ISU Tops Bearcats in Exhibition Opener, 83-63
Nov. 3, 2007
NORMAL, Ill. - Junior guard Kristi Cirone poured in a game-high 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting, to lead Illinois State's women's basketball team to a convincing 83-63 win over visiting Northwest Missouri State in the exhibition opener at Redbird Arena Saturday afternoon. Twelve Redbird players saw action in the contest, and four scored in double figures.
Cirone's 27 points led all scorers; while freshman Shala Jackson (16 points), senior guard Tiffany Hudson (13 points) and sophomore Maggie Krick (11 points) also chipped in with double-digit scoring efforts. Sophomore Ashleen Bracey had a team-high seven rebounds. The Bearcats were led by Meghan Brue's 17 rebounds.
ISU used a 15-9 late first-half run to build a double-digit lead, and led by as many as 20 points in the second half. The Redbirds shot 45 percent (.452) from the field, and out-rebounded Northwest Missouri State, 41-to-37.
"There are obviously a lot of things that we need to fine tune and get better at but we showed signs of our ability to have a very exciting transition offense (Saturday)," said head coach Robin Pingeton. "At times, we did a really good job on the offensive boards; it just wasn't a consistent effort during each possession. All in all, there were plenty of positives, but our kids are going to have a great learning experience by watching the tape of this game. It will go a long way in helping us to get better."
Both teams traded baskets for the first three-and-a-half minutes, before ISU strung together a 21-9 run, and claimed a commanding 29-18 lead. Cirone had four field goals in the spurt, including a three-pointer. Junior Brea Banks also chipped in with two field goals. The Redbirds held a double-digit advantage for the remainder of the half, building as large as a 17-point lead. ISU finished the half on a 15-9 spree over the final 5:40, highlighted by two field goals by both Maggie Krick and Jackson. The `Birds took a 47-32 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Cirone finished the half with a team-high 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while Hudson chipped in with nine points, connecting on all three of her field-goal attempts. Northwest Missouri State was paced by Meghan Brue's 11 points.
Illinois State's lead grew to 20 points (54-34) just over three minutes into the second half, after the Redbirds completed a 7-2 spurt to start the second half. Nicolle Lewis tallied a field goal in the post to begin the flurry, and Krick followed with a three-pointer. The Bearcats cut the lead to 13 points, 63-50, with 9:23 left after recording a 17-7 run.
The Redbirds answered with a 17-10 run to extend the cushion back to 20 points, 80-60, with just over three minutes remaining. Cirone and Jackson combined for 13 of ISU's points in the spree, as ISU coasted to the 83-63 win.
The Redbirds will play one more exhibition game Tuesday against Upper Iowa, beginning at 7 p.m. at Redbird Arena. ISU will open the regular-season Nov. 11 at Eastern Illinois.