Nov. 15, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -
Women's basketball turned the ball over 34 times and lost its season opener to Illinois 85-53 Sunday afternoon at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill. Illinois jumped into passing lanes and used its athleticism to convert Siena's turnovers into 49 points. Siena has now lost its last six season openers dating back to 2003 when the Saints defeated UAlbany 63-46.
Junior forward Cathy Cockrum scored the game's first five points with a jumper eight seconds into the game and a 3-pointer from the right wing on the next possession. Illinois then rattled off 11 straight points and took a lead it would never relinquish. Turnovers marred the Saints as they gave up six in the first five minutes and 15 in the first half. Illinois translated those first half turnovers into 30 points and went into the locker room up 50-36.
Siena (0-1) stayed in the game by shooting a high percentage with mid-range and long-range field goals. The Saints shot 57.1% (12-of-21) from the floor in the first half and 55.6% (5-of-9) from beyond the arc. Siena also made 7-of-8 free throws.
Senior guard Allie Lindemann scored seven points on 3-of-6 shooting in her homecoming.
Freshman forward Danielle Everson made her collegiate debut when she checked into the game at the 7:13 mark of the first half. She scored one point and had a rebound and an assist in 13 minutes. Her steal came with 3:48 remaining in the first half when she sprinted back on a long outlet pass and pulled the ball in with one hand like a wide receiver streaking down the field.
Siena's hot-shooting cooled down in the second half and Illinois opened up a 75-39 lead through the first 12 minutes. Siena made 1-of-15 shots from the field and had 13 turnovers during that span.
Illinois' (1-1) Lacey Simpson and Karisma Penn led the team with six and four steals respectively. Penn led all players with 18 points.
Siena contained Jenna Smith who averaged 18.5 points last season and had 24 in the team's season opener loss at Temple on Friday. She scored 10 points and had 10 rebounds. The Saints also forced 21 Illinois turnovers.
Sophomore Maja Gerlyng led the Saints with a career-high 13 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 from 3-point range. Junior Serena Moore was the only other player in double-digits with 11 points.
Junior guard Missy Ramsey contributed a hard-working 16 minutes (career-high). She finished with two points, four rebounds and one steal.
Siena returns to action in its home opener Friday evening against Eastern Michigan. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.