Redbirds Win Fourth Consecutive Game, Top Rival Bradley, 81-65
January 6, 2013
NORMAL, Ill. - Janae Smith's third-consecutive double-double, with 21 points and 13 rebounds, led Illinois State (10-4, 2-0 MVC) to a 81-65 victory over in-state rival Bradley (6-7, 0-2 MVC) Sunday afternoon on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. Sunday's victory marked Illinois State's 15th consecutive win over Bradley and has the Redbirds on a season-best four game winning streak.
Jamie Russell added 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting and Candace Sykes scored 17 points to pace a Redbird offense that shot 43% from the floor and never trailed all game. Smith added a career-high six assists as ISU tallied 15 assists on 30 baskets. Defensively, the Redbirds limited Bradley to just 32% shooting and forced 12 turnovers. Shronda Butts led the Braves with 16 points on 6-of-18 shooting.
Illinois State jumped to an early 8-2 lead on baskets from Chloe Nelson, Russell and Smith, while the Redbird defense held Bradley to just 1-of-7 shooting over the first five minutes of the game. After Bradley cut the deficit to four points, Illinois State went on a 9-2 run, highlighted by a Katy Winge three and consecutive Brianna Puni layups to extend the lead to 21-8 with 12:23 to go in the first half.
Butts' three-point play capped a 6-0 Bradley run. After forcing a Redbird turnover, Michelle Young's fast break layup attempted was blocked by Russell, setting up a Maddie Oliver 10-footer to extend the Redbirds lead to 23-14 with just over 10 minutes to play in the opening half.
The Redbirds extended its lead to 27-14 with just over 8 minutes to play, before Bradley's 12-2 run made it a three point game with 4:37 to go. On the ensuing possession, Smith grabbed an offensive rebound and made a layup to stunt Bradley's momentum. The Redbirds then forced a steal and Russell netted a 17-footer to extend the ISU lead to 33-26 with 3:41 to go. Sykes hit a pair of three-point baskets in the final minute of the half to extend the Redbird lead to 44-36 at the break.
Russell sparked the second-half offensive attack for ISU, hitting the first field goal of the period at the 17:10 mark. Alexis Jenkins responded with a three-pointer before Sykes made a layup followed by a three-point basket to give ISU a 10-0 run, extending the Redbird lead to 57-41 with 15:40 to play.
Bradley responded with a 9-0 run, including six three-throws from Catie O'Leary, to cut the ISU lead to 57-50 with 11 minutes to play. On the next possession, Nelson went hard to the basket and drew a foul, making both shots from the free-throw line to stop the Bradley attack and put ISU in front, 59-50, with 10:18 remaining.
Skyes hit her fourth and final three of the game to give Illinois State a 69-52 lead with 7:46 to go. At 17 points, it was the largest lead of the game for Illinois State. Bradley cut the deficit to 12 points on a Kelsey Budd jumper with 2:51 to play, but never got any closer as ISU knocked off Bradley for the 10th-straight time at Redbird Arena.
The Redbirds travel for a pair of MVC road games, visiting Creighton and Drake, next weekend, before returning to Normal to host Evansville on Thursday, Jan. 17. Tickets for all remaining Redbird home basketball games can be obtained by calling (309) 438-8000.
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