Illinois State Falls to Princeton, 67-50
Brianna Puni

Brianna Puni

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Dec. 19, 2012

NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State (6-4) women's basketball team was defeated by Princeton (7-4) Wednesday night on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. The Redbirds were led by Janae Smith with 17 points and a career-high 16 boards. Candace Sykes added 12 points and Brianna Puni marked a new career-high eight-points and seven rebounds.

Princeton jumped to an early 5-0 lead with baskets from Blake Dietrick and Rasheed Niveen. The Tigers extended their lead with five additional points from Dietrick and Niveen, 10-2. Smith landed two jumpers for ISU and was the only Redbird to score any points in the first five minutes of play, 10-4.

Sykes tried to get the `Birds back on track, draining a three-point basket, but two back-to-back Tiger buckets put Princeton ahead 12 points, 21-9. Illinois State compiled an 11-0 run and cut the deficit to one-point with the help of baskets from Sykes, Maddie Oliver, Smith and Brianna Puni, 26-25 with just over 4 minutes to remaining in the first half.

Katy Winge drained a three-point basket to give the Redbirds their first lead of the game with two minutes remaining in the half, 28-26. Princeton went scoreless for over seven minutes, until Megan Bowen made a layup, 28-28. The Tigers made two-straight baskets, but two buckets from Smith, including one in the final three seconds sent the teams into the half tied 32-32.

The Redbirds were led by Smith with 12 points and Sykes added 10. ISU shot 28 percent from the field compared to Princeton's 46 percent. Illinois State grabbed seven more rebounds than the Tigers in the first half.

After the break, Princeton tallied a 7-0 run, 39-32. Three-consecutive baskets from Puni and Smith brought the `Birds within one-point, 39-38. The Tigers score the next five points for a six-point advantage with 12 minutes remaining, 44-38. Princeton was able to compile an additional 10-0 over a three minute span and extended its lead 62-46.

Illinois State didn't score for over nine minutes until Smith made a layup with under a minute to play. The Redbirds were unable to battle back, falling 67-50. ISU shot 23 percent from the field and had two players' record double-digit point efforts. The Tigers shot 48 percent from the field and were perfect from the line.

The Redbirds will hit the road to face Illinois Friday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.

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