Redbirds Continue the Quest for Fifth MVC Tournament Title

March 16, 2013

Game 32 | illinois state vs Creighton
Date: Saturday, March 16 at 4:05 p.m.
Location: St. Charles, Mo. | Family Arena
Game Notes: Illinois State | Creighton
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Watch: Valley TV or ESPN3

 

 

ST. CHARLES, Mo. - Illinois State will face Creighton in the semifinals of the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Saturday at 4:05 p.m., at Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo. Creighton's last loss came against ISU on Feb. 10 at Redbird Arena. The Redbirds defeated the Bluejays, 66-60. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Midwest, FOX College Sports, Comcast Sportsnet Chicago, ESPN3 and DirecTV.

Creighton leads the all-time series with Illinois State, 30-17. Since 2006, each team has won nine games in 18 meetings. Illinois State is 1-3 against Creighton in the conference tournament, but is 7-5 in the semifi nal round. The Redbirds averaged 55.5 points per game, while the Jays averaged 62.0 points per game over the two contests.

ISU earned the No. 3 seed in the 2013 MVC Tournament, marking the fourth time the Redbirds will compete as No. 3. Illinois State has an 19-18 all-time record in the Gateway/Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. ISU's 19 wins are the fourth-most in conference history.

ILLINOIS STATE-CREIGHTON SERIES
Creighton leads the all-time series with Illinois State, 30-17. The two teams have played twice annually since 1993. Creighton went 21-8 against ISU through 2005, including an eight-game winning streak. Since 2006, ISU has won nine games, while Creighton has also won nine games in 18 meetings. Illinois State is 1-3 against Creighton in the conference tournament, but is 7-5 in the semifinal round.

THIS SEASON VS. CREIGHTON
Illinois State and Creighton split the regular season series, with Creighton winning the first meeting on January 11, while Illinois State came out on top in the most recent meeting on Feb. 10. The Redbirds averaged 55.5 points in their win, while the Bluejays averaged 62.0 points per game over the two contests. ISU had a slight advantage on the boards, bringing down 74 rebounds compared to CU's 72 On the offensive boards, the Redbirds pulled down 26, which was 10 more than the Jays. Only one Redbirds averaged double-digit scoring efforts against Creighton. Jamie Russell led ISU with 15.5 points per game, while Brianna Puni collected an average of 7.5 rebounds per game.

FINALLY A WIN
For the past two seasons, the Redbirds were eliminated from the Valley Tournament after the quarterfinal round, and after threestraight losses in the tournament, Illinois State grabbed a win and advanced to the semifi nal round of the 2013 MVC Tournament, after defeating Bradley, 59-48, Friday at Family Arena. In the win, four ISU players recorded double-digit performances. It also marked the first Valley Tournament win of head coach Stephanie Glance's career.

FOUR SCORE IN DOUBLE FIGURES
Despite no fast break points and allowing Bradley (March 15) to score 19 points off of Illinois State's 20 turnovers, the Redbirds were able to defeat the Braves, 59-48, thanks to four players scoring in double fi gures. Candace Sykes collected a game-high 13 rebounds and scored 10 points, marking the fifth double-double of the season for Sykes. Janae Smith shot 60 percent from the field, while leading ISU with 14 points. Jamie Russell poured in 12 points, all coming in the second half, while Alexis Jenkins netted 10 points.

DE-DE-DE-DEFENSE
For the sixth time this season, the Illinois State women's basketball team held an opponent to less than 50 points. In ISU's 59-48 semifinal victory at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament over Bradley (March 15), the Redbird defense held the Braves to a field goal percentage of 30 percent (18-of-61), as the Braves only scored 16 points in the first half thanks to strong defense that got the Braves down late in several of their shot clocks. ISU also held Morehead State (45), Northwestern (46), Northern Iowa (41), Southern Illinois (41) and Evansville (Feb. 16) to less than 50 points. The last time ISU held six opponents to less than 50 points in one season was the 1975-76 season.

A GAME OF RUNS
Even with two long stretches without any made field goals, Illinois State defeated Bradley (March 15), 59-48. In the fi rst half, ISU went over nine minutes without a made field goal, while in the middle of the second half, the Redbirds were scoreless from the floor for over seven minutes. Despite the two stretches with a lack of off ense, ISU still won the game thanks to a pair of runs. Illinois State went on an 17-1 run that lasted the fi nal 6:49 of the first half, as Bradley went without a field goal from the 7:43 mark. During the run, five players scored, while Alexis Jenkins led the way with six points followed by Oliver with four. the Redbirds ended the game with an 11-2 run, as Bradley missed its last four fi eld goal attempts. During the run, ISU made seven free throws, as Alexis Foley connected on three from the charity stripe, while Candace Sykes sank four, as the free throws secured the win.

NO TREYS
In ISU's 59-48 victory over Bradley in the Valley Tournament (March 15), the Redbirds did not make a three-point field goal. Despite the 10 attempts, ISU couldn't connect from beyond the arc. The fi rst time this season Illinois State hasn't made a three pointer.

REDBIRDS FINISH THIRD IN THE VALLEY
Illinois State fi nished the regular season in sole possession of third place in the Valley standings. The Redbirds have finished in the top-three in the Valley regular season in each of the last seven years. ISU earned the No. 3 seed in the 2013 MVC Tournament, marking the fourth time the Redbirds will compete as No. 3. In 1990-91, the Redbirds fell in the semifinal round, but fi ve years later, as the No. 3 seed, ISU advanced to the championship game. In 1982-83, Illinois State won the tournament as the No. 3 seed.

REDBIRDS IN MVC TOURNAMENT

Illinois State has an 18-18 all-time record in the Gateway/Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. ISU's 18 wins are the fourth most in conference history, behind Missouri State (36), Drake (33) and Creighton (22). The Redbirds have won four championships,behind Missouri State (9) and Drake (5). In the 26 years that conference tournaments have been held, Illinois State has reached the championship game seven times.

FOUR REDBIRDS RECEIVE ALL-VALLEY HONORS
Four Redbirds received All-Valley honors and three of the four players received Valley recognition for the second-straight season. Jamie Russell was named to the All-Valley First Team. Russell was also selected to the All-Defensive Team and was named a All-Valley Second Team selection on the All-Scholar Team. Janae Smith earned accolades when she was named to the All-Valley Second Team. Candace Sykes received honors 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 fi ve years and has had a player on the Valley All-Defensive and Scholar- Athlete teams in seven-consecutive seasons. Russell, Sykes and Nelson all earned Valley recognition last season.

REDBIRDS IN THE VALLEY RANKINGS
Illinois State had several players finish the regular season in the top-10 in the Valley rankings. Janae Smith was in the top-10 in five categories, the most for any Redbird. Smith was fourth in rebounds with 8.5 per game, which breaks down to fourth in defensive rebounds (6.1 rpg) and seventh in offensive rebounds (2.3 rpg). She sits in fifth place in blocked shots with 1.0 per game and had the fourth best field goal percentage, making 48 percent of her shot attempts. Jamie Russell was in the top-10 in three categories. Russell was sixth in scoring with 14.2 points per game and fi fth in fi eld goal percentage (87 percent). She ranked third in the conference in steals with 2.5 per game. Candace Sykes was in the top-10 in three categories. Sykes averaged 13.3 points per game for ninth place. She was also ninth in free throw percentage, making 78 percent. Sykes found success beyond the arc, finishing the season in fifth place in made three pointers with 2.2 per game. Alexis Jenkins led the Valley in assist/turnover ratio with 1.9, and is ninth in assists with 3.5 per game.

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