Feb. 11, 2010
| WICHITA STATE (13-9, 5-6 MVC) vs. ILLINOIS STATE (16-5, 9-1 MVC)
|| February 12 // 7:05 p.m.
|| Redbird Arena // Normal, Ill.
|| Redbird All-Access
| Live Stats
| Game Notes
|| Illinois State // Wichita State
| MISSOURI STATE (16-6, 8-3 MVC) vs. ILLINOIS STATE (16-5, 9-1 MVC)
|| February 14 // 2:05 p.m.
|| Redbird Arena // Normal, Ill.
|| Redbird All-Access
| Live Stats
| Game Notes
|| Illinois State // Missouri State
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Amanda Clifton - G
Clifton scored a career-high 10 points in the first meeting with Wichita State this season, her first-career double-digit scoring effort. Her ability to run the Redbird offense has been her biggest addition to the lineup this season. In the last 15 games, Clifton has a 3.4 assist-to-turnover ratio with 58 assists and just 17 turnovers.
CHYNNA TURNER - F
Turner led all scorers with 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting in the first meeting with Illinois State this season. Her mid-range jumper was nearly unstoppable. The freshman has improved her scoring to 9.5 points per game in Valley play and ranks seventh in the conference in field goal percentage (.493). She is averaging 10.0 points per game in the last five games.
CHRISTIANA SHORTER - F
Shorter was named MVC Newcomer of the Week Monday after averaging 17.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game over two Lady Bear wins. She had 18 points and nine rebounds against Creighton, converting two crucial three-point plays in the final minutes. In the win over Drake, she recorded her third double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The freshman got into foul trouble early in the first meeting with the Redbirds and fouled out with just nine points and two rebounds in 22 minutes.
Illinois State is on a nine-game winning streak, its longest of the season ... ISU is 12-1 when scoring at least 70 points ... Illinois State has swept the season series against Wichita State and Missouri State in each of the last two seasons ... Wichita State hasn't won in Redbird Arena since 2004.
Illinois State leads the all-time series with Wichita State, 37-18. The series began in 1980 and the two teams have met twice annually since 1984. ISU posted a 16-2 record to start the series and have only lost consecutive games to the Shockers three times. Illinois State has won nine of the last 11 meeting, including five-straight by an average of 16.4 points per game.
REDBIRDS-LADY BEARS SERIES
Missouri State leads the all-time series with Illinois State, 30-27. The two teams have met at least twice annually since 1984, when Missouri State entered the Gateway Conference. The Redbirds went 12-3 against the Lady Bears through 1990. Missouri State then won 27 of the next 35 games, including 11-straight at one point. ISU has won seven-straight games over Missouri State by an average of 18.1 points per game, including wins of 29 and 36 points.
FLASHBACK: ILLINOIS STATE 75-WICHITA STATE 60 (JAN. 16)
Five Redbirds scored in double-figures to lead Illinois State to a 75-60 win at Wichita State Jan. 16. Junior Amanda Clifton and freshman Alexis Jenkins both scored in double-figures for the first time with 10 and 11 points, respectively. Senior Maggie Krick led ISU with 18 points and senior Nicolle Lewis turned in her fifth double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Ashleen Bracey added 10 points.
LAST TIME OUT
Illinois State recorded season-highs in points, three-pointers and field goal percentage in a blowout win over Indiana State, 90-61, Feb. 6. The Redbirds shot 59.6 percent from the field and made 12 three-pointers for their highest scoring output of the season. Ashleen Bracey and Hannah Spanich combined for 34 points and eight three-pointers.
WE'RE GOING STREAKING!!
Since losing to Creighton by 25 points in the second MVC game of the season, Illinois State has won nine-straight games, including eight Valley games. Winning streaks are nothing new for the Redbirds, who have had a streak of at least nine wins in each of the last four seasons.
HIGH PERCENTAGE OFFENSE
Head coach Robin Pingeton has attributed much of ISU's recent success to better shot selection. The statistics show she is right, as the Redbird offense has been red hot during the nine-game winning streak. ISU is averaging 76.2 points per game and shooting 49.1 percent from the field in the last nine games. The top-seven Redbird scorers are all shooting above 41 percent. ISU has won the nine-consecutive games by an average of 14.8 points.
FIRST HALF, FIRST PLACE
For the fourth-consecutive season, Illinois State finished the first half of the Valley season in first place. ISU has won at least eight games in the first half of the Valley season in four-straight years. The second half of the season hasn't been as successful for the Redbirds. In the last three full seasons, ISU posted a 25-2 record in the first half and a 16-11 record in the second half. In each of coach Pingeton's first four years at ISU, the Redbirds had a 4-5 record in the second half of conference play.
REDBIRD RECORD BREAKERS
Illinois State's trio of seniors - Ashleen Bracey, Maggie Krick, Nicolle Lewis - are all making their mark on the Illinois State record book. Bracey is 34 points away from becoming the 25th member of the 1,000-point club. Krick is ranked fourth in career three-pointers (161) and could become the third player in school history to reach 200. She also cracked the school's top-10 scoring ranks with 17 points against Indiana State. Lewis is already ISU's career leader in blocks and moved into second place in the Valley ranks (236) this season. She needs to play in just four more games to break the Illinois State record of 133 set by Deb Benak (1979-83).
