Clifton, Redbird Defense Win Fourth-Straight
Jan. 29, 2011
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Illinois State scored 14-straight points to start the second half and pull away from Evansville for a 61-50 win Saturday afternoon. Amanda Clifton's defense helped spur the Redbirds, who trailed the majority of the first half, to their fourth-straight win.
Clifton had a season-high five of ISU's 11 steals, giving the Redbirds double-digit steals in three-straight games. After giving up 37 points in the first half, ISU limited Evansville to just 13 points on 3-of-21 shooting in the second half.
"We wanted to really dig in defensively and limit Evansville's rebounds and second-chance opportunities in the second half. I think we did a great job accomplishing those goals," said head coach Stephanie Glance. "We started the game flat and our shots weren't falling, so we knew the one thing we could really control to get us back into the game was our defense. Amanda did a great job leading the way with two steals to start the second half."
Emily Hanley led ISU with 17 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. She was 8-for-10 from the field to record her sixth-straight double-digit scoring effort. Hannah Spanich filled the stat sheet with 13 points, six rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks off the bench. Shala Jackson had 11 points, seven rebounds and two steals.
After a Broadway three-pointer pulled the Redbirds within two, Evansville scored six-straight points to lead17-19 with 11:34 left in the first half. ISU turned the ball over six times in the first eight minutes of the game, leading to 11 Evansville points.
The Redbirds shook off their slow start and put together a 10-2 run, which included five points off Evansville turnovers, to tie the score at 19. Evansville answered with a three-pointer on the ensuing possession, but two transition layups gave ISU its first lead of the game, 23-22, at the six-minute mark.
Stephanie Bamberger converted a three-point play and Samantha Heck made a three-pointer at the top of the key to close out a 12-2 Purple Aces run that regained the lead, 34-25, with 2:32 remaining. Evansville maintained that lead, 37-32, at halftime. Broadway led the Redbirds with eight points, knocking down two three-pointers, and Heck led all scorers with 12 points.
Defense set the tone early in the second half, as the Redbirds forced the Aces to turn the ball over on six of their first seven possessions and scored 10 points in four minutes to go back on top, 42-37. Clifton had three of ISU's five steals, including a pass she intercepted at midcourt and streaked down the floor for a layup to cap the run.
Evansville's first field goal came more than five minutes into the half and at the third media timeout at 7:24, the Aces had just four points on 1-of-11 shooting from the field and 2-of-7 shooting from the free throw line.
Following that media timeout, Evansville put together five-straight points with baskets on consecutive possessions to cut the deficit down to five, 52-47. Illinois State's offense had stalled, shooting just 2-for-15 in a span of more than eight minutes.
Evansville went the final 5:47 without a field goal, allowing ISU to clinch the win with a 9-3 run.
Illinois State returns home to host Indiana State in the first game of the second half of the Valley schedule Saturday at 4:05 p.m. Fans can print out free passes for Pack the Arena Night at GoRedbirds.com.
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