Women's Basketball Holds on to Beat Drake, 71-66

Jan. 13, 2013

Final Stats

DES MOINES, Iowa - Three Redbirds scored in double figures, as the Illinois State (11-5, 3-1 MVC) women's basketball team held on to beat Drake (5-10, 0-4 MVC), 71-66, Sunday afternoon at the Knapp Center. ISU was led by Candace Sykes, who netted 19 points, shooting 50 percent from the field.

Sykes hit two three pointers in the game to move into 10th place on the all-time career list for made three pointers with 100. Janae Smith had 16 points and eight rebounds, along with two blocks, while Alexis Jenkins had 12 points, sinking two shots from beyond the arc. Maddie Oliver led the Redbirds with career-high 10 boards and two blocks. Drake out-rebounded ISU, 40-35, but the Redbirds shot 45 percent, while the Bulldogs made 36 percent of its shot attempts.

Oliver led the Redbirds early in the game, as she netted eight-straight points, tying the game, 12-12, at the 11:32 mark of the first half. Drake went on a 5-0 run to take a 20-14 lead and forced an Illinois State timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Sykes hit a deep three to pull ISU within three points, 20-17, with 7:07 to play in the opening half. Octavia Crump missed a free throw, but grabbed her own rebound and found Sykes, who connected on a jumper. In ISU's next possession, Sykes hit another three to give the Redbirds a 22-20 lead at the 5:26 mark. The senior guard netted eight-straight points.

The strong offensive showing continued for the Redbirds, as Jenkins came to life and scored eight points in a minute and a half, giving Illinois State a 34-27 advantage with 3:07 left before the break. The two teams traded baskets late in the first half, as ISU went into the locker room with a 36-31 advantage.



At the half, Oliver, Sykes and Jenkins each netted eight points. Oliver was a perfect 2-of-2 from the field and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe, while Sykes and Jenkins both hit a pair of threes. Illinois State had one less rebound than Drake, 18-17, but ISU shot 50 percent from the field compared to Drake's 38 percent.

The Bulldogs used an 8-0 run to take a one-point lead, 39-38, early in the second half. The two teams traded baskets until Drake went on an 8-0 run to take a 60-52 lead with 8:15 to play in the game. Brianna Puni rebounded a missed Redbird free throw, put it back up and got fouled in the process. Puni made the free throw and completed the three-point play to get Illinois State within two, 60-58.

Puni's three-point play gave the momentum back to ISU, as the Redbirds used a 13-0 run that lasted seven minutes to take a 65-60 advantage with 2:35 to play. Five Redbirds scored during the run. With a 68-62 ISU advantage, Drake's Mary Pat Specht hit a three from the corner to get within three, 68-65, but ISU hit three free throws late in the game to hold on for the win, 71-66.

Illinois State will return to Redbird Arena, as it hosts Evansville Thursday at 7:05 p.m.