ISU Starts WNIT Run against Central Michigan Thursday


March 13, 2011

Date Thursday, March 15

7:05 p.m.

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Game Notes Illinois State// Central Michigan

NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State is back in the WNIT for the fifth time in six years, looking to make another deep postseason run. The Redbirds open play the same way they started their 2011 run, by hosting Central Michigan at 7:05 p.m., Thursday night.

Illinois State is making its fourth-straight appearance in the WNIT, advancing to the semifinals in each of the last three seasons. ISU is 11-3 in its last three WNIT appearances, including a 9-2 record at Redbird Arena.

Illinois State leads the all-time series with Central Michigan, 7-1. ISU and CMU faced off last season in the opening round of the WNIT, when the Redbirds won, 72-59, in Normal, Ill.

Illinois State leads the all-time series with Central Michigan, 7-1. ISU won the first six meetings, with four in the 1970's and a home-and home series in 1994-95. Central Michigan's only win came on Nov. 25, 2001, in Redbird Arena, 72-62. ISU and CMU faced off last season in the opening round of the WNIT, when the Redbirds won, 72-59, in Normal, Ill. Illinois State has a 3-1 advantage over Central Michigan in games played in Normal, Ill.

Illinois State is making its 11th appearance in the Postseason WNIT (1980, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1996, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and has a 18-16 all-time record in the tournament. The Redbirds' 2012 WNIT at-large bid marks the fifth appearance for ISU in postseason play in the last six seasons. In the last four WNIT appearances, the Redbirds have a record of 12-4 during that span. ISU is 10-2 all-time in WNIT games in Redbird Arena.

Illinois State's berth in the 2012 Postseason WNIT puts the Redbirds in the postseason for the sixth-consecutive season. ISU made WNIT trips in five of the last six years and appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2008. ISU's six-year postseason run is tied for the longest in school history, matching the six-straight trips done from 1980-85.

For the fifth time in the last six years, Illinois State was upset in the State Farm MVC Tournament as a top-two seed, failing to reach the championship game. The second-seeded Redbirds were beaten by seventh-seeded Drake in the quarterfinals, 56-54, March 9. Drake shot 52 percent from the field in the game compared to Illinois State's 38 percent. ISU had an eight-point lead with just under 11 minutes to play, but Drake used a 14-4 run to regain the lead, 52-50, with just under two minutes to play. The Redbirds tied the game off of a jumper by Marley Hall, but a shot by Kyndal Clark with eight seconds left put Drake up by two, 56-54. Illinois State had one last chance, but a Redbird turnover didn't allow a shot to get off, as ISU fell to Drake, 56-54.

The Illinois State women's basketball team finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference, after being selected to finish sixth in the preseason poll. After the Redbirds unexpected performance, the Valley named junior transfer Jamie Russell Newcomer of the Year and head coach Stephanie Glance Coach of the Year for the 2011-12 season. Glance is the third Redbird coach to earn the prestigious Coach of the Year honor. Glance led ISU to a second-place finish in conference play and led the Redbirds to their sixth-straight season finishing in the top-two of the Valley regular season standings. Under her leadership, the Redbirds have four players who finished the regular season averaging double-digit scoring efforts. Through two seasons at the helm of the Redbirds, Glance has led ISU to a record of 42-22. Russell, who transferred to Illinois State from Wisconsin, is the first Redbird player to earn the Newcomer of the Year honors, as the junior transfer played a crucial role for ISU on both sides of the ball. Russell ranked second on the team with 13.5 points per game. She had 17 double-digit scoring efforts in ISU's last 20 games, including 10-straight double-digit performances, earning All-Valley First Team honors.

Illinois State finished the regular season in sole possession of second place in the Valley standings. The Redbirds have finished in the top-two in the Valley regular season in each of the last six years. ISU earned the No. 2 seed in the State Farm MVC Tournament, marking it the fourth time the Redbirds competed as No. 2. In 1997, Illinois State lost a quarterfinal game against Wichita State, 81-53. In 2007, the Redbirds beat Bradley, 75-60, before losing to Creighton in the semifinals, 59-56. During the 2011 tournament, ISU lost to Indiana State, 80-51.

Four Redbirds received All-Valley honors and three of the four players received Valley recognition for the first time in their careers.
Katie Broadway and Jamie Russell were named to the All-Valley First Team. The last time ISU had two players on the first team was during the 2009-10 season. Russell was also selected to the All-Defensive Team. Candace Sykes earned accolades when she was named to the All-Valley Honorable Mention Team and Chloe Nelson was an All-Valley Honorable Mention selection on the All-Scholar Team. Illinois State has had three players named All-Valley in each of the last four years and has had a player on the Valley All-Defensive and Scholar-Athlete teams in six-consecutive seasons.

Illinois State had several players finish the regular season in the top-10 in the Valley rankings. Candace Sykes was in the top-10 in six categories. Sykes averaged 7.8 rebounds per game and was in fifth place. She was also third in defensive rebounds (6.6 rpg), seventh in steals (1.8 spg) and eighth in blocks (1.0 bpg). Sykes found success beyond the arc, finishing the season in fourth place in three-point field goal percentage (.400) and 10th in three-pointers made (1.6 pg). Jamie Russell was in the top-10 in five categories. Russell was second in assist/turnover ratio (1.4) and steals (2.6 spg). Russell was eighth in scoring with 13.5 points per game and finished sixth in assists (3.4 apg) and free throw percentage (.800). Katie Broadway was in the top-10 in three categories on the offensive side of the ball. Broadway was fourth in scoring with 15.9 points per game, second in three-pointers made with 2.7 per game and was eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.377). Marley Hall finished the season ranked 10th in field goal percentage, making 48.3 percent of her shots.

Katie Broadway was 1-of-5 beyond the arc in ISU's victory Saturday (March 3) over Southern Illinois, 72-50. With the three, Broadway has made 78 three-pointers so far this season, which is the most threes made by a Redbird player in a single season. The previous record was held by Jenny Schmidt, who made 77 threes during the 1997-98 season. The senior guard is shooting 37.7 percent beyond the arc through 29 games.  Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.