CHAMPAIGN — Jeanae Terry is aware of what sort of impact Aaliyah Nye can have in huge video games.
Terry, in spite of everything, witnessed that first hand when the 2 have been highschool athletes in Michigan.
Nye scored 16 factors and pulled down 10 rebounds for her East Lansing women’ basketball staff in a Class A state semifinal sport towards Terry’s Wayne Memorial staff on March 16, 2018, in Grand Rapids, Mich.
It was a sport East Lansing received 60-52 to advance to the state championship sport, the place the Trojans misplaced 57-36 to Saginaw Heritage.
Nonetheless, Nye getting the higher of Terry in that semifinal sport isn’t misplaced on both participant.
Particularly now that they’re teammates on the Illinois girls’s basketball staff, with Nye an Illini freshman and Terry in her sophomore season.
“She doesn’t actually like to speak about (that sport),” Nye stated with amusing in referencing her present teammate Terry, “as a result of she misplaced.”
That may be true, however Terry — and Illinois — are grateful to have Nye’s presence again within the lineup.
The Illini’s finest two performances in Large Ten play have include Nye on the court docket.
The 5-foot-11 guard scored 10 factors in a 78-72 loss at Nebraska on Dec. 10, then poured in a team-high 15 factors throughout Monday night time’s 57-53 loss by Illinois within the rematch towards the Cornhuskers at State Farm Heart.
In between these two Nebraska video games? Nye missed six video games with a damaged left toe. She truly suffered the damage throughout the Illini’s sport in Lincoln, Neb., final month.
“I feel for those who simply watch the Nebraska sport (on Monday), you may see the distinction,” Illinois coach Nancy Fahey stated of what Nye’s addition to the rotation means to Illinois offensively. Nye is capturing a team-best 33.3 p.c from past the arc, albeit in solely 5 video games.
“She’s a child that’s capturing it earlier than she catches it,” Fahey continued. “She will be able to learn and really feel the protection. That’s a talent set.
“And, to me … now that you’ve got a presence on the market with a couple of shooter, it takes stress off another youngsters, you hope. I’ve talked to another gamers that it simply merely can’t be on (Nye’s) shoulders now.”
With an offense that has struggled to attain all season — Illinois’ 58.8 factors per sport rank final within the Large Ten — the Illini (2-8, 0-7 Large Ten) want extra Nebraska-like performances from Nye.
There’s a stage of belief Illinois has positioned within the soft-spoken freshman.
“I feel simply my teammates giving me the arrogance and perception to step up and make the shot offers me the arrogance,” Nye stated forward of Thursday’s 6 p.m. sport towards Penn State (4-7, 1-6) at State Farm Heart. “The coaches believing in me, as effectively, to hit these pictures. That’s been huge for me.”
The Nittany Lions simply so occur to be the final Large Ten staff Illinois has overwhelmed. A 70-66 win at Penn State on Feb. 9, 2020, has been adopted by 14 consecutive Large Ten losses, together with a 71-55 defeat towards Wisconsin throughout final yr’s Large Ten event in Indianapolis.
For the Illini to finish that skid, it is going to take Illinois slowing down one other Large Ten staff that desires to play quick, one thing Fahey’s staff has been unable to take action far.
“They need about 90 possessions per sport. Their tempo is like we wish to preserve capturing and get as many makes an attempt,” Fahey stated of the Nittany Lions, who’re averaging 73.6 factors. “We’re working arduous proper now on our closeouts and ensuring they’re contested pictures and one-and-done kind pictures. … They wish to preserve this very up-tempo, so it’s not solely the three-ball, it’s dealing with their press and their completely different appears to be like defensively.”