ISU Hosts Top-Ranked Wichita State, Missouri State in Final Home Series

Feb. 27, 2013

Game 28 | illinois state vs. missouri State
Date: Sunday,March 3 at 2:05 p.m.
Location: Normal, Ill. | Redbird Arena
Live Stats: GameTracker



NORMAL, Ill. -After tallying its fifth-straight win over a Missouri Valley Conference rival and three-straight road games, the Illinois State women’s basketball team returns to Redbird Arena to host Wichita State and Missouri State in its final home series of the regular season. The Redbirds will take on the conference-leading Shockers at 7:35 p.m., Thursday, with the game broadcasted live on Comcast Sportsnet Chicago. On Sunday, ISU will welcome Missouri State at 2:05 p.m., for Senior Day.

The Redbirds enter Thursday’s game with a Valley record of 10-4, while the Shockers are 13-2 in conference play. WSU is currently in first place, while ISU is in third place. Illinois State leads the all-time series with Wichita State, 41-20. The series began in 1980 and the two teams have met twice annually since 1984. ISU has a convincing 23-6 lead over WSU in games played in Normal, Ill.

At Indiana State (Feb. 24), Brianna Puni recorded the first double-double of her career, as she led the Illinois State women’s basketball team over Indiana State, 63-54, for its fifth-straight Valley victory. Puni recorded a career-high 10 rebounds in the game, and tied a career-high 17 points in the first start of her career. Alexis Foley also scored a career-high 13 points in the win last Sunday.

Jamie Russell led the Redbirds with 16 points, but her effort wasn’t enough, as the Illinois State women’s basketball team fell to Wichita State, 66-54, at Koch Arena. Russell had four rebounds and two assists in 35 minutes. Candace Sykes was the only other Redbird to score in double figures, as she netted 15 points with five rebounds. Janae Smith pulled down 10 boards, including four on the offensive end and added eight points. The Redbirds shot 39 percent from the field, while the Shockers connected on 46 percent of their attempts. ISU had the advantage on the boards, as it out-rebounded WSU by 15.

Illinois State leads the all-time series with Wichita State, 41-20. 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 14-5 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. ISU has a convincing 23-6 lead over WSU in games played in Normal, Ill.

Despite Jamie Russell’s 23 points, the Illinois State women’s basketball team couldn’t slow down Missouri State, as it shot its way to a 91-76 victory at JQH Arena. MSU’s 91 points is the most points allowed by ISU this season. Russell had five rebounds, six assists and three steals in 37 minutes. Alexis Foley scored a then-career-high 12 points off of four three pointers, which set a career-high. Brianna Puni netted 10 points and brought down five rebounds. Illinois State was out-rebounded by eight in the game. Missouri State made 50 percent of its field goal attempts, while the Redbirds made 39 percent of its shots. Missouri State had 56 points in the game compared to Illinois State’s 26.

Missouri State leads the all-time series with Illinois State, 34-29. 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 Missouri State win on January, 11, 2011. Illinois State leads the Lady Bears,
17-13, in games played at Redbird Arena. ISU has fallen to MSU in their last three meetings.

From Feb. 8-Feb. 24, the ISU women’s basketball team won five-straight games, its longest win streak of the season. The team accomplished a four-game win streak earlier this season (Dec. 21-Jan. 6). ISU won its last two home games against Drake (Feb. 8) and Creighton (Feb. 10), before winning its next two road games at Southern Illinois (Feb. 14) and Evansville (Feb. 16). The Redbirds finished a three-game road stretch with a victory at Indiana State (Feb. 24). In the Redbirds’ wins over Creighton and Evansville, ISU was trailing at the half, and came back in the second half to grab the wins. It marked the only times this season that ISU won after trailing at half time. The last time ISU had a five-game win streak was during the 2010-11 season, when the Redbirds had four-, five- and seven-game win streaks.

Brianna Puni poured in 17 points at Indiana State (Feb. 24), tying a career-high, which she previously accomplished 10 days before against Southern Illinois (Feb. 14) and against Butler (Dec. 30). Puni was 6-of-9 from the field and made five free throws, going perfect from the charity stripe. It was Puni’s fourth double-digit performance in the Redbirds’ last six games, and the first double-double of her career with a career-high 10 rebounds. In the Redbirds’ fifth-straight win, Puni recorded the first start of her career. Over the last six games, Puni is averaging 12.2 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game, which leads the Redbirds in the last six games. She is shooting 60 percent from the field and is ISU’s second-leading scorer through the last six games, behind Jamie Russell.

In Illinois State’s 63-54 win over Indiana State (Feb. 24), the Redbirds were 23-of-25 from the free throw line, connecting on 92 percent of their free throws, their best percentage of the season. It was the fourth time this season that ISU has made 90 percent or more of its free throws, and the 25 attempts were the fourth most of the season. In the game, Alexis Foley (8-of-8), Brianna Puni (5-of-5), Jamie Russell (2-of-2) and Maddie Oliver (2-of-2) were perfect from the charity stripe.

Alexis Foley had a career day, as Illinois State defeated Indiana State (Feb. 24), 63-54, in Terre Haute, Ind., for ISU’s fifth-straight conference victory. Foley netted a career-high 13 points, with a perfect percentage in every shooting category. The White Bear Lake, Minn., native was 2-of-2 from the field and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line, setting a career-high in made free throws and attempted free throws. In 20 minutes, Foley also added an assist and two steals to her stat line. Foley is averaging 4.7 points per game and is shooting 35 percent from the field. She is second on the team in free throw percentage, connecting on 89 percent of her attempts.

In the first four games of Valley play, Jamie Russell only had one double-digit scoring performance. Since scoring four points at Drake (Jan. 13), Russell poured in nine-straight double-digit scoring performances and is averaging 16.3 points per game through ISU’s last 10 games. The Rock Falls, Ill., native has made 47 percent of her shot attempts in the last 10 games, scoring 163 points. On the season, Russell leads the Redbirds with 14.1 points scored per game.

In 24 of Illinois State’s 26 games during the 2012-13 season, the way the Redbirds go into the locker room at the half is the way they have ended each game. When leading at the half, ISU is 16-0 on the season, but when trailing or tied on their way into the locker room, the Redbirds are 2-8. Against Creighton (Feb. 10), the Redbirds went into the locker room down by six, 31-25, but ended up winning the game by the same margin, 66-60. It marked the first time this season that ISU won a contest, after trailing at the half. Two games later, ISU had a similar situation, heading into the locker room down by four at Evansville. In the second half at Evansville, Illinois State outscored Evansville, 40-18, winning the game by 18 points, 64-46. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.