Tuesday, December 04, 2007
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Women's Basketball

ISU Visits Ball State on Tuesday Night

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[December 04, 2007]  MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Illinois State women's basketball team (6-1) continues its road trip with a game at Ball State (3-4) Tuesday evening at 6:05 CST. With hopes of continuing their winning ways as well, the Redbirds will look for their second consecutive victory over a team from the Mid-American Conference and their first-ever at Worthen Arena.

Illinois State is off to its best start in 31 years, thanks to a high-powered, versatile offense that is averaging 78.3 points per game and is outscoring opponents by more than 15 points per game. Four Redbird guards are averaging double figures in scoring, and three players have positive assist-to-turnover ratios. ISU's offensive prowess has not been more evident than in the last two games, as the Redbirds have not trailed at any point and have led by double digits in a combined 51:40 of the 80 minutes between the two contests.

"Our offense has a lot of weapons, which means we can afford for players to have off nights," head coach Robin Pingeton said. "I was really proud of our defensive effort against Eastern Michigan, though, especially in the second half. They had a great guard in Alyssa Pittman, and we were able to make some adjustments at halftime to take her out of the game."

The two-game road trip started out well for ISU with a 79-61 win over Eastern Michigan on Sunday. Senior guard Tiffany Hudson scored a career-high 24 points and was complemented by her backcourt mate, junior Kristi Cirone, who added 20. (See article.)

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In a series that began in 2001, Ball State holds a 3-2 all-time advantage over Illinois State. The Cardinals have won both meetings in the series at Worthen Arena, in 2003 and 2005. Pingeton has faced Ball State every season she has been at ISU and has a 2-2 all-time record against the Cardinals. Last season, the Redbirds withstood a furious second-half comeback by Ball State for an 82-72 win. Despite leading 42-21 at halftime, Illinois State saw the Cardinals charge back and cut the deficit to three points with just 36 seconds left. Cirone sealed the victory with seven free throws in the waning seconds.

Ball State is coming off double-digit losses at Temple, 72-48, and at Valparaiso, 66-54. The Cardinals have played only nine players all season, and their starters are all averaging more than 29 minutes per game. Senior guard Julie DeMuth, a First-Team All-MAC selection last season, once again leads the Cardinals in scoring (14.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.4 ppg). Junior guard Porcia Green (12.0 ppg) and sophomore guard Audrey MacDonald (10.6 ppg) are the other two Cardinals with double-figure scoring averages.

Tuesday's game will be the last for the Redbirds for nearly two weeks as the student-athletes prepare for and take their final exams. ISU will return to the court at Miami of Ohio on Dec. 16 at 1:05 p.m. CST.

[Text from file received from Jimmy Knodel, assistant media relations director, Illinois State University]

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