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.
Brown, Carmichael score teams last 25 points in victory of Evansville
January 27th, 2013 by Mike Obrien
NORMAL, IL- No buzzer beater was necessary, but Jackie Carmichael and the Illinois state Redbirds (12-9, 3,6) extended their winning streak to 3 games as they handled Evansville 67-62.
The Redbirds were led by senior leaders Jackie Carmichael and Tyler brown who were the only two players on the team to finish in double digits. Brown finished with 23 points, 12 of those coming from the free throw line. Brown seemed to be much more aggressive driving into the basket and drawing the fouls since his perimeter shooting has not been great recently.
Carmichael finished with another double-double with 24 points and 14 total rebounds, 10 in the first half. Carmichael was dominant down low and on the boards which forced Evansville to the double-team.
Browns late free throws and defensive pressure on Evansville star Colt Ryan was the x-factor in tonights game. Ryan was held to just 4 points in the first half and finished with 17 while only shooting 6-15. Head Coach Dan Muller switched up defenders on Ryan with the quickness of Bryant Allen, Kaza Keane, and Anthony Cousin.
The beginning of the game started off with the teams going back and forth with offensive runs, and a low halftime score of 31-22. Up by 9 with under a minute to go, the Aces would refuse to go down quietly as Ned Coz hit a pair of free throws and Lewis Jones nailing a three pointer. Their late run was not enough to comeback against the birds as the Purple Aces now fall to 5-4 in conference.
ISU returns to action Tuesday at Carver Arena to take on in state rival Bradley in the battle for I-74. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 in Peoria.
Women’s Basketball Team Pulls Out a Close One
January 25th, 2013 by Jeremy Spaso
The Illinois State women’s basketball team won a close one tonight over the Indiana State Sycamores with a final score of 66-65.
Alexis Foley opened up the game with a great drive to the net and made it a three-point play by sinking her free throw. Shortly after Janea Smith got a huge block, which led to a Jamie Russell lay-up to put the Birds up 5-4.
The game went back and forth for most of the first half, which had 12 lead changes, and the score tied 8 times.
Going into the half the Redbirds had a 9 point lead with a score of 39-31. This lead is due to a tremendous 12-1 run to close out the half for the Birds. After the Sycamores Anna Munn hit a three-pointer to put them up 30-27 over the Birds. After that three, the Sycamores only managed 1 point in the last 5:30 of the first half thanks to great defense and two back-to-back steals by Brianna Puni.
Alexis Foley opened up the second half with a huge three pointer and the first one for the Redbirds all game.
The Redbirds gave away the 11-point lead they started the half with but managed to not let the Sycamores get more than two points ahead. The Sycamores had a chance to win the game with a last second shot but guard Anna Munn came up short.
This win puts the Redbirds at 5-2 in conference play and 13-6 overall. They play Wichita State next on February 1st. Tip-off is set for 7:05pm.
Women’s Basketball Defeats Salukis 89-41
January 19th, 2013 by Maddy Reid
Illinois State controlled the ball for the majority of their game against Southern Illinois this Saturday, January 19th, and the Redbirds come away with a 89-41 win against the Salukis. The Redbirds were successful from the field, shooting 48.4%.
The Salukis won the tip and a basket to start the game well, taking an early 4-1 lead against the Redbirds. Baskets from Maddie Oliver and Jamie Russell quickly gave it right to ISU, the only lead change in the game. Candace Sykes entered the game after 3 minutes and hit a 3-point shot right away to increase the Redbirds’ lead. ISU had a 13-6 lead at the first break in the action.
Towards the end of the first half, the Redbirds continued to keep possession of the ball with defensive rebounds from Janae Smith. Baskets from Candace Sykes and Maddie Oliver kept the Redbirds ahead as they increased their lead to 27 points. Illinois State led the Salukis 45-18 at the end of the first half.
The second half began with Southern Illinois and Illinois State scoring back-and-forth to continuously change the point margin. SIU had a new energy to start the second period. Baskets were distributed between all players on the floor for the Salukis. Despite their opponent’s new energy, the Redbirds were able to continue moving the ball well for the remainder of the second half and almost doubled their point total.
The Redbirds finished the game with a 48-point margin by winning 89-41. Candace Sykes and Maddie Oliver led the team with 19 and 15 points respectively. Azia Washington and Rishonda Napier led the Salukis in scoring with 9 and 8 points. Illinois State was able to outrebound Southern Illinois with 53 rebounds to the Salukis’ 30.
The Redbirds will play Indiana State at home this Friday, January 25th beginning at 7:05pm.
Redbirds fall to #5 Louisville 69-66
December 2nd, 2012 by Mike Obrien
The Illinois State Redbirds (5-2) fell to the 5th ranked Louisville Cardinals Saturday at the KFC Yum Center 69-66.
