Hot Shooting Leads Women's Basketball Past Evansville, 78-54
Jan. 19, 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 the 78-54 victory over Missouri Valley Conference rival Evansville (7-10, 2-4 MVC) Sunday afternoon at the Ford Center. 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 three-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 a career-high, 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 of a three by Winge. ISU kept the momentum, as it ended the half on a 6-0 run that lasted nearly two minutes, taking a 12-point lead, 35-23, its largest lead of the half.
Hall led ISU 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, as Nelson led the Redbirds with six boards. The Redbirds shot 44 percent from the field, and the Purple Aces sank 26 percent of its 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 of a three 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 three-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 a 78-54 victory.
After three-straight road games, the Redbirds return home to Redbird Arena next weekend to welcome Wichita State, Saturday at 4:05 p.m., for the Pack the Arena game, before hosting Missouri State, Monday at 7:05 p.m.
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