Second-Half Surge Leads Redbirds to 66-60 Win
Feb. 10, 2013
NORMAL, Ill. - A 10-point second-half deficit did not phase Illinois State Sunday in its game against Creighton, as Jamie Russell scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the second half to lead the Redbirds (15-8, 7-4 MVC) to a 66-60 come-from-behind victory over the Bluejays (16-6, 8-3 MVC) in the Play 4 Kay game on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.
Russell recorded her sixth 20-plus point scoring effort of the season and the 10th of her career at ISU to lead the way for the Redbirds. Alexis Jenkins was the only other Redbird in double figures with a season-high 16 points and Brianna Puni added eight points and seven rebounds in the victory for the Redbirds.
The Redbirds jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, with Jenkins scoring all of those points, to give ISU the advantage to start the game. Creighton then fought back with an 8-0 run to take its first lead of the game at 8-7, after a jumper by Alexis Akin-Otiko at the 13:21 mark. The lead was short-lived, as Maddie Oliver converted a layup on the next trip down the floor to give ISU the lead back at 9-8.
The two teams then traded the lead three times, before the Jays took a 16-13 lead on a three-pointer by Marissa Janning with 9:38 left in the first half. Creighton extended the lead to five points at 23-18, before Jenkins took advantage of a second-chance opportunity and sliced through the lane for a layup to cut the Jays' lead to 23-20 and force Creighton to call a timeout.
Creighton responded after the timeout and led by many as nine points at 31-22, after Ally Jensen made a three-pointer with 43 seconds left on the clock. Alexis Foley then cut that lead to six points at 31-25, as she connected on a three-pointer of her own with 16 seconds left to send the game into halftime.
The Jays came out of the half on fire, shooting their way to a 10-point lead at 37-27, after a pair of three-point makes by Jensen and Janning. The Redbirds then used an 8-2 run, capped off on a fast-break layup by Jenkins, to cut the lead to 39-34 as the Jays called a timeout. Creighton continued its hot shooting from beyond the arch, as a three-pointer by Jordan Garrison widened the back to eight points at 47-39 with just over 12 minutes left in the game.
After each team traded jumpers, Russell ignited a 10-0 run that gave the Redbirds their first lead since the 11:49 mark of the first half. Russell scored six-straight points in just 30 seconds, and a pair of baskets from Candace Sykes gave ISU a 51-49 with just under nine minutes left. The Jays then answered on a three-pointer by Jensen to take the lead back at 52-51 with seven minutes left in the game.
Once again, the lead did not last long as Brianna Puni made a jumper in the lane to give the `Birds the lead at 53-52 thirty seconds later. ISU then tacked on seven-straight points on a pair of baskets by Russell and a three-pointer from Foley, to take a 60-52 lead with 4:33 left on the clock. A jumper by Sykes in the lane with just over two minutes left gave the Redbirds their largest lead of the game at 66-54 and they would hold on for the 66-60 victory.
The Redbirds return to action on Valentine's Day, when they hit the road for a contest at Southern Illinois. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and it will be broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, with R.C. McBride and Jill Hutchison on the call.
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