The redbirds were in control and leading for most of the game but Louisville’s offense seemed too much for ISU to handle. The ‘Birds outscored the Cardinals 33-25 in the first half and got outscored 44-33 in the second. Tyler Brown led all scorers with 25 points shooting 3-8 from three point range.
Jackie Carmichael was just one rebound away from another double-double as he finished with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Brown and Carmichael were the only two redbirds to finish with double digit efforts, Johnny Hill finished with 8.
The leading scorer for the Cardinals was Russ Smith who finished with 24 points as his cardinals out rebounded the redbirds 30-27 despite Louisville’s 14-25 effort from the free-throw line.
Depth on offense was a problem from the redbirds as the bench players they have relied on were not able to overcome tough Cardinal defense. Anthony Cousin split time with Johnny Hill due to an injury for freshman Kaza Keane, Keane did not play in the game.
Sharpshooters Bryant Allen and Nick Zeisloft shot only 2-7 combined from behind the arc and the only other scoring came from John Wilkins who finished with 3.
The redbirds next game is against Wyoming on Tuesday in Normal, tip-off is set for 7:05.
Redbirds 4th Quarter Breakdown Leads To Loss
November 18th, 2012 by Andy Rzeczkowski
The Illinois State Redbirds lost to the North Dakota State Bison today with a final score of 38-20. It was a devastating loss as the Redbirds had a defensive breakdown in the 4th quarter and allowed the Bison to score 21 unanswered points. This loss could hurt the chances of the Redbirds making the playoffs and certainly takes away their momentum going into the playoffs.
The Redbirds opened the scoring for the day with when quarterback Matt Brown hit Jordan Neukirch with a 5 yard play action pass for a touchdown bringing the Redbirds to a 7-0 lead.
The Redbirds added to their lead making it 10-0 with a 33 yard field goal by Nick Aussieker late in the first quarter.
The Bison responded quickly when Marcus Williams returned the kickoff 98 yards for the first Bison score of the day. The Redbirds were leading 10-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The Bison took the lead in the beginning of the second quarter when John Crockett ran it in 5 yards for the touchdown making it 14-10.
The Redbirds responded quickly and senior quarterback Matt Brown showed he can score with his legs and ran it in 3 yards for a touchdown and taking the lead back for the redbirds 17-14.
The Redbirds opened up the scoring in the second half with a long 47 yard field goal by kicker Nick Aussieker to extend the redbirds lead to 20-14.
The Bison started to close the gap with 7:49 left in the third quarter with a 29 yard field goal by kicker Adam Keller making the score 20-17.
The Bison scored less that minute into the fourth quarter with a 1 yard touchdown run by quarterback Brock Jenson. This put the Bison’s in the lead 24-20 with most of the fourth quarter to still play.
The Bison got another rushing touchdown from Brock Jenson 5 minutes later, this one coming from 4 yards out. This extended the Bison’s lead to 31-20.
The Bison put the game out of reach with 3:19 left in the fourth quarter with a 1 yard touchdown rush by Sam Ojuri. This score capped off a fourth quarter where the Bison scored 21 unanswered points bringing the final score to 38-20.
There is a selection show tomorrow which will determine the Redbirds fate in the playoffs. The will have to bounce back from this tough loss if they have any chance of progressing through the playoffs.
Redbirds win Mid-American Classic
September 15th, 2012 by Christian Baker
NORMAL – The seats were filled but the finish to this double overtime thriller left no one sitting as the Redbirds outlasted the Panthers from Eastern Illinois University in a 54 to 51 battle. Illinois State was led by a record-breaking performance by their senior quarterback Matt Brown.
Brown finished the game with a total of seven touchdowns two of them coming on the ground, and five through the air. Brown will now have his place in the football record books as he set the record for most passing yards in a game. Brown gave credit to his team in the post conference interviews with his comments; “I could have not done it without the strong play of my offensive line, who gave time for my receivers to get open on their routes.”
The Redbird receivers also came with their A game as senior wide-out Tyrone Walker, came up with an impressive 11 receptions, while gaining 142 total yards. The Redbird crowd also saw a heavy dose of sophomore wide-out Donovan Harden who came down with two touchdown passes one being the go-ahead score that came late in the forth quarter, and looked to be the game-winning touchdown.
The Redbirds got punched in the face early in the game as the no-huddle offense that was used by Eastern’s head coach Dino Barber worked to near perfection. The Panthers were led by the passionate leadership of their quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo who methodically moved his team up the field with out much disruption from the opposing defensive line. Babers says “my QB was a bit off in the beginning, but once he settled in he was great… he truly is a great leader.” Garoppolo finished the game with 387 passing yards and two touchdowns, with none of them coming in the overtime periods.
