MINNEAPOLIS (AP)Makira Cook scored 24 points, Genesis Bryant added 21 and Illinois thumped Rutgers 81-55 in the second round of the Big Ten Conference Tournament on Thursday night.
Bryant made 8 of 11 shots with three 3-pointers for the sixth-seeded Fighting Illini (22-8). She also had five rebounds and five assists. Cook sank 10 of 13 shots, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc, adding five assists. Adalia McKenzie scored 12 points.
Freshman Kaylene Smikle scored 22 points to lead the No. 11 seed Scarlet Knights (12-20). Chyna Cornwell scored 14. Both players had five rebounds
Bryant and McKenzie scored eight points apiece to guide Illinois to an 18-12 lead after one quarter. Cook made 6 of 7 shots with two 3-pointers, scoring 14 points in the second quarter, and the Illini took a comfortable 41-27 advantage into halftime.
Bryant scored 11 on 4-of-5 shooting with a 3-pointer, Cook made all four of her shots with two 3-pointers and Illinois headed to the final quarter with a 68-42 lead.
Samantha Dewey followed a 3-pointer with a rebound basket to give Illinois its largest lead, 77-46, with 3:32 left to play.
Illinois shot a blistering 60% from the floor (34 of 57) and made half of its 18 shots from distance.
Rutgers, who beat 14th-seeded Northwestern in the first round, shot 32% overall, 23% from distance (3 of 13). The Scarlet Knights had an 18-4 advantage at the free-throw line.
Illinois: The Fighting Illini play No. 3 seed Maryland in the quarterfinals on Friday.
— AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25