Play Notes | Illini faces Middle Tennessee on Saturday at the Daytona Beach Invitational



Opening advice
Women’s basketball Fighting Illini are playing their first away games this week, traveling to Daytona Beach, Fla., For the Daytona Beach Invitational.
The tournament opener pits the Illini against the reigning Atlantic 10 regular season champions the Dayton Flyers.
The Illini then face a Middle Tennessee State team that won both the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles last season.
The games will be broadcast live on (and the FloSports app) with Corey Brooks (play-by-play) and Jennifer George (analyst).
Mike Koon will call the action for the Illini on the Busey Bank Illini Sports Network (1400 AM / 93.9 FM).
Audio streaming is also available at

About the Illini
Illinois start the week 3-1 after opening the season with four home games at the State Farm Center.
The Illini have taken home victories over NC Central (W, 76-53), Miami (OH) (W, 72-65) and UC Riverside (W, 86-82), while suffering their only loss of the year against SIUE (L, 71-62).
Offensively, Illini’s new look opened the season with a significantly improved points average compared to last season. In four games, the Illini are averaging 73.3 points per game, an improvement of 13.7 points per game from last season’s average of 59.6 points per game.
Top scorer, second year G Aaliyah Nye, is averaging 15.0 points per game, an improvement of nearly 7 points per game from his first-year campaign (8.1 points per game).
Behind Nye, the Illini’s offensive offense has been balanced with seven other players totaling at least one double-digit game so far this season, and five more – Jada peebles (9.5), Jayla oden (9.3), Kendall bostic (8.3), De’Myla Brown (8.3), and Sara Anastasieska (8.0) – came into action at the Daytona Beach Invitational with an average of at least 8.0 ppg. “
Second year F Kendall bostic ranks as the team’s top rebounder, shooting 10.3 boards per game. Bostic enters the week ranked third in the Big Ten and 34th nationally in the category.
At 3-1, the Illini are also having one of the best four-game starts in program history. The Illini have opened a season 3-1 or better 26 times in the program’s 48-year history.

About average Tennessee
Middle Tennessee begins their week in Florida with an unblemished 4-0 record, having recorded home wins over East Carolina (70-49) and Vanderbilt (55-46), while also registering road wins at VCU ( 54-46) and Tennessee Tech (65-47).
The Blue Raiders open the game in Daytona with a Friday clash against Marquette before facing the Fighting Illini on Saturday morning.
Junior F Courtney Whitson, a 2021 C-USA tournament all-star selection, leads Middle Tennessee with 14.3 points per game and ranks as the team’s top three-point shooter with 14 marks with 45.2% of shots from beyond the arc in four games.
Senior G Alexis Whittington leads the team in the rebound at 8.0 rebounds per game. Whittington also ranks first on the team with 12 interceptions in the first four games.

Series vs. Middle Tennessee
Saturday’s game marks the first in the series between the Fighting Illini and the Blue Raiders

Current Illini vs. Blue Raiders
G graduate Sara Anastasieska is the only member of the Illini’s current roster to have faced the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in his college career.
A freshman at UTSA in 2015-16, Anastasieska scored five points, all on the free throw line, and rebounded in a 74-63 loss to the Roadrunners.

The Fighting Illini are heading home to the State Farm Center to host a Big Ten / ACC Challenge clash against the Florida State Seminoles, ranked 17/22. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. CT on Thursday, December 2.

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