Redbirds Drop 81 in Win Over Missouri State
Megan Grace set career-highs in blocks and steals
Megan Grace set career-highs in blocks and steals

March 3, 2013

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NORMAL, Ill. - Four Redbirds scored in double-figures, as the Illinois State women's basketball team (20-8, 12-4 MVC) won its seventh-straight game, defeating Missouri State (14-15, 6-11 MVC), 81-60, Sunday afternoon on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.

Candace Sykes led all scorers, draining five three-pointers to aid a 22-point effort, while Jamie Russell (17), Janae Smith (12) and Alexis Jenkins (11), all recorded double-digits in the point column. Smith also led everyone on the glass, pulling in 12 rebounds. Megan Grace also added to the defensive effort, blocking a career-high five shots, while recording another career-high with two steals.

As a team, the Redbirds shot 43-percent from the field (30-of-69) and 33-percent from beyond the arc (12-of-36). Missouri State shot just 35-percent from the field (22-of-63), while sinking 4-of-16 from three-point land (25-percent). In the win, ISU led by as many as 42 points with 16:17 left in the second half.

Illinois State jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead early in the first half, off of a three pointer by Sykes and a jumper by Jenkins, while Missouri State was scoreless for nearly the first three minutes of the half until a jumper by Karly Buer. The Redbirds went on a 19-0 run that lasted just under six minutes to take a 24-2 lead with 10 minutes to play in the opening half. In the run, Russell tallied seven of the points, including five-straight, while Sykes connected on five points.

Illinois State went on another 8-0 run, taking a 30-point lead, 38-8, at the 4:29 mark in the first half. Four Redbirds scored during the run. The two teams exchanged baskets late in the first half, as ISU went into the locker room with a commanding 47-15 lead.

At the half, Sykes led all scorers with 13 points, while Russell also reached double-figures scoring 11 points in the first half. Smith brought down six rebounds, while Sykes and Russell each grabbed four boards, as ISU out-rebounded MSU by five boards in the first half. The Redbirds shot 55 percent from the field, as the Lady Bears made 22 percent of their shot attempts.

ISU opened the second half, like it did the first half with a run. Sykes had eight-straight points in the 10-0 run, including two shots beyond the arc for a 57-15 lead with 16:17 to play. Missouri State got some momentum, as it went on a 14-2 run, including 12-straight points, to get within 30 points, 59-29, with 13:32 to play.

The Lady Bears used a 9-0 run that took 1:30 off of the game clock to get within 21 points, 67-46, of the Redbirds with 7:05 left in the game. ISU used a 7-0 run late in the game to secure the 81-60 win.

The Redbirds will return to the court for their final two games of the regular season this week, as they take on Bradley, Thursday, at 6 p.m., in Peoria, Ill., before traveling to Northern Iowa Saturday.

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