TUCSON, AZ. (12/7/02) - The North Texas women’s basketball team fell to the Illinois Fighting Illini’ 92-68 in the opening round of the Fiesta Bowl Women’s Basketball Classic at the McKale Center in Tucson. The Lady Eagles (3-2) have now lost two straight games and will face UC-Riverside in the consolation game tomorrow.
“Give them credit because they really made the plays when they had to and that is what good programs do,” said North Texas head coach Tina Slinker. “We were never able to establish our offense and I think that is just a case of us being young. We are still trying to find our go to guy on offense”.
The game opened at a frenetic pace with nine lead changes in the first four-minutes as the Fighting Illini’ led 17-15 with 15:35 in the first half. Illinois closed the first half with a 14-7 run to see their lead grow to 49-37 at the half.
Illinois led 57-39 with 14:22 in the second half when the Lady Eagles went on an 11-3 sparked by Kim Blanton and Heather Trout to cut the Fighting Illini’ lead to 60-50 with 11:44 left. Blanton had back-to-back three-point plays and Trout knocked down her third three-point basket of the game during the run.
The Lady Eagles were never able to get the Illinois led under double figures in the second half. The Fighting Illini’ put the game away for good with a 16-2 run with three minutes left in the game.
Junior forward Emily Britt scored a career-high 13 points and pulled down a five rebounds. Blanton had double figures for the fifth-consecutive game as she poured in 11 points and Trout had a season-high 12 points.