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Illinois outlasts Bulldogs, 69-55, in Champaign

Photo by: DSPics.com
Photo by: DSPics.com

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Bryant University women's basketball team put up a strong fight at Illinois but came up short, 69-55, in Champaign on Sunday afternoon.

The Bulldogs would get as close as two in the second quarter thanks to senior Masey Zegarowski (Hamilton, Mass.) and freshman Alana Perkins (Wauwatosa, Wis.) who led the Bulldogs in scoring with double figures. Zegarowski posted a season-high 12 points while Perkins tallied 10 off three-of-nine shooting from beyond the arc.

GAME INFORMATION
Illinois 69, Bryant 55
Records:
Bryant (1-4), Illinois (5-1)
Location:
State Farm Center (Champaign, Ill.)

KEY MOMENT

  • Illinois got off an early 12-0 run to gain the early advantage and force the Bulldogs crawl back for the remainder of the game.
  • Bryant got within two in the second quarter thanks to 7-2 run fueled by a pair of back cuts from Taty LaFrance Boyce (Norwich, Conn.), but the Illini responded with an 11-0 run to end the first half. The run gave Illinois a 13-point cushion heading into halftime as the Bulldogs were unable to break the double-digit deficit.  

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • To start the game, Brooke Bjelko (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) got an easy two with a put-back layup, but the Fighting Illini took off on a 12-0 run for an early 15-2 lead.
  • Nicole Gallagher (Foxboro, Mass.) ended the Illini run when Sydney Holloway (Morgantown, W.Va.) pulled down an offensive rebound and kicked it out to Gallagher who was alone at the top of the key for three.
  • Thanks to a three from Perkins and a two-point jumper from Holloway, the Bulldogs ended the first quarter chasing nine, 21-12.
  • Zegarowski started heating up in the second quarter netting half of her points in the second frame alone and knocking down her first three of the game to put the Bulldogs within 10, 25-15.
  • Just four minutes into the second quarter, Illinois sat back in a zone defense while Bryant whipped the ball from sideline to sideline. Trinity Bravo sat in the short corner and found Gallagher wide open at the top for a three to put the Black and Gold within six.
  • The Bulldogs continued with a 5-0 run when Holloway found LaFrance Boyce take off behind the defense on a back cut for two, 26-22.
  • The next play down, Illinois got two at the stripe, but the LaFrance Boyce and Holloway duo beat the Illini again with the back door play but turned it into a three-points with a foul and the bucket, 28-25.
  • A Zegarowski free throw at the 2:26 mark put the Bulldogs within two, the closest the Bulldogs would get to the Illini, 28-26.
  • After the free throw, Illinois took off on an 11-0 run for a 13-point cushion as the teams headed into the locker room after the first half, 39-26.
  • Eight of the Illini's 18-second-quarter points came from the free-throw line. Illinois was eight-for-10 from the stripe.
  • The Bulldogs were unable to net a basket in the first four minutes of the half until Zegaorwski took it hard to the basket for a layup in traffic. The senior guard then grabbed a steal in the very next possession for an easy two points on the fast break.
  • Perkins kept Bryant's run rolling when Holloway picked up a steal and passed it ahead to the rookie on the wing for a quick three-points in transition. The Bulldogs continued the 8-0 run to get within 13 with 4:26 to go in the third frame.
  • Illinois responded by tallying the next five points before Bravo pulled up just inside the three-point line to make it a 16-point game going into the final quarter.
  • Despite the four-minute scoring drought, Bryant posted its best field goal percentage of the game in the third quarter, shooting 41.7 percent off five-of-11 from the field.
  • In the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, both teams went basket-for-basket, unable to pull away with any runs.
  • With two minutes to go in the game, LaFrance Boyce scored a layup to fuel a 6-0 Bryant run to end the game, 69-55.
  • Holloway netted seven of her nine points in the fourth quarter with five coming from the free-throw line.    

STATS

  • Zegarowski led the Black and Gold with 12 points off five-of-11 shooting. The senior tallied two assists, three rebounds, and a steal to end the game.
  • Perkins trailed with 10 shooting three-for-nine from three and getting one at the stripe. The rookie finished the game with two rebounds and two assists.
  • Holloway led with 13 rebounds and a pair of steals. The Morgantown native finished the game with nine points shooting five-for-eight from the foul line.
  • Gallagher tied with Holloway with three assists. Gallagher finished the game with six points.
  • LaFrance Boyce also tied Holloway with nine points off four-for-eight shooting. The senior pulled down five rebounds and dished out an assist.
  • As a team, Bryant shot 36.4 percent from the field and 35 percent from beyond the arc led by Perkins with three three-pointers.
  • The Bulldogs force Illinois to turn the ball over 18 times. Bryant capitalized 17 points off of the Illini turnovers.
  • Illinois outrebounded the Black and Gold, 38-33.

GAME NOTES

  • Zegarowski's 12 points marked a season-best.
  • Tonight's game marks the second game in a row that the Bulldogs were outrebounded.
  • As a team, the Bulldogs posted a season-high 13 assists.
  • This was the first game of the season that the Bulldogs did not post three double-digit scorers. Zegarowski and Perkins were the only two for Bryant who posted double-figures.
  • Holloway is now just 11 points away from breaking the Division I scoring record at Bryant. Breanna Rucker '16 currently wears the crown with 1,395 points.

UP NEXT: MINNESOTA
The Bulldogs close out their four-game road stretch with Minnesota on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. CST.