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Illinois Picks Up 74-51 Win Over Cal Poly to Open ShareSLO Classic

Illinois Picks Up 74-51 Win Over Cal Poly to Open ShareSLO Classic

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Courtney Joens scored 19 points on Friday for Illinois, and All-Big Ten teammate Alex Wittinger added 10 in Mott Athletics Center, leading the Fighting Illini women's basketball team to a 74-51 win over Cal Poly at the opener of the 12th annual ShareSLO Holiday Beach Classic.

Illinois (4-0) never trailed, jumping out to an 11-2 lead on a 3-pointer by Joens just under seven minutes into the game, closing the first quarter up 15-7.

The Fighting Illini stretched their lead to as many as 24 late in the first half, as a 3 from Arieal Scott made it 35-11 with 2:12 to play until the break. Illinois went to halftime holding a 39-18 lead, owning an 18-0 advantage in bench scoring by intermission, along with an 11-0 margin in points off of turnovers.

A Wittinger free throw with 5:33 elapsed in the third quarter provided Illinois the largest lead of the evening, at 48-21.

Cal Poly went on a 10-0 run, consisting of a jumper by freshman guard Maddie Willett, a three-point play on a layup-plus the foul by senior point guard Dye Stahley, a 3 by Willett, and then a hook shot from sophomore forward Kirsty Brown, cutting the deficit to 48-31 with 1:52 remaining in the quarter.

The Mustangs (1-5) also pulled within 17 thanks to a Devin Stanback layup a couple possessions later, but Illinois allowed it to get no closer — using a Brandi Beasley drive for a layup on their last trip up the floor of the period to end the third up 52-33.

From there, the Illini scored the first four points of the fourth quarter on a pair of Wittinger free throws and a Joens layup, stretching the lead back to 56-33 with 8:11 to play.

Willett finished with a team-high 13 points for the Mustangs, while Stanback and fellow senior forward Katie Nunnelley each added 11 points.

Cal Poly will continue its four-game homestand with the latter matchup on Day 2 of the tournament, hosting Pepperdine at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Illinois will face Sacramento State in the first game Saturday, tipping off at 2 p.m.

Admission is free. Cal Poly will be collecting food donations for the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo, with collection barrels at the main entrance to Mott.

Photos © Owen Main