Monday, January 20, 2014
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Hot shooting leads ISU women past Evansville 78-54

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[January 20, 2014]  EVANSVILLE, Ind.  The Illinois State (4-11, 3-2 MVC) women's basketball team shot a season-best 54 percent from the field as six Redbirds scored in double figures in a 78-54 victory over Missouri Valley Conference rival Evansville (7-10, 2-4 MVC) at the Ford Center on Sunday afternoon. The last time six players recorded double-digit scoring performances in a game was Dec. 6, 2008, against Eastern Michigan.

Chloe Nelson led ISU with 13 points, while Mackenzie Freeman added a career-best 12 points, all coming from beyond the 3-point line. Zenobia Bess, Octavia Crump, Stekara Hall and Kalyn Gebhardt all tallied 10 points in ISU's second straight win. The 10 points for Bess and Gebhardt set and tied career highs, respectively. Hall led all players with eight boards, setting a career high, as Nelson pulled down seven and Taylor Stewart had a career-high six rebounds. All nine Redbirds in the game grabbed a rebound.

As a team, ISU collected 40 rebounds, bringing down one more than Evansville. Illinois State also had a season-high 18 assists. The Purple Aces struggled from the field, as they shot 25 percent, while the Redbirds scored 40 points in the paint.

Hall scored six of ISU's first nine points of the game, as the two teams traded baskets until the Redbirds went on a 9-0 run that lasted nearly three minutes. Four different Redbirds scored during the run, as Illinois State jumped ahead to a 16-10 lead with 12 minutes remaining in the first half.

Evansville answered with an 8-3 run, but ISU responded with a 7-0 run, including four straight points from the free-throw line, to take a 26-18 lead with 4:34 left on the clock before the break. During the Redbird run, the Purple Aces were scoreless on four straight possessions. Then, Illinois State jumped ahead to a 29-20 advantage off a 3 by Katy Winge. The Redbirds kept the momentum, ending the half on a 6-0 run that lasted nearly two minutes and taking a 12-point lead, ISU's largest of the half, at 35-23.

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Hall led Illinois State with eight points at the half, shooting 75 percent from the field. Freeman added six points, while Nelson scored five. Hall pulled down four rebounds, and Nelson led ISU with six boards. The Redbirds shot 44 percent from the field, while the Purple Aces sank 26 percent of their shot attempts. Despite a strong shooting performance in the first half by ISU, Evansville had the advantage on the boards, grabbing 23 rebounds, three more than Illinois State.

Crump opened the second half with a 5-0 run, including an and-one play, to increase ISU's lead to 17 points, 40-23. The Redbirds jumped ahead to a 20-point lead, 55-35, off a 3 by Freeman with 15:11 remaining in the game. In the middle of the second half, both teams went on brief runs, but ISU still maintained an 18-point advantage. Then Smith connected from 3-point territory to get back to a 20-point lead, 66-46, at the 7:42 mark.

ISU used the clock to its advantage late in the game, as Evansville couldn't connect from the field in the final 7:21 of the game. The final six points of the game for UE came from the free-throw line, and Bess scored the final eight points for the Redbirds, giving ISU the 78-54 victory.

After three straight road games, the Redbirds return home to Redbird Arena next weekend to welcome Wichita State on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. for the "Pack the Arena" game, before hosting Missouri State on Jan. 27 at 7:05 p.m.

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ISU-Evansville  (PDF)

[Text from news release received from Illinois State University]

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