In the final minutes of regulation the Redbirds came up with a 94 yard drive that was capped by a wide-open touchdown pass from Brown to Harden that left only 51 seconds on the game clock. Garoppolo then started his team’s drive on their own 21 yard line with 43 seconds to move the ball down the field. The ending result of the drive was a 20 yard field goal that sent the game into it’s first overtime.
The overtime periods were intense, and left the crowd on their toes. The game was capped off when the Panthers had to settle for a field goal, and two plays later Brown found Walker in the endzone for a 25 yard touchdown and the win.
Every Redbird fan in attendance of this game went home satisfied as this is the first time the Illinois State football team has started of with a 3-0 record since 1991. In the post conference interviews Coach Brock Spack said “it was and ugly win… but at the end of the day a win is a win.”
The Birds are flying high as they will begin conference play next week on the road against a young and eager leatherneck team from Western Illinois. Kickoff is set for 3pm.
Redbirds Reign Victorious in Season Opener
September 1st, 2012 by Zach Bernard
Darrelynn Dunn breaks through Dayton defenders. Photo courtesy of Chris Newman.
NORMAL– The conditions at Hancock Stadium were unpleasant and damp during the first home game of the season for the Redbirds, but that didn’t stop them from defeating the Dayton Flyers this afternoon by a whopping final of 56-14.
The Redbirds were the first to score six minutes into the game, with 13 plays culminating in 74 total yards, capped off on a 2-yard rush by Darrelynn Dunn for the first six points of the game.
In the second quarter, Matt Brown added six more points to the Redbird total by connecting with Phil Dudley for a 14-yard touchdown pass to put the Redbirds up 14-0. Despite the Flyers finding their way to the scoreboard on a 77-yard punt return by Gary Hunter, Brown would complete two more touchdown passes in the second quarter to Lechein Neblett to put them ahead at the half by a score of 28-7.
Darrelynn Dunn put the Redbirds on the board in the third quarter finishing off two long drives with touchdown runs. Both touchdown drives took almost eight minutes off the clock. Before the end of the quarter, Dayton scored on a touchdown pass from Will Bardo to Braden Johnson for a 42-14 score after three.
In the fourth, Cameron Hunt would pad his early season rushing totals by taking the second play of a Redbird drive for 82 yards down the field. The scoring concluded on the block of a punt by Flyers kicker Kyle Pignatello, which Pat Meehan returned for a 10-yard touchdown.
The Redbirds put together a total of 510 yards, completing 11-17 third down conversions with 318 total rushing yards and only two penalties the entire afternoon. Matt Brown delivered an excellent performance, completing 22 passes on 34 attempts for a total of 192 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers. Darrelynn Dunn ran 127 yards on 25 attempts with two touchdowns while Cameron Hunt ran for one touchdown and 120 yards on 14 carries. Lechein Neblett gathered 62 yards and two touchdown completions on six catches. Kicker Nick Aussieker completed all eight extra-point attempts.
The Redbirds will play Eastern Michigan next Saturday in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Kick-off for that game is set for 12:00 p.m. CT
Former Redbird rejoins Chicago Rush
April 19th, 2012 by Amanda Pigott
Chicago — Former Illinois State standout defensive back Kelvyn Hemphill will rejoin the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League for the 2012 season, as announced by the organization Tuesday. Hemphill suited up for the Rush in four games in 2011, recording 19 tackles and an interception.
Hemphill joins former Redbird teammate and current Rush quarterback Luke Drone and former Redbird defensive lineman Xzavier Stewart on the roster for the Rush. Hemphill, who is currently pursuing his master’s degree in sport management at Illinois State, will join the team following the completion of the Spring semester.
A four-year letterwinner at Illinois State, Hemphill played in 42 career games with 36 starting assignments for the Redbirds. He collected 263 tackles during his four-year career, which ranks him 16th on the all time list at ISU, and his 165 career unassisted tackles rank him 13th on the all-time list. In 2009, he was tabbed as an All-Missouri Valley football Conference Second Team selection and was an honorable mention selection in 2008.
The Rush are currently 4-1 on the season and lead the Central Division of the National Conference. They return to the field Saturday, April 21, for a home game against the Milwaukee Mustangs at the Allstate Arena.
Redbirds Fall in Second Round of WNIT
March 18th, 2012 by Steven Gonigam
NORMAL– The ISU Women’s basketball season ended Sunday afternoon, as the Redbirds fell to the Villanova Wildcats 58-55 in the second round of the WNIT. ISU finished the season with a record of 19-13. Sophomore Marley Hall led all scorers with 20 points.