Women's Basketball Returns Home to Host Wichita State, Missouri State

Jan. 24, 2014

Game 17: Illinois state vs. Missouri State
Date: January 27
Time: 7:05 p.m. (CST)
Location: Normal, Ill.
Live Stats: GameTracker
Audio: WJBC
Twitter: @ISUwbb

NORMAL, Ill. - After three-straight road games, the Illinois State women’s basketball team returns to Redbird Arena to take on Valley-leading Wichita State Saturday at 4:05 p.m., for Pack the Arena. Then, ISU will welcome Missouri State Monday at 7:05 p.m., for an ESPN3 broadcast.­

The Redbirds grabbed back-to-back wins last weekend against Southern Illinois and Evansville. The 78-54 win at Evansville was the team’s largest margin of victory this season. Six Redbirds recorded double-digit scoring performances in the game. It was the first time six players reached double figures since the 2008-09 season.

The last time Wichita State and Illinois State met was last season in the Valley Tournament championship game, when WSU defeated ISU by four, 69-65. Illinois State leads the all-time series with Wichita State, 42-21. Missouri State leads the all-time series with Illinois State, 34-30, but ISU leads the Lady Bears, 18-13, in games played at Redbird Arena.

Illinois State-Wichita State Series
Illinois State leads the all-time series with Wichita State, 42-21. The series began in 1980 and the two teams have met twice annually since 1984. ISU won 15 of the first 17 meetings, with 10 victories coming by double-digits. Wichita State posted a 12-10 record against the Redbirds in the next 22 matchups. Since 2003, ISU is 16-6 against the Shockers, but Wichita State snapped a six-game losing streak to the Redbirds with a 59-56 home win on January, 16, 2011. The last time the two teams met was last season in the Valley Tournament championship game, when WSU defeated ISU by four, 69-65.

Illinois State-Missouri State Series
Missouri State leads the all-time series with Illinois State, 34-30. The two teams have met annually since 1984. ISU won 12 of the first 15 meetings. From 1991-2005, Missouri State posted a 26-6 record against the Redbirds, including a string of 11-consecutive wins. An upset win for the Redbirds in the 2005 MVC Tournament started a 10-1 streak over the Lady Bears, which included eight-straight wins. That streak was snapped with a 76-61 loss at Missouri State win on January, 11, 2011. Illinois State leads the Lady Bears, 18-13, in games played at Redbird Arena.

A busy home swing
Saturday’s game against MVC leader Wichita State is the Pack the Arena game. Tip is scheduled for 4:05 p.m., in Redbird Arena, as admission to the game is free. Then, on Monday (Jan. 27) against Missouri State, the team will host its ‘We Back Pat’ game, which supports the Pat Summitt Foundation in its efforts to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s. As a part of the We Back Pat event, the Bloomington office of the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Illinois will have a table on the arena concourse.

When ISU welcomes Wichita State to Redbird Arena Saturday (Jan. 25), the Redbirds hope to snap WSU’s 13-game win streak that has be in tact since Nov. 20, 2013. If the Redbirds knock off the Shockers, it will be their third-straight win.

After heading into Friday’s game (Jan. 17) with a road record of 0-6, the ISU women’s basketball team grabbed a 76-59 win over Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Ill., at SIU Arena. It was the first road win of the season for ISU. Then, two days later, the Redbirds defeated Evansville (Jan. 19), 78-54, on the road at the Ford Center. The 24-point victory was the largest-win margin for ISU this season, and it also marked the first time this season Illinois State recorded back-to-back wins.

a balanced attack
In ISU’s 68-54 win over Evansville (Jan. 19), six Redbirds recorded double-digit scoring performances. The last time six players recorded double-digit scoring performances in a game was Dec. 6, 2008 against Eastern Michigan. Chloe Nelson led ISU with 13 points, while Mackenzie Freeman added a career-best 12 points, all coming from beyond the three-point line. Zenobia Bess, Octavia Crump, Stekara Hall and Kalyn Gebhardt all tallied 10 points in ISU’s second-straight win. The 10 points for Bess and Gebhardt set and tied a career-high, respectively.

An offensive threat
In ISU’s 78-54 victory over Evansville (Jan. 19), Illinois State scored its second-highest point total of the season and sank 54 percent of its shot attempts, a season best by the team. The previous best came two days before against Southern Illinois (Jan. 17), when Illinois State sank 49 percent of its field goal attempts. In the second half of Sunday’s game, ISU was 16-of-25, finding the bottom of the net on 64 percent of its shot attempts. The Redbirds had nine players score in the contest.

Stepping UP
At Evansville (Jan. 19), the Redbird freshmen played a large part in the 78-54 victory, as all four set career highs in the win. Mackenzie Freeman scored a career-high 12 points, all coming from three-point territory. The four made three pointers were also a career-high for Freeman. Zenobia Bess scored eight-straight points at the end of the game to set a new career-high 10 points, shooting 4-of-5 from the field. Kalyn Gebhardt tied a career-high 10 points, while Taylor Stewart pulled down a career-high six rebounds.

Dishing it out
In the 78-54 win over Evansville (Jan. 19), the Redbirds dished out 18 assists, the most the team has recorded this season. The previous best came against Florida (Nov. 29), when the Redbirds dished out 15 assists. Eight players handed out assists against the Purple Aces, as it was just the third game ISU has tallied more assists than its opponents.
The Redbirds take pride in their hard-nosed defense, and so far in the Missouri Valley Conference season, it has paid off. Through five Valley games, the Redbirds have had three games with double-digit steals and have forced 15-or-more turnovers in four games, including two contests where ISU’s opponents had 20-or-more miscues. During the non-conference season, ISU averaged 6.6 steals per game, forcing 17.1 turnovers per game. Against MVC rivals, ISU is forcing 18 turnovers per game and collecting nine steals per game. ISU has turned the MVC opponents’ miscues into 91 points through five games.

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