Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Illini Set for Tough Uconn Test

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Illini Set for Tough Uconn Test

Article excerpt

* The Huskies are undefeated, but `have weaknesses,' Illinois senior Ann Henderson says.

Illinois women's basketball coach Theresa Grentz has one thing to say to the naysayers putting the easy bet on Connecticut, the Fighting Illini's foe tonight in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16.

Recall the 1992 Summer Olympics and the U.S. team. The squad, coached by Grentz, took the bronze in Barcelona. But it deserved the top honor, she'll tell you. "You're talking to the woman who had the best team in the world and didn't get the gold medal. So nothing's guaranteed." So what if the Huskies are 32-0. So what if they have a record of 131-7 since the start of the 1993-94 season. So what if they've made nine successive trips to the NCAA Tournament. OK, maybe not so what. But, the Illini kindly ask, please don't assume anything just yet. "You can't really count us out," said sophomore forward Alicia Sheeler. "We've accomplished a lot this year." Still, it's not without surprise that many basketball watchers are looking past the Illinois-Connecticut matchup to the next step: a much-predicted contest between the Huskies and Tennessee or Colorado. But Illinois isn't looking in that direction. The Illini, who have fared well in the face of adversity this season, expect a real game with the Huskies and a real chance to advance to the next round. "They're beatable," Illinois senior Ann Henderson said. "They do have weaknesses. There are some things we should be able to exploit. Their biggest strength is inside, but that doesn't mean we can't go inside, because our post players are good. "Mainly," she said, "Illinois needs to do what Illinois has done all year long and that is to stay focused and play hard." Grentz agreed that UConn has weaknesses. And she agreed her team has a chance. But, she said, it would help if a couple of things were in Illinois' favor, such as the Illini playing a nearly perfect game and the Huskies having a "not-so-hot game." "They're professionals, they're perfectionists," Grentz said of the Huskies. …

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