after the Illini defeated Butler, 65-63, last December at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Beat writer Joe Vozzelli's storylines

Expanding her game

Kendall Bostic had her teammates up off the bench and clapping loudly after the 6-foot-2 senior forward poured in a catch-and-shoot three-pointer after Genesis Bryant kicked it out to her. The three-pointer put Illinois back ahead by 20 with two minutes, 51 seconds left in its season-opening victory against Morehead State. That wasn't as significant as the fact it ended an 0-for-25 drought from Bostic from beyond the three-point arc.

Developing a three-point shot is all part of the offseason evolution for Bostic, who also had to recover from a late-season injury last spring that slowed her in Illinois' NCAA tournament loss to Mississippi State.

"It was a lot of rehab initially just trying to get my calf back where it needs to be, a lot of (working) on lower-body strength," Bostic said. "I've been working a lot on just kind of being able to play in space a little bit. I usually am back to the basket, so just getting more comfortable with that face-up shot or playing from the high post, and obviously, the three, so just getting more comfortable with the ball in my hands, get the rebound, take a few dribbles and outlet it to guards. So I would say that's been the biggest thing for me is just being more comfortable handling it."

'Want us to shoot a lot of threes still'

The way Illinois scored its points in the season-opening win was largely in stark contrast to the team's exhibition game eight days earlier. After making 14 three-pointers in an exhibition against Truman State, the Illini did most of their damage inside the arc in a 20-point win against Morehead State. Of Illinois' 30 field goals, 24 were two-point shots, as the Illini only attempted 14 three-pointers.

Playing without Cook was a reason.

"It's different without Makira out there," Green said of what turned out to be a less-perimeter oriented offense in the season opener. "I was really adamant at the start of the game, I wanted to be really in attack mode, get a ton of paint touches, get downhill, because that's going to really open up our threes. As we continue, that's always going to be, 'Let's get downhill, let's get in the paint,' but I also want us to shoot a lot of threes still."

Early November test

The fact Illinois is hitting the road this early is part of a November schedule that will see Green's team play only two of its first four games at State Farm Center.

The Illini will be away from C-U on back-to-back Saturdays, with today's game at Marquee first up before a neutral-site game with Notre Dame in a potential top-25 matchup on Nov. 18 in Washington, D.C.

"Whatever happens Saturday (at Marquette), I really do believe it's going to be a great experience for us down the road," Green said, "because it's going to be a great environment against a really good team, and last year, we didn't do that. We had a bunch of easy games at home, so we're tested early and we're going to see what we're made out of."

The News-Gazette's Pick

No. 23 Illinois 72, Marquette 68

The Illini can ill afford the kind of "ebbs and flows" they had in the season opener. But Illinois was really good last season at making adjustments game to game. That ability should serve them well — even if Makira Cook isn't available Saturday — in notching a quality nonconference win (N-G prediction record: 1-0).