Women's Hoops Tops Bradley; Advances to Face Creighton
March 15, 2013
ST. CHARLES, Mo. - Despite two long stretches without any made field goals, the Illinois State women's basketball team (22-9, 13-5 MVC) had four players score in double figures, including Candace Sykes, who recorded a double-double performance, in the Redbirds' 59-48 victory over Bradley (14-16, 8-10 MVC) in a quarterfinal game of the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Friday at Family Arena. Sykes grabbed 13 rebounds and scored 10 points in her fifth double-double performance of the season.
Janae Smith led the Redbirds with 14 points, connecting on 60 percent of her shots, while Jamie Russell added 12 points, all coming in the second half. Alexis Jenkins, along with Sykes, both added 10 points. Maddie Oliver scored six points and had six boards, while Brianna Puni pulled down eight rebounds. ISU made 43 percent of its shots and recorded 48 rebounds. Bradley made 30 percent of its field goal attempts and collected 31 rebounds.
Smith scored the first two baskets for the Redbirds, while the two teams traded points early in the game. After tying the contest, 8-8, Illinois State didn't connect on a field goal for over nine minutes, while Bradley went on a 5-0 run to take a six-point lead, 15-9, with 7:43 left to play in the opening half. Prior to their run, the Braves were scoreless for nearly six minutes.
After Smith sank a pair of free throws with just under seven minutes left to play in the opening half, she brought life back to the Redbirds. Illinois State went on an 17-1 run that lasted the final 6:49 of the first half, as Bradley went without a field goal from the 7:43 mark. During the run, five players scored, while Jenkins led the way with six points followed by Oliver with four.
In the first half, Smith led all scorers with eight points, shooting 50 percent from the field, while Jenkins added six, as both Sykes and Oliver had four points. ISU shot 42 percent from the field, while BU made 21 of its field goal attempts. Illinois State controlled the boards, bringing down 24 rebounds, while Bradley collected 15.
After not scoring any points in the first half, Russell made three-straight attempts in the second half, as the Redbirds had three separate four-point runs. ISU missed eight-straight field goal attempts and were scoreless for over seven minutes, while BU went on an 8-0 run and cut ISU's lead to two, 46-44, with five minutes to play in the game. Smith ended the drought with a layup at the 4:26 mark, 48-44.
In the middle of the second half, Illinois State went without a field goal for over seven minutes, while Bradley didn't connect from the floor for over three minutes. After the lack of offense, the Redbirds ended the game with an 11-2 run, as Bradley missed its last four field goal attempts. During the run, ISU made seven free throws, as Alexis Foley connected on three from the charity stripe, while Sykes sank four, as the free throws secured the win. Bradley ran out of time and ISU grabbed the victory, 59-48.
With the win, ISU advances to the semifinal round of the conference tournament and takes on No. 2-seeded Creighton at 4:05 p.m., Saturday at Family Arena. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Midwest, FOX College Sports, Comcast Sportsnet Chicago, ESPN3 and DirecTV.
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