CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Miami University women’s basketball team is in the WNIT for the second straight season. The RedHawks travel to Champaign to take on Illinois Thursday at 8 p.m. (EDT) in the first round. Bill Douglas has the call and it can be heard live on WMOH, as well as Miami All-Access for those who have a subscription.
WNIT HISTORY: This is the third time in school history the RedHawks have been invited to the WNIT. In 2004, Miami defeated Xavier, 77-65, in the first round before falling to Iowa State in the second round, 71-57. Last season, the Red and White traveled to Richmond, where they dropped a 76-54 decision in the first round.
CONSECUTIVE POSTSEASONS: This is only the second time in school history that Miami has played in the postseason in consecutive seasons. The last time it happened was in three straight seasons from 1980-82. That was pre-NCAA and all three times it resulted in the Red and White participating in AIAW State and Regional tournaments. It culminated in 1982, when Miami reached the quarterfinals of the AIAW National tournament.
JUDSON FAMILY CONNECTION: Miami redshirt junior Kristin Judson has several connections with Illinois. Her father Rob played basketball for the Illini from 1977-80. He was an assistant coach there from 1996-01. Her grandfather Phil played basketball alongside his twin brother Paul Judson for the Illini from 1955-56. (Paul also played in 1954). Their older brother Howie was a two-sport star (baseball and basketball) for Illinois from 1944-45, and went on to pitch for the Chicago White Sox.
ABOUT THE ILLINI: Illinois finished the regular season 16-13 overall and 9-7 in the Big Ten. It hasn’t played in two weeks, last taking the court in the Big Ten Tournament against Wisconsin on March 7. In that contest, the 11th-seeded Badgers upset the sixth-seeded Illini, 58-57. A very athletic team, Illinois averages 70.0 points per game. It is led by senior forward and All-Big Ten First Team selection (media) Karisma Penn. She averages 19.0 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Another key player is senior guard Adrienne Godbold. The All-Big Ten Second Team selection (coaches) averages 17.0 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. The Illini rank fourth in the nation as a team, averaging 12.8 steals per game, but they also average 18.5 turnovers per contest.
SERIES WITH FIGHTING ILLINI: The all-time series between Miami and Illinois is tied at two wins apiece. Both teams are 1-1 on each other’s home court. The last time the two teams met was on Dec. 19, 1994 in Oxford. The Illini came away with a 65-63 victory. Miami Hall-of-Famer Monica Niemann led the Red and White with 26 points and 12 rebounds, while current RedHawk Associate Head Coach Lisa Hayden scored 19 points and recorded five steals. Miami’s last win against the Illini came the season before in Champaign, when the Red and White earned a 76-66 victory. This will be the first time Miami and Illinois have met in the postseason.
MIAMI VS. BIG TEN: The Big Ten Conference plays some of the strongest women’s basketball in the Midwest. With Miami located close to several of the Big Ten schools, the RedHawks have a long history of challenging these teams. All-time Miami is 21-30 against the Big Ten. In addition to a 2-2 record against the Illini, the RedHawks are 4-1 vs. Michigan State, 3-2 vs. Michigan, 2-5 vs. Purdue, 0-1 vs. Minnesota, 2-4 vs. Northwestern, 0-1 vs. Iowa, 4-5 vs. Indiana, 0-1 vs. Nebraska, 1-1 vs. Wisconsin and 3-7 vs. Ohio State. Miami has never faced Penn State.
UP NEXT FOR THE REDHAWKS: Miami needs to win this game to advance further in the WNIT. If the RedHawks are able to do so, they will take the winner of the game between Missouri and Eastern Illinois in the second round. Site and date are still to be determined, but it would take place either Saturday, Sunday or Monday.