Beat author Joe Vozzelli Jr. previews Thursday night time’s Illini-Spartans recreation in East Lansing, Mich.:
Take two, kind of
Illinois was alleged to play Michigan State twice this season. However a COVID-19 pause inside the Spartans’ program led to the Illini’s Jan. 14 residence recreation in opposition to Michigan State getting postponed to a still-to-be-determined date.
Now, three weeks later, Illinois (2-10, 0-9 Large Ten) will face the Spartans (9-4, 4-4) at 7 p.m. Thursday on the Breslin Heart in East Lansing, Mich.
After a two-week pause, Michigan State returned to motion Jan. 24 — an 94-62 win at Wisconsin — earlier than back-to-back street losses to then-No. 7 Maryland (92-52) and then-No. 16 Indiana (79-67).
A nine-game dropping streak has been dangerous sufficient for the Illini. And but, two of its previous three defeats have been in video games the place Illinois misplaced by a mixed eight factors — a 57-53 residence defeat to Nebraska on Jan. 25 and an 80-76 loss at State Farm Heart in opposition to Penn State three days later.
A 69-57 loss by the Illini at Wisconsin this previous Sunday accounted for the Badgers’ first Large Ten victory of the season.
“There’s plenty of stress on this crew to win a ballgame,” Illinois coach Nancy Fahey stated Wednesday. “We all know that.”
Again in her residence state
Jeanae Terry grew up about an hour from the Michigan State campus, because the Illini sophomore guard attended Wayne Memorial within the Detroit suburbs.
Terry — considered one of three Michigan natives on the Illinois roster together with freshman guards Aaliyah McQueen (Flint) and Aaliyah Nye (East Lansing) — was the Illini’s go-to participant in seven January video games (averaged 14.9 factors).
“She’s a participant that performs 4 spots,” Fahey stated of Terry. “She performs the 1-4. We had been ready to play her on the 4 (at Wisconsin). She simply type of discovered her area of interest there.”
Give attention to Clouden
Fahey’s opinion of Nia Clouden has not modified within the now two instances Illinois has scouted Michigan State.
The fourth-year Illini coach was effusive in her reward of Clouden final month. And once more on a Wednesday Zoom name with reporters.
“She’s top-of-the-line guards within the convention,” Fahey stated of the 5-foot-8 junior guard Clouden, whose 19.1 factors per recreation ranks fifth within the Large Ten. “Her pace and quickness, I feel that makes her a tricky guard. She comes off ball screens downhill. She will cease and pop, has three-point vary.”