Jenkins, Redbirds Drop Shockers, 57-56, in Final Seconds

Feb. 28, 2013

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NORMAL, Ill. - Alexis Jenkins hit the game-winning basket with seven-tenths of a second left, as the Illinois State women's basketball team (19-8, 11-4 MVC) defeated the Wichita State Shockers (19-9, 13-3 MVC), 57-56 on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena Thursday evening. With the win, ISU is on a six-game winning streak.

Janae Smith led the scoring for the Redbirds with 17 points. Candace Sykes was the only other ISU player to record double figures, tallying 12 points, while pulling in 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. As a team, Illinois State shot 41 percent from the field (24-of-58) and 2-of-8 (25 percent) from beyond the arc. Alex Harden led the scoring for the Shockers, tallying 17 points. Wichita State shot 39 percent from the field (25-of-65) and 20 percent from beyond the arc (2-of-10).

A quick steal and layup by Harden opened the scoring for the game, giving Wichita State a 2-0 advantage. Brianna Puni answered for the Redbirds, hitting a quick jumper to tie the score up 2-2. The Shockers countered by sinking another shot, stretching their lead to two points at a score of, 4-2. Smith tied the score again off an assist from Sykes, igniting a 9-3 run that spanned the next five minutes and 21 seconds, stretching the Redbirds' lead, 11-7.

Wichita State fought back, cutting the Redbirds' lead to one point, 15-14. The Shockers took the lead back at the eight-minute mark, 16-15, on a jumper by Darice Fountaine. Scores by Fountaine and Harden stretched the Shockers' lead, 15-18, before Smith rolled one off the glass to cut the lead to one point, 17-18.

Jamie Russell, who began the half 0 and 2 from the field, hit a jumper at 3:30 to take the lead back for the Redbirds, 21-20, but the team allowed two quick baskets by Fountaine and Harden and found themselves down, 24-21 with two minutes to play in the half. Both teams went scoreless over the last two minutes, as the Redbirds went into halftime down by three points.

Wichita State opened the second half hitting 8-of-9 field goals, while the Redbirds went scoreless missing their first four shots and allowing an 11-0 run over the first two minutes of play. Katy Winge ended the ISU drought, sinking a shot from the wing, cutting the Shockers lead to 10, 41-31, with just under 14-minutes to play.

A steal by Jenkins sparked a 6-0 run, capped off by Smith, who finished a tough shot in the paint on the fast break. Smith tied the game, 50-50, the closest the Redbirds had gotten since leading in the first half. Harden countered, getting to the line on a foul by Jenkins, sinking both free throws, as well as hitting a quick jumper on the next possession, but Puni struck back, finishing a three-point play and reducing the Shockers lead, 54-53 with 53.9 seconds on the clock.

With 34.4 seconds left to play, Puni made a pair of free throws, seizing the first lead of the second half for the team, 55-54. Strong defense by the Redbirds forced the Shockers to take a full time out with 16.3 seconds remaining on the clock, but WSU got a basket with seven seconds left. ISU in-bounded the ball to Jenkins, who found space and sank a shot with 0.7 seconds remaining, winning the game, 57-56.

The Redbirds return to action Sunday for their final home contest of the regular season. Tip-off is slated for 2:05 p.m., with senior recognition prior to the game.