DIGGIN' THE VALLEY
Senior Ashleen Bracey is loving Missouri Valley Conference play and putting in her bid for player of the year, leading the Redbirds in scoring (15.8 ppg) and rebounding (9.8 rpg). She is shooting 52.2 percent (59-113) from the field and 89.7 percent (26-29) at the free throw line. After not recording a double-double in non-conference play, Bracey has five in the 10 Valley games thus far; coming one rebound short in three others. She has won two-straight MVC Player and Scholar-Athlete of the Week awards, averaging 19.2 points and11.2 rebounds during the five-game stretch.
Junior Amanda Clifton had the daunting task of replacing All-American point guard Kristi Cirone this season. After struggling through the beginning of the season, Clifton has excelled with a 3.4 assist-to-turnover ratio over the last 15 games. Clifton has 58 assists and 17 turnovers during that span, recording at least four assists and no turnovers in four games. She leads the Valley in assist-to-turnover ratio both overall (2.2) and in conference play (3.4), ranking 18th in the nation overall.
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE
Illinois State is 12-0 this season when a player records a double-double. Seniors Ashleen Bracey and Nicolle Lewis have combined for 11 double-doubles this season, continuing their climb up the all-time rankings. All five of Bracey's double-doubles have come in Valley play and she has 17 in her career, the fifth-most in ISU history. Lewis' six double-doubles give her 16 in her career, tied for the sixth-most in school history. Junior Shala Jackson recorded her fourth-career double-double at Eastern Illinois.
BRIGHT LIGHTS OF BROADWAY
Illinois State sophomore Katie Broadway has been putting on a show over the last nine games, averaging 9.3 points per game and shooting 55.3 percent (21-38) from three-point range. Broadway scored a career-high 20 points at Indiana State, making six three-pointers. She has made 21 of her 26 three-pointers in Valley play, ranking first in three-point field goal percentage (.474) in conference play. She shot 14-for-55 from three-point range her entire freshman season.
Coming into the season, Illinois State knew it would need to rely on the senior trio of Ashleen Bracey, Maggie Krick and Nicolle Lewis for success. The trio has stepped up big so far, making up the top-three Redbird scorers and rebounders; combining for 58.8 percent of the ISU scoring production and 49.4 percent of its rebounding. One of the trio has led ISU in scoring in 19 of the 21 games this year. All three players rank in the top-15 in the Valley in scoring and rebounding. The win over Indiana State (Feb. 6) was the trio's 91st together, making them the winningest senior class in Illinois State history.
FREEBIES, BUT GOODIES
ISU is cashing in its free throws early on in the season. The Redbirds lead the Valley and are second in the nation in free throw percentage (.802) and have four players ranked in the top-15 in the conference. The Redbirds have shot lower than 70 percent from the line just once this season and are averaging 15.7 makes per contest.
THREE, OH, IT'S A MAGIC NUMBER
Three is the magic number when predicting Redbird success this season. ISU is shooting 36.5 percent (95-260) from three-point range in its 16 wins, as opposed to 27.7 percent (23-83) in its five losses. Perhaps more notably, Redbird opponents are averaging nearly three more made three-pointers when they win (7.6) than when they lose (5.3). ISU's loss to Ball State was the only one when the Redbirds made more three-pointers than their opponent. ISU is allowing opponents to make 5.3 threes per game and shoot 33.6 percent from long range overall, which ranks 282nd in the nation.
Nicolle Lewis: QUEEN OF THE BLOCK
Redshirt senior Nicolle Lewis has accumulated some impressive defensive accolades in her career. She became Illinois State's career leader in blocks in just three years and is only the fifth player in Valley history to amass 200 blocks. Lewis leads the Redbirds with 37 blocks, ranking third in the Valley, and has had multiple blocks in 12 games, including a season-high four against Drake. She moved into second place in Valley history with two blocks at UNI.
Juniors Emily Hanley and Hannah Spanich have each spent a season on the sideline, watching the Redbirds' success after transferring from other schools. Hanley is third on the team in field goal percentage (.469), fourth in rebounding (4.8 rpg) and fifth in scoring (6.3 ppg). She scored a career-high 14 points against Southern Illinois and had a career-best 10 rebounds at Illinois-Chicago. Spanich is fourth on the team in scoring (7.0 ppg), second in blocks (15) and third in steals (18). Spanich averaged 8.5 ppg in her first six games as a Redbird, which earned her a spot in the starting lineup. She has scored in double-figures seven times, including a career-high 15 against Indiana State.
REDBIRDS PICKED SECOND IN MVC PRESEASON POLL
Illinois State was projected to finish in second place in the annual Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Poll, conducted by the leagues coaches, sports information directors and media. Illinois State received 340 votes, falling just behind Creighton (393). The Bluejays (34) and Redbirds (6) were the only teams to receive first-place votes. ISU has been picked in the top-three in the preseason poll in each of the last three seasons. In three of the four previous years the Redbirds were picked second in the preseason poll, they wound up winning the MVC regular-season title.