INDIANAPOLIS — Revenge feels great.

The Michigan women’s basketball team used its 68-53 victory over Illinois in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday to avenge last season’s semi-final loss to the Fighting Illini.

The game was close early on, but with 12:57 remaining before halftime, the Wolverines started a run that lasted until 3:40 remained in the first half. During this Fighting Illini scoring drought, Michigan outscored Illinois 15-3.

Foul trouble also played a critical role in both halves. Fighting Illini junior forward Karisma Penn picked up two quick fouls and played just 12 minutes in the half. Without her presence, the Wolverines tallied 16 points in the paint compared to only two from Illinois. Though Illinois was able to score more in the paint off of second-chance points in the second half, Michigan finished the game with a 28-18 scoring edge in the paint.

But the Fighting Illini weren’t the only ones affected by foul trouble. Senior guard Courtney Boylan also picked up two early first-half fouls en route to playing just eight minutes before the half. But, during those eight minutes she was able to tally seven points.

When Boylan was on the bench, the other bench players played a significant role. By the conclusion of the half, 10 players had seen the court — nine of which tallied at least two points — and the Wolverines led 29-16. It was a perfect example of the “equal-opportunity offense” that Michigan coach Kevin Borseth has preached all season.

“I picked up two fouls early,” Boylan said. “But it seems like every game someone new steps up. So I wasn’t even worried. I just cheered my team on, and they did great.”

But five minutes into the second half, Illinois had cut the lead to eight points. Michigan’s offense was sputtering and needed a boost.

The boost came from Boylan, junior guard Kate Thompson and junior center Rachel Sheffer. The trio combined for 28 second-half points and hit big shots down the stretch.

Thompson’s production from the bench was especially notable. The Plymouth, Minn. native played 28 minutes on the game — eight more than her season average — and finished the game with 13 points on 5-for-8 from the floor and 3-for-4 from behind the 3-point arc.

“Thompson seemed like every time we played them she always comes up big,” said Illinois coach Jolette Law. “So she was no stranger to us. That’s why it was a surprise that we actually turned our backs and lost sight of her.

“But it’s unfortunate, (because) you don’t really want the bench players to come in and have big games. But give (Thompson) credit. She came in found some crucial shots and hit the wide-open shots when they were there for her.”

This victory caps the first time under Borseth that Michigan has reached 20 wins. This is also an important number in terms of the Wolverines hopes to make their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 10 years.

Tomorrow, Michigan will compete against Ohio State in the quarterfinals. Though the Buckeyes are the No. 2 seed in the tournament and clearly favored, Michigan is riding a three-game winning streak against them that spans all the way back to Dec. 30, 2010.

When Ohio State traveled to Ann Arbor this year, Michigan easily defeated them. Similarly to how the Wolverines were looking for redemption against Illinois on Thursday, the reigning Big Ten champion Buckeyes will definitely be looking for a victory.

Michigan can also secure another signature victory to boost its tournament resume` with a victory against Ohio State.

“We beat (Ohio State) earlier in the year, so we know they’re going to come out extremely hard, and we’re going to be prepared for that,” Boylan said. “But we’ll get ready for Ohio State today.”

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