Redbirds Make MVC Tournament Championship
March 17th, 2013 by Ronnie Szudarski
The Illinois State Women’s Basketball team will be headed back to the Missouri Valley Conference Championship game for the first time in 5 years. It took an overtime period but the ‘Birds were able to defeat the number two seeded Creighton Bluejays in the semi-finals. Candace Sykes led the way for ‘Birds recording her second straight double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
ISU jumped out to an early 5-0 lead but Creighton responded scoring four quick points to get to within one. That was as close as the Bluejays would get in the first half as the two teams traded buckets until about six minutes to go in the half. The Redbirds were up by two before going on a 14 to 5 run to end the half and lead by 11.
In the second half Creighton looked like a completely different team as they found their shooting stroke from behind the arc. The Bluejays started the half shooting a ridiculous 4-5 from behind the arc as they proceeded to go on a 24-6 run to open the second half and take their first lead of the night by a score of 42-37.
Creighton would extend their lead to nine points, with a 55-46 lead, before the Redbirds battled back. Creighton would go ice cold after their hot start to the second half failing to score in the final 5:20 of the game. The birds would go on a 9 to 0 run to end regulation and send the game into overtime as both teams failed to score in the final two minutes of the game.
In overtime both teams struggled to score until Candace Sykes hit a 3-pointer and drew a foul with just under three minutes left, but she would miss the free throw attempt. The ‘Birds would not give up the lead for the rest of the game as Creighton got the lead down to one a couple different times. Good free throw shooting down the stretch helped the Redbirds go on to a 64-61 victory.
ISU Ends Tournament Drought
March 16th, 2013 by Ronnie Szudarski
In a game where both teams struggled shooting the ball it was the defense that propelled ISU Women’s Basketball Team to victory over the Bradley Braves. This is the first time in four years that the Redbirds were able to advance past the quarter finals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
The Braves took an early 10-8 lead and eventually went up 15-9 as ISU went almost 6 minutes without a basket. Janae Smith carried the Redbirds early on with six quick points before a crucial time out. With about 10 minutes left in the first half Head Coach Stephanie Glance called a timeout that seemed to spark the redbirds as the preceded to go on a 17-1 run to end the half leading by 10.
In the second half Jamie Russell traded baskets with Katie Yohn of the Braves as the two players finally found their shooting stroke. The two teams went back and forth with the Redbirds maintaining a comfortable lead until the final minutes of the game.
Bradley finally found a way to slow down Russell and the Birds as they got to within two points with about two minutes left. However, as the Birds have done all season, they locked down defensively and forced the Braves into tough shots that just wouldn’t fall. Bradley was forced to foul down the stretch which allowed the birds to build the lead back up and win by the final score of 59-48.
Shooting Woes Hurt Redbirds in Loss to Wolverines
December 5th, 2012 by Sean Tipton
NORMAL—The Illinois State Redbird women’s basketball team (4-2) was looking to continue their three game winning streak, when they welcomed the Michigan Wolverines to Doug Collins Court. The Wolverines came into the game with a record of 6-2 and a 3-0 record against ISU in a short history between the two teams. Janae Smith led the Redbirds with 11 points and seven rebounds, but that wasn’t enough to continue their winning streak. After coming out strong in both halves, the Wolverines three point shooting was too much for the Redbirds to handle and they fell to the Wolverines 56-45.
Early in the first half, the Redbird defense was up to the challenge against a much bigger Wolverine team causing five turnovers in the first five minutes of the game. Trying to match a tough defensive effort, the Redbirds struggled from the field halfway through the first half after a quick start. Michigan’s height showed early in the game, doubling up the Redbirds rebound total, 15-7. The Redbirds struggled from three-point line in the first half going 3-11 beyond the arc. Smith led the Redbirds offensively in the first half shooting 50 percent from the field with six points and four rebounds. The Redbirds ended the first half on a 10-2 run to cut the Wolverines lead to two heading into halftime with the score 23-21.
The Redbirds came out of halftime on fire with an 8-2 run early, but Michigan was able to quiet the Redbirds answering with a 9-0 run of their own, regaining the lead. Michigan’s leading scorer, Kate Thompson, was a tough matchup for the Redbirds to handle with 18 points and shooting under 50 percent from the field including 4-9 from behind the arc in the game. The Redbirds had a hard time drawing any fouls all game leading to only cashing in one time out of four trips to the charity stripe late into the second half. A five-minute scoring drought late in the game for the Redbirds let the Wolverines build an 11-point lead that they would not surrender as they would knock down a couple of late free throws to seal the 56-45 victory.
The Redbirds are back in action on Friday December 7th when they finish their Big Ten filled week with a matchup with the Northwestern Wildcats at Redbird Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:05 P.M. Live coverage can be heard on 103.3 WZND or WZND.com.
Broadway comes up big in OT as Redbirds hang on for the win
January 21st, 2012 by Chris Newman
As soon as the ball was tipped off in the ISU-Drake Women’s Basketball MVC matchup Friday night, it was very apparent that defense was what was going to determine the outcome of the game. After dropping two of their last three games (all on the road) Illinois State (8-8, 3-2) needed to get some energy from their home crowd to get their offense going early against Drake (9-7, 32). The first five minutes of the game was very low-scoring, much in part to both ISU’s Marley Hall and Drake’s Rachel Hackbarth. Both of these defensive minded teams kept the opposing team’s offenses from really producing. It wasn’t until MVC newcomer of the week Jamie Russell started dictating play that the lady redbirds really started to begin playing well together. A strong offensive player, Russell had 4 rebounds in the first 9 minutes allowing for the offense to try and put more points up on the board for Illinois State.