Feb. 6, 2013
Setting the Stage
Thursday night’s game will be the 54th all-time meeting between UIC and Milwaukee as the Panthers have the edge on the series record of 27-17. Most recently, the Flames have had success against UWM, winning the previous three gatherings and also seven of the last 10. Last year’s home match up on March 1 was a nail-bitter as then-sophomore Emily Kobel drained back-to-back threes, giving UIC the one-point lead with just two minutes left to play. UIC also clinched the No. 4 seed for the Horizon League Tournament in last year’s contest.
Scouting the PANTHERS
Milwaukee enters Thursday’s contest with an overall record of 5-13 and a Horizon League mark of 1-5. The Panthers will compete in their first road game in 19 days (Jan. 19) as they have dropped their last three home league matches. UWM returns four starters and 10 letter-winners from its 2011-12 squad and also four of its five top scorers. Junior guard Angela Rodriguez paces the team in scoring and assists with averages of 14.1 and 3.4, respectively.
Junior Rachel Story finds herself in elite company on the back end of the 2012-13 season. She is one of just two Horizon League players to average 14.6 points and 3.9 assists per game or more. Joining her is preseason All-League First Team member Shalonda Winton of Cleveland State who ranks top two in the HL in all three categories. Story is also one of just six conference players to have five or more 20-point outings this year. She also owns 16 double-digit scoring performances in 2012-13.
Elevating Her Game
Redshirt junior Katie Hannemann has elevated her game from last year in a big way. At this point last season, Hannemann had totaled 63 points and 64 rebounds through 19 games. This year, the six-foot one-inch center has accumulated 244 points and 133 boards. She has 14 double-digit scoring performances compared to just three in 2011-12 and has set career-highs in nearly every major statistical category. Hannemann is also one of just six Horizon League players to average 12.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game or more.
Block Party For Wallace
Junior Megan Wallace has 33 total blocked shots so far this season and ranks first in the Horizon League with an average of 1.7 swats per game. CSU’s Shalonda Winton is second on that list with 22 blocks despite averaging 18.5 minutes per game more than Wallace (38.8-20.3). Wallace is also nearing UIC’ single season top-10 leaderboard, needing just six more rejections to crack the list at 39.
Freshman Terri Bender is having an outstanding rookie season as she has found a seemingly permanent spot in the starting lineup. Bender is the fourth-ranked freshmen scorer in the Horizon League (6.9 ppg) and also ranks fourth in assists (3.0) and second in steals (1.8). She has collected two Horizon League Newcomer of the Week awards (Dec. 31 and Jan. 14) and owns two 20-point outings this season.
Newcomers Called Upon
UIC graduated a league-high of almost 60 percent of its minutes played last season and over 70 percent of its scoring. Freshmen and transfers have been needed to fill that void as the newcomers account for 44.3 percent of the team’s minutes played so far this season, tops among all Horizon League programs.
Senior Taylor Foulks has crept up on numerous UIC career leaderboards this season and remains just 56 points shy from reaching the 1,000. If Foulks reaches the four-digit milestone then she will be just the 18th player in program history to do so. The Joliet, Ill., native, ranks tied-for-third in made threes (208), eighth in steals (195) and 11th in blocked shots (63).
Kobel From Downtown
Junior Emily Kobel has been a consistent threat for UIC from behind the arc all season. To date, Kobel is 37-of-106 (.349) from long range and is on pace to crack the single-season leaderboard for made threes, needing just 21 more. Kobel leads the team in made threes and ranks eighth in the Horizon League. Since league play began, Kobel is averaging 38.7 percent from three.
Senior Taylor Foulks ranks tied-for-third in the country with her 7-of-9 (.778) single-game performance from behind the arc against SIUE on Nov. 15. Her seven made threes in that game ranks tied-for-15th in the nation and stands as tied-for-the-top mark in the Horizon League this season.
Flames Still Burning Bright
A pair of former UIC women’s basketball players Jasmine Bailey and Nichole (Muffoletto) Silmon are having outstanding seasons playing professionally overseas. Bailey plays for the Sepsi Sic squad in Romania (12-5) and is averaging 17.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game. Silmon recently ended her season with Ansett in Australia and averaged 18.5 points per game.