Women's basketball Game 21 preview: Illinois at Purdue, 7 p.m. Monday

Feb. 4—Lineups

Illinois (10-10, 4-6 Big Ten)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Makira Cook Sr. 5-6 14.8 Cincinnati

G Genesis Bryant Sr. 5-6 14.7 Jonesboro, Ga.

G Adalia McKenzie Jr. 5-10 9.8 Brooklyn Park, Minn.

F Kendall Bostic Sr. 6-2 12.0 Kokomo, Ind.

C Camille Hobby Sr. 6-3 9.3 Jacksonville, Fla.

FYI: Cook has surpassed Bryant to become the Illini's leading scorer for the first time this season after the Illinois senior point guard put up back-to-back games of 20-plus points. In the last six games, Cook is shooting 47.6 percent from the floor and averaging 16.8 points and 5.3 assists with the Illini also posting four wins during that stretch.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

F Brynn Shoup-Hill Jr. 6-3 3.8 Goshen, Ind.

G Gretchen Dolan Fr. 5-11 3.9 Buffalo, N.Y.

F Shay Bollin So. 6-3 1.8 Raynham, Mass.

Purdue (9-12, 2-8 Big Ten)StartersP Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Jeanae Terry Sr. 5-11 5.5 Detroit

G Abbey Ellis Sr. 5-6 13.9 Melbourne, Australia

G Madison Layden Sr. 6-1 10.1 Kokomo, Ind.

F Mary Ashley Stevenson Fr. 6-2 9.0 New York

F Caitlyn Harper Sr. 6-3 10.7 Hartland, Wis.

FYI: Ellis is 16 points away from reaching 1,000 career points at Purdue, with the Australian now in her third season in West Lafayette, Ind. Ellis is now in her fifth college season after two years at Cal Poly, where she finished with a total of 803 points before transferring to the Boilermakers to join Katie Gearlds' first Purdue roster ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Rashunda Jones Fr. 5-8 9.4 South Bend, Ind.

G Jayla Smith Jr. 6-0 3.8 Indianapolis

G McKenna Layden Fr. 6-2 1.3 Kokomo, Ind.


Site: Mackey Arena (14,876); West Lafayette, Ind.

TV: Matt Schumacher (play-by-play) and Meghan McKeown (color analysis) will have the call on BTN.

Radio: Mike Koon will have the call on WDWS 1400-AM and 93.9-FM.

Series: Purdue leads 65-19.

Last meeting: Purdue won 62-52 at Illinois on Jan. 26, 2023, in Champaign.

FYI: Illinois has only one win in its last 14 matchups against Purdue, with the lone victory coming on Feb. 7, 2021. Jeanae Terry — who is now a fifth-year senior with the Boilermakers — led the Illini with 15 points in a 54-49 win against Purdue at State Farm Center. Kennedi Myles also supplied 14 points in the five-point victory.

Beat writer Joe Vozzelli's storylines

Bostic, Hobby developing into strong tandem

The chemistry between Kendall Bostic and Camille Hobby has been evident in the last month since Illinois coach Shauna Green made the move to put Hobby in the starting lineup exclusively. But that's also meant a change to Bostic's duties. Especially on the defensive end with Bostic going up against power forwards and sometimes guards. Still, the 6-foot-2 forward thinks it's better suited her game. "It's been a challenge," Bostic said. "It's been fun. ... I'm chasing shooters off of screens to where if I'm the 5, I'm in (the post) banging with somebody. It's been a lot more movement, more technical stuff for me, knowing if they're a driver, if they're a shooter, just kind of being aware of that, but it's definitely kind of been something I had to get used to." The personnel shift has worked to the Illini's benefit with Illinois 5-3 in the eight games Hobby has started at center. But even that took time for Hobby, a North Carolina State transfer, to fully acclimate to Green's expectations. "Early on, for me, it was more defensive stuff with her," Green said. "Now, she's defending at a high, high level. ... How she's moving right now is even a lot better than two months ago, but credit her. She's worked to put the time in. She's in here (at Ubben) nonstop. Now, she's playing so, so well."

'Big week' on the horizon for Green's Illini

The double-digit win at Michigan on Wednesday night was significant in that it moved Illinois back into the top 50 of the NET rankings. It also saw the Illini return to the .500 mark. With eight games left in the regular season, Illinois has some big opportunities coming up with six games coming against opponents in the top 50 of the NET. That kind of big-picture talk — a staple of Green's first season with the Illini in the mix of an NCAA tournament bid throughout Big Ten play — isn't something at the forefront of their second-year coach's mind at the moment. "It's really just been about day-by-day even more so than last year when we were in a different position," Green said. "But right now, it's about staying locked in ... because literally every game matters for us. It always does, but you can't get ahead of yourself. We have a big week coming up this week, so our focus is just on that."

Layden, Boilermakers different team in Mackey

The last two games Illinois has played against Minnesota and Michigan, Green said, sets the Illini up for what they'll face on Monday night in their only matchup this season with Purdue. It all starts with holding the Boilermakers in check on the break and in transition, with Purdue aiming to score in eight seconds or less. But the Boilermakers also challenge teams on the perimeter with senior guard Madison Layden the Big Ten's top three-point shooter at 46.3 percent. "I think the progression of playing Minnesota, Michigan and now Purdue, a lot of similarities, which will hopefully help us in our defensive game plan," Green said. "They just play so well at home. ... It's a night and day difference of how they play in Mackey versus on the road, so we know this is going to be a really tough test."

The News-Gazette's Pick

Illinois 75, Purdue 65

This is a can't-lose game for the Illini. Yes, the Boilermakers are 8-3 at Mackey Arena this season. But Purdue is on a seven-game losing streak and the Boilermakers are also 79th in NET for a reason. Any chances at Illinois securing an at-large NCAA tournament bid come March — a longshot at this point — start with winning Monday night at Purdue and at home against struggling Northwestern on Thursday night. (N-G prediction record: 13